Here's the General Petraeus counter-narrative: he was a liar, a conman, and a shit
By Michael Hastings, who ruined Gen. McChrystal's career by reporting accurately about the general using psy-ops tactics on visiting reporters and politicians.
There’s his war record in Iraq, starting when he headed up the Iraqi security force training program in 2004. He’s more or less skated on that, including all the weapons he lost, the insane corruption, and the fact that he essentially armed and trained what later became known as “Iraqi death squads.” On his final Iraq tour, during the so-called Surge, he pulled off what is perhaps the most impressive con job in recent American history. He convinced the entire Washington establishment that we won the war.
He did it by papering over what The Surge actually was: We took the Shiites' side in a civil war, armed them to the teeth, and suckered the Sunnis into thinking we’d help them out too. It was a brutal enterprise — over 800 Americans died during The Surge, while hundreds of thousands of Iraqis lost their lives during a sectarian conflict that Petraeus’ policies fueled. Then he popped smoke and left the members of the Sunni Awakening to fend for themselves. A journalist friend told me a story of an Awakening member, exiled in Amman, whom Petraeus personally assured he would never abandon. The former insurgent had a picture of the Petraeus on his wall, but was a little hurt that the general no longer returned his calls.
MoveOn may have been ill-advised to attack the general as "Betray Us" in Washington, but there was little doubt that many in the Awakening felt betrayed.
Petraeus was so convincing on Baghdad that he manipulated President Obama into trying the same thing in Kabul. On Afghanistan, he first underhandedly pushed the White House into escalating the war in September 2009 (calling up columnists to “box” the president in) and waging a full-on leak campaign to undermine the White House policy process. Petraeus famously warned his staff that the White House was “fucking” with the wrong guy.
The doomed Afghanistan surge would come back to bite him in the ass, however. A year after getting the war he wanted, P4 got stuck having to fight it himself. After Petraeus frenemy General Stanley McChrystal got fired for trashing the White House in a story I published in Rolling Stone, the warrior-scholar had to deploy yet again.
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