Petraeus Won’t Say He’d Advise on Withdrawal
Asked by Ellen Tauscher, a California Democrat, what he would say to a new president who asked for a withdrawal plan within 60 days of taking office, Petraeus dodged like hell. Wow.
“I would back up,” he said, “and ask what’s the mission, what’s the desired endstate. And then you advise on resources…” Tauscher said the goal would be to keep the security gains of the surge, fix the readiness problems of the military and cut U.S. costs in Iraq.
“My response would be dialogue on what the risks would be. And, again, this is about risk.” Petraeus sounded a lot like he was saying he would not be willing to advise a President Obama or a President Clinton on withdrawal — something that, unless he was willing to resign, is very Constitutionally dubious.
Seemingly aware of that, he added quickly, “Let me state up front that I absolutely support the idea of civilian control of the military. We do not work for ourselves. We take orders, and we follow them. What we want to do is have dialogue about the mission — what the endstate is — and then provide an assessment of a commander on the ground [as to] what the resources provided are … [I have] sworn an oath to the Constitution and the concept of civilian control.”
This is huge. Notice Petraeus still didn’t say he would do what his commander-in-chief asked: submit a plan for withdrawal if ordered, or resign if he was unable to.