The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Petraeus Rides Again: What About July 2011?

Last updated: 07/31/2020 08:00 | 06/23/2010 09:42
William Willis

If you wanted to underscore the continuity in strategy that exists for Afghanistan and Pakistan now that President Obama has fired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, there is absolutely no more potent symbol of* doubling down* on that strategy than to place Gen. David H. Petraeus — the foremost counterinsurgent in the military and the most respected and distinguished Army officer since Colin Powell — at the helm of the faltering NATO war in Afghanistan. Politically, it’s a masterstroke. Not only was his name never mentioned as a replacement for McChrystal, but he’s a secular saint in Washington.

Substantively, there it is: the officer most credited with miracle work from Iraq, an architect of the current strategy in Afghanistan, going to attempt to pull the war out of the fire. It’s an amazing expression of faith — not just in Petraeus, but in the strategy itself. With one crucially important caveat: Petraeus’s conception of the July 2011 date for transition to Afghan security control is most certainly not what many progressive supporters of Obama and opponents of the war hope. He told the Senate last week that he supports the date as a way of pressing President Karzai to perform, but understands it as a very gradual “conditions based” withdrawal of U.S. troops. And while he said that it wasn’t “envisioned” to send more troops to Afghanistan, he refused to rule it out as an option. Petraeus’s accidental arrival in Afghanistan signifies Obama has firmly sided with Petraeus against Vice President Biden, who wants a very substantial drawdown of U.S. forces beginning in 2011.

Now expect to hear all this from Obama and Petraeus themselves.

William Willis | William Willis is a freelance writer and social media manager who specializes in assisting finance professionals and Fintech entrepreneurs in growing their online audience and attracting more paying customers. William worked as a bank teller and virtual assistant for financial firms in the United States and the United Kingdom for six years before beginning her writing career. William is a strong force in the workplace, inspiring others to work hard and excel with her optimistic attitude and boundless energy. He enjoys hiking, crocheting, and playing video games with her grandchildren in her spare time.


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