Next there is the partisan question. Krugman asked, "Is it normal for serving military officers to publish articles just before an election that clearly help an incumbent's campaign? I don't think so." Well, this is trickier. I asked someone working in a national security think tank at the time, who said that while the military should be reporting to civilian leadership and the public on how a military operation is going, including before an election, the Petraeus editorial was "a remarkable thing." In the most recent issue of Foreign Affairs, Lawrence Korb agrees, saying that Petraeus "improperly" injected himself into a political compaign. Petraeus is not exactly known as an apolitical person — he's got a PhD from Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy, and a reputation for being an ambitious and skillful political operator. Says my think-tank source: "They say the first star is for military ability, the second star is political, and moreso from there"; having never myself donned body armor and charged headlong into battle, I will assume that there is probably more to four stars than that. But put it this way: The notion that Petraeus' 2004 editorial had a partison bent is not exactly new, and has not exactly been ruled out.If the bold part sounds familiar it should, it sounds a lot like what I wrote here.
To reach the rank of general you have to be part politician, it has always been that way. A good general is always a general first and a politician second. Those who had been generals first have over the last six years have been driven from the service by Donald Rumsfeld and the Bush administration. What we have left are men like General Petraeus. Not only a politician but a political hack.Ed Morrissey says Democrats Try Character Assassination On Petraeus. No Ed, it is not character assassination when we point out past errors and political activity. As Rachel Sklar concludes:
General Petraeus is a helluva lot more qualified to lead the surge, evaluate the surge, and report on the surge than the media, that's for sure. But it is the media's job to also evaluate General Petraeus himself as the source of that report — not just his qualifications, but his credibility. Krugman is right to be skeptical — as it would have been right to be skeptical in the fall of 2004. In the fall of 2007, a little skepticism couldn't hurt. A lack of skepticism, on the other hand... well. We all know what else happened in the fall of 2004.