Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | June 24, 2010

GEN Dave Petraus’ bag of

I only met Dave Petraus one time, but I feel comfortable calling him ‘Dave.’  We both taught in the Department of Social Sciences at West Point.  He was coming in to teach the year I left – 1984.   But, we had heard enough about each other that he came by to introduce himself in the Spring of 1990 – and I already knew who he was.  He was a general’s aide when I worked in a general’s planning group.   When his general came to see mine, he popped by.   It was a surprise and very nice 30 minutes or so.   Never saw him since then.   Obviously, heard and cheered for his success in the years to follow.

Now, Dave Petraus is being given a big bag of …worms.  Or feces.   Etc.

Dave Petraus will exercise his leadership to make as much success as any General could in the time he spends as the Commanding General in Afghanistan.  But, I doubt it will matter much if Obama keeps his “We Quit” strategy with a date certain to start the pull out from Afghanistan.   It’s Vietnam all over again with a lower body count.

GEN Creighton Abrams couldn’t win in Vietnam when the political elites lacked the will to win.    Neither will Dave Petraus in a much more difficult situation to win.   No matter how you define the exit condition in Afghanistan as “win.”

Sorry, Dave.  For you and every young soldier killed or wounded playing out Obama’s folly.

It will be interesting to see who is appointed the Regional Commander to replace Dave.  That will tell one story.

I have no idea, but must wonder if Obama is saddling Dave with this mission to make him less of a Eisenhower-like Presidential threat in 2012.   Funny, cause like Ike, no one knows what political party Dave might claim.  Remember,  former fellow Sosh Department alum (and one of my teachers and probably Dave’s) GEN Wes Clark ran as a Democrat.

Godspeed, Dave Petraus.


  1. the 2012 angle didn’t occur to me until I read it hear (which is why you remain the “P” and I’m just a confused Yearling), but I think that is hugely insightful.

  2. I think of you more as the armored warrior vet from Iraq War I.

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