In interviews in recent weeks, Gen. David Petraeus has been taking a line on what will happen in mid-2011 that challenges President Barack Obama’s intention to begin a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by that date. This new Petraeus line is the culmination of a brazen bait-and-switch maneuver on the war by the most powerful military commander in modern U.S. history.
It represents a new stage in
the process by which Petraeus, abetted by his allies in the Pentagon,
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff Mike Mullen, has appropriated much of the power over decisions
on war policy that rightly belongs to the commander in chief.