Editor’s Pick
JUNE 30, 2010 11:51AM

The Human Side of Gen. Petraeus' Confirmation Hearings

Rate: 3 Flag



Most of the reports I have seen on yesterday's Senate confirmation hearings for General David H. Petraeus’ nomination to Commander, ISAF/US Forces–Afghanistan, focused on what the senators and the general had to say, ask and answer about our political and military objectives, policies and strategy and about the course of the war itself in Afghanistan—as it should be.

After the hearings, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted to approve General Petraeus and to refer his nomination to the full Senate, where his confirmation is virtually assured in a vote this week.

While of course the general’s testimony and the subsequent question-and-answer session are extremely important and will be analyzed and discussed ad infinitum, there were three items in General Petraeus’ opening statement that, in my opinion, defined the man and convinced me that—considering everything else we know about him—President Obama has definitely made the right choice.

First, at the very onset of his opening statement, the general—a gentleman—recognized and thanked the man he was replacing in Afghanistan, General McChrystal:

I would like to begin this morning by saying a few words about General Stan McChrystal, someone I’ve known and admired for nearly 30 years. General McChrystal has devoted his entire professional life to the defense of this nation, and he and his family have made enormous personal sacrifices during his lengthy deployments over the past nine years in particular. His contributions during that time were very significant. I can attest, for example, that the success of the surge in Iraq would not have been possible without General McChrystal’s exceptional leadership of our special mission unit forces there. Similarly, the development of the Joint Special Operations Command during his unprecedented tenure commanding JSOC was extraordinary as well.

General Petraeus went on to describe and give credit to McChrystal’s contributions in Afghanistan.

Second, towards the end of his statement, the general—a leader and a soldier—recognized and offered his thanks and appreciation for the work and the sacrifices of his troops and their families:

As I close, I would like to once again note the extraordinary work being done by our troopers on the ground in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere around the world. Our young men and women truly deserve the recognition they have earned as America’s new greatest generation. There is no question that they comprise the finest, most combat-hardened military in our Nation’s history.

There is also no question that they and their families have made enormous sacrifices since 9/11, in particular. Many of them have deployed on multiple tours to perform difficult missions under challenging circumstances against tough, barbaric enemies. We cannot, in my view, ever thank our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen enough, though what Americans have done to support those in uniform and our deployed civilians has been truly wonderful. Indeed, nothing has meant more to our troopers and their families than the appreciation of those here at home.

Earlier on, Petraeus also assured the mothers and fathers of those fighting in Afghanistan that he sees it “as a moral imperative to bring all assets to bear to protect our men and women in uniform and the Afghan security forces with whom ISAF troopers are fighting shoulder-to-shoulder,” and that he is keenly aware of “concerns by some of our troopers on the ground about the application of our rules of engagement and the tactical directive.” “They should know that I will look very hard at this issue,” the general said.

Finally, the general—a family man and a human being—had this to say about his wife of 36 years, Holly Petraeus, watching from the front row of the spectators:

As you noted, Mr. Chairman, my wife, Holly, is here with me today. She is a symbol of the strength and dedication of families around the globe who wait at home for their loved ones while they are engaged in critical work in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. She has hung tough while I have been deployed for over 5 ½ years since 9/11.

He thoughtfully added, “So have untold other spouses, children, and loved ones as their troopers have deployed and continued to raise their right hands time and time again. Clearly, our families are the unsung heroes of the long campaigns on which we have been embarked over the past decade.”

No matter what anyone may think or say about the war in Afghanistan or about the general’s military skills and record, I do not believe that anyone can deny General Petraeus’ chivalry or his love of country, troops and family.

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
No comments, no rates. I'm not surprised with that. I'm shocked you managed an EP.

McChrystal is the best street fighter we have. Petraeus is a step up from that street level mentality into a more nuanced environment that exists in Afghanistan. His salute to the troopers serving and carrying out US policy around the world and to the families and citizens back home who support their efforts is obligatory but nonetheless moving if one gives any serious thought at all about the myriad sacrifices entailed by all involved. You pointing this out, Dorian, will be acknowledged by me at least. The other sixty or so folks who read your post and didn't bother to comment or rate, bespeaks the agenda on this site more effectively than if they were to blare it on loudspeakers.
Love of country, troops, superiors, former superiors, and family does not excuse Petraeus from having to face up to the fact that he will be committing atrocities in Afghanistan as a result of the role he will now be filling.

The human side (if you really want to explore the human side) was not brought up. The real human side is the starvation and hunger that continues to occur among the Afghanis because of the colonial expedition America continues in Afghanistan. The real human side is the deaths at weddings and the victims of drone attacks. The real human side is the torture and abuse at Bagram where detainees have been imprisoned because informants turned them in with dubious evidence or because soldiers blindfolded them and carried them off to prisons out of fear for their own lives.

The human side is that the patriotism America thinks its soldiers have is fueling the continued bloodying of a nation. NATO and U.S. troops are further corrupting a country that has been tattered and shredded over the past twenty years; they are violating a country's right to self-determination or Afghanistan's national sovereignty.

How you managed an EP, I do not know. Just because Obama makes poor decisions doesn't mean we who write and comment about politics have to find reasons to be optimistic about them.

Obama's selection of Petraeus continues the war in Afghanistan on a trajectory that has an endpoint worse than the Vietnam War. Our leaders are imperiling Americans along with the people of Afghanistan and the Middle East so long as they continue the war and occupation of Afghanistan.
Whirlwind: Thank you for your comments.

Kevin: Thanks for your frank comments, too.

My post was intended to highlight the personal and, yes, human remarks made by the general.

We all have our own thoughts, judgments and opinions about war, the sacrifices and the mistakes, and about those who declare wars, lead them, engage in them and the human suffering that always accompanies such wars.

I respect your opinions, but I stand by what I wrote about the human aspects of the hearings and about the general appointed to continue to conduct that war.
I see the resident mooncalf naivete Kevin Gosztola has arrived to enlighten us all with his stock schlock analysis of the matter.
@whirlwind -

Good thing it's schlock otherwise you might have to respond to it. You might engage in conversation and debate. But, since it's schlock, that gives you a pass, right? So, now you can move right along to the next post celebrating Petraeus and give your piece on McChrystal and round and round and round without really doing much thinking about what these generals are doing in Afghanistan at all.
Conversation and debate, Kevin? I seriously doubt it. One only has to look at your body of work to see where you consistently are coming from in regards to the US and the situation in Afghanistan. In my view, the fact that you refer to our presence there as a 'colonial expedition' immediately disqualifies you for any serious discussion on what our mission there entails and what strategies are required to achieve it.
Okay ---we're in a public space that Dorian has the power to moderate. Unless Dorian shuts us down, we can have a meaningful exchange.

So, let's get into it --- Why are we in Afghanistan? Educate me. Please. Prove me wrong.

Prove me wrong and delusional for suggesting we are on a colonial expedition. Oh, and do it while keeping the recent reports released weeks ago on the mineral resources Afghanistan has in mind.
It is ABOUT TIME THAT DORIAN GOT AN EP! Congratulations and cheers!
I'm with Kevin. He pretty much nailed it. Whirlwind has nothing to offer other than resorting to name calling.

If Gen. Petraeus was a man of honor, he would have acknowledged that we are in Afghanistan based on lies and have slaughter countless innocent civilians for what? He should have gotten down on his hands and knees and begged for forgiveness from the Afghans for causing so much senseless death and destruction. If he loved his country he would advocate immediate withdrawal. If he loved his troops, he would apologize for putting them in harms way for no reason without a clear mission and ordering them to do immoral acts.

Obama should listen to people like Malalai Joya and other Afghans for the solutions to the problems we have created. Ah, but it isn't about what is best for the Afghans. It is what is best for our war profiteers and those who want perpetual war so we can loot and plunder whoever we wish.
That's apropos for this venue where one individual insists that our mission in Afghanistan is a colonial expedition and the other suggests that Gen. David Petraeus get on his hands and knees and beg forgiveness from the Afghans. I suppose Alaska Progressive would have us write an engraved thank you note to Osama Bin Laden for killing the 3,000 who perished on 9/11? But really, how can a meaningful dialogue be forged with such ingenues as these?

Meanwhile the Taliban continues their resurgence back into Afghanistan from their border hideouts in Pakistan. Not content with bringing Sharia law back to Afghanistan and restoring Afghanistan as a safe haven for Al Qaeda, the Taliban are now increasingly disrupting Pakistan, a nuclear state. Worldwide jihad festers merrily along with it's stated goal of a global Caliphate under Sharia domination, Al Qaeda spearheading the ideology. To the west of Afghanistan, Iran creeps closer and closer to becoming a nuclear state itself, another Islamic theocracy whose belligerent rumblings bode ill for the civilized world in general and for Israel in particular. Iranian agents for mischief are already established via Hezbollah in Syria and Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. These are the issues the grown ups have to contemplate policy for. They are the implacable facts, any one of which goes the wrong way could end up killing millions of people world wide and/or disrupting life here, in Europe or the Middle East for centuries.

And Kevin says it's all about a colonial expedition to get at Afghanistan's mineral wealth. While Alaska Progressive demands General Petraeus get on his knees. Well, like I said at the start, there is no meaningful dialogue as to strategy to be had here.
Hey Whirlwind, there's a boogeyman under your bed. You'd better sleep with the lights on tonight. They're all gonna get us, Ahhhhhh!

As far as your comment about killing millions worldwide, we have done that.
Hi Whirlwind:

I did not intend for you to do "defend" my post, but having said that, you are doing a pretty good job of it.

Suffice to say, that--contrary to the lies, misinformation, exaggerations, fearmongering that got us into the Iraq war, we had every right--an obligation-- to retaliate against those who planned, financed, directed and executed the dastardly attack on our homeland that killed over 3,000 innocent American (and other nationalities) men, women and--I am sure-- children.

Now, as to how the Afghanistan war was executed under the previous administration, causing us to be still there, and whether things could be done differently, that's entirely another matter.

Thank you, Whirlwind
I like this site very much

===== http://www.shopstrade.us ====

jordan air max oakland raiders $34–39;

Ed Hardy AF JUICY POLO Bikini $25;

Christan Audigier BIKINI JACKET $25;

gstar coogi evisu true jeans $35;

coach chanel gucci LV handbags $36;

coogi DG edhardy gucci t-shirts $18;

CA edhardy vests.paul smith shoes $32;

jordan dunk af1 max gucci shoes $37;

EDhardy gucci ny New Era cap $16;

coach okely Adidas CHANEL DG Sunglass $18;

===== http://www.shopstrade.us ====
Reliable and professional China wholesale website where you can buy wholesale merchandise and dropship them anywhere in the world
China wholesale: The leading marketplace for wholesale products from Chinese Wholesaler and suppliers, including wholesale,Wholesale lipo battery,mobile signal booster,Wholesale Laser Pointer....