Did General Petraeus Snub Congressional Democrats?

Redstate‘s “RS Insider” notes a kerfuffle brewing among the Netroots:

Think Progress, the Booman Tribune, the Carpetbagger Report and a herd of Democratic bloggers are criticizing General Petraeus for allegedly having a partisan meeting for Republicans. One blogger even suggests General Petraeus should be “relieved of his command“.

He asserts, linking to an old post of his own, that Democrats were invited but chose not to attend. Sure enough, a Jennifer Yachnin report in the March 8 Roll Call confirms:

Boehner attended a video-conference at the Pentagon this morning with Army Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and knocked Democrats for not attending. “There was not a single member of the Democratic leadership in the House there this morning despite being invited,” he said, “I think it’s unfortunate but telling. … Gen. Petraeus should be the one making decisions about what happens on the ground in Iraq, not Nancy Pelosi or John Murtha.”

RSI concludes, “Next time, instead of criticizing General Petraeus for briefing Republicans on the war, perhaps liberal bloggers should suggest the Democrats actually attend those briefings.”

That seems reasonable enough.

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, Congress, Iraq War, Military Affairs, , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Insisting the democrats take responsibility for going to the briefing would run counter to the entire modern liberal ethos. Personal responsibility – Bah. Bashing republicans for a mess made by the democrats – yeah.

  2. I’m the “herd” referenced in the RS post and the link you show to Roll Call doesn’t give that text. Since it’s subscription only, we can’t see for ourselves, but I trust you James to report accurately so that’s not really an issue. However, if Boehner is telling the truth, whom I don’t trust, then shame on the Dems for not showing up.

    However, that was three weeks ago. Aren’t we talking about two different meetings here and I’ll have to go back and check but I believe this last meeting, that is the actual subject of the current debate, was held with the Republican caucus, not in an open meeting.

    And neither yourself or RedState is addressing Andrea’s Mitchell’s statement that the GOP gave Petreaus a deadline of August to show some results or they weren’t going to support the surge anymore either. Which leads me to ask, if they have a deadline of their own, why are they fighting the Dems over theirs? Why hasn’t a bi-partisan bill been passed.

    If I’m wrong I’ll apologize but it looks to me that at best, both parties are at fault and at worst, the process is being politicized in a dangerous way.

  3. Hal says:

    Yea, if everyone is going to be all triumphant n’ all, it would be very nice to actually confirm that these are one and the same meeting.

    I’m sure that’s a reasonable enough request.

  4. Bandit says:

    It wasn’t an AQ briefing so the Dems weren’t interested

  5. James Joyner says:

    it would be very nice to actually confirm that these are one and the same meeting.

    A DoD source (not for attribution, unfortunately) says Petraeus had only one video conference with Members.

  6. Are you telling me the media was discussing a three and half week old power point presentation only yesterday? On the Chris Matthews show? My understanding is this was a meeting with the Republican caucus to strategize on how to counter the Democratic bills.

    The whole premise of the program segment and this additional meeting was about how long the Republicans were willing to hold the fort so to speak.

  7. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Libby, is there any information about that is negitive about the left that you do not have to spin into something it is not? What difference does it make if the meeting was yesterday or three weeks ago? If the Democrats failed to attend, I would like to know why. Not your BS about what you liars say it was about or who it was for. James doesn’t spin stuff here. It is shameful for the democratic leadership not to attend that meeting. Guess their mind is made up and they do not wish to hear facts.