Today’s WaPo features a front page Analysis piece by Peter Baker and Thomas Ricks entitled, “Petraeus Returns to War That Is Now His Own.”
The war in Iraq has diminished the reputations of many of its generals. As Petraeus returns to Baghdad to continue carrying out President Bush’s strategy, his image has changed as well. Like it or not, he has become a political player, and more than ever before, the U.S. venture in Iraq has become his own. “Up until this week, it was Rumsfeld’s war,” said retired Army Lt. Col. James Jay Carafano, referring to former defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. “Now, for better or worse, it’s Dave’s war.”
Indeed. That’s the natural byproduct of politicians wrapping themselves in the prestige of the officer corps as a mean of selling an unpopular policy. Petraeus has welcomed the opportunity, however. If he can somehow pull it off, the rewards are high.
(As an aside, it’s rather odd that Carafano is described as a “retired Army Lt. Col.” rather than as a Heritage Foundation senior fellow and Georgetown Ph.D.)