Saturday, September 01, 2007


Steve Clemons of the Washington Note has picked up some chatter about the political prospects of Gen. Petraeus. Apart from being an occasion for some of my more successful blog whoring, the post puts some reporting behind what had been pure speculation on my part:
There is informal discussion among some in the military set -- and increasingly among some pols -- that General David Petraeus could be an interesting presidential prospect on the Republican side of the line a few years from now.
As the unrestrained adulation that the Greatest General EVAR is receiving raised that thought in my mind as well (see my President Petraeus post), it should be pointed out that Petraeus might have some skeletons rattling around in his closet, despite this:
Petraeus -- who both Dems and Republicans liked when he was perceived to be a highly competent, underappreciated expert on counter-insurgency and who was punished by Rumsfeld and exiled far from the front line action to do his work in Leavenworth, Kansas -- won't be blamed for the deteriorating mess in Iraq.
Before Petraeus was 'exiled' he was in charge of training the Iraqi military. He was in charge when the 190,000 weapons 'disappeared'. He was in charge when Col. Westhusing committed suicide after accusing his superiors of ignoring rampant corruption.

Let's face it, the whole operation to 'train' the Iraqi military was run on the same lines as Bremer's Green zone fiasco: toadyism, incompetence and corruption. Petraeus was probably moved out to protect him, not to exile him.

Officers under Gen. Petaeus have now been charged with accepting bribes:

The court papers make clear that investigators have concluded that Lee Dynamics paid large bribes to numerous United States officials in Iraq and Kuwait. Major Davis is one official cited. Another is an Army officer, identified in the investigator’s report as “Person B,” because he is now cooperating with the investigation. He acknowledged receiving $50,000 in cash bribes from the company, the court papers said. Two people with direct knowledge of the investigation or the contracting office in Iraq at the time said “Person B” was Lt. Col. Kevin A. Davis, who worked with an officer who has emerged as a focus of the investigation in the weapons case in Iraq.

That officer, Lt. Col. Levonda Joey Selph, was at the heart of the effort to strengthen the fledgling Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005. She worked closely with Gen. David H. Petraeus, who commanded the effort at the time. The general is now the top commander in Iraq. There is no indication that investigators have uncovered any wrongdoing by General Petraeus.

In a brief phone conversation Thursday, Colonel Selph confirmed the connection between her and Colonel Davis in Iraq. “I worked for Kevin Davis,” Colonel Selph said. She said she wanted to consult her lawyer before speaking further and did not respond to subsequent messages.

We'll see how loud the skeletons will turn out to be.


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