More Benghazi Mendacity: Petraeus and the Ruling Class

Diana West has a must-read blog post that sheds further light on the Benghazi disaster. The focus is on the apparent mendacity of CIA Director Petraeus. West has been a thoughtful critic of the incompetence and deceit of the Obama administration’s Libyan policy from the beginning.

I found this post of special interest because West chronicles the lack of interest (to put it politely) or cover-up (to put it clearly) involved in the commentariat’s view of Petraeus’ role in the events surrounding the murders of four Americans on 9/11/12. She points out that the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have both given Petraeus a free pass. Obama and Hilary Clinton have been rightly criticized in the conservative press for their false accounts and failure to act. Why should we let Petraeus off the hook?

The New York Times is interested in making sure that the Obama administration is not blamed. But why would the WSJ and commentators such as Max Boot want to ignore Petraeus’ part in this disaster? I suspect it is misguided admiration of our senior military officials coupled with sympathy for the nation-building projects they serve.

Petraeus could not be bothered to attend the funerals of the murdered CIA contractors (his employees); he did find time to attend the premier of Argo. This shows us something about the character of our ruling class. It was more important for Petraeus to hang out with Ben Affleck and Huma Abedin than to honor the heroic deeds of Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

The courage and decency of Woods and Doherty is not matched by any corresponding virtues on the part of decision-makers in the White House, the CIA, the Pentagon, or the State Department.  Angelo Codevilla  has pointed out that our Progressive ruling class includes the senior military officers who have been complicit in the largely unsuccessful policies pursued since 9/11/01. Here we see more proof to substantiate his argument.

  1. Frozen Chosen

    I’ve had concerns about Petraeus’ role in this debacle from the beginning and wrote a member post regarding his silence a few weeks ago.

    It appears that my fears regarding his leadership may have some basis in fact given how he has handled this crisis.

  2. doc molloy

    Getting to the point..

    Claudia Rosett= Benghazi and the Missing Obama 9/11 Timeline

    “Where exactly was President Obama during those seven hours, 5 PM till midnight in Washington, on Sept. 11? He had no further appointments scheduled. He has released no pictures, provided no specifics. Was he in the situation room throughout? After the 5 PM directive, was he there at all? There are many questions about what orders did or did not issue from the White House, and who gave them, or didn’t, during the Sept. 11 Benghazi attack. But they all lead back to the president. He’s the commander-in-chief, as he reminded the country on Thursday, while campaigning in his Air Force One bomber jacket. On a normal evening, there may be no call for the American public to know exactly what their president does with his time. But this was no normal evening.”
  3. Richard Finlay

    Other than dubious extrapolation from military competence to political sanity, I know of no reason to presume Petraeus’s political leanings.  When I was in the Army (granted, about an eon ago) there were plenty of left-wing-ish officers, and there has always been a political reward structure for General Officers.

  4. John Grant
    C

    Hi Richard,

    I don’t know if Petraeus will vote for Romney or Obama, but I am quite sure that he is comfortable with the general Progressive-Liberal consensus which animates the whole Democratic Party and the respectable, establishment, non-Tea Party Republicans. In other words, Petraeus is no friend to constitutionalism and he does not understand the principal purpose of government to be the security of American rights.

    Richard Finlay: Other than dubious extrapolation from military competence to political sanity, I know of no reason to presume Petraeus’s political leanings.  When I was in the Army (granted, about an eon ago) there were plenty of left-wing-ish officers, and there has always been a political reward structure for General Officers. · 6 minutes ago

  5. Trace

    107911590.jpgMr. and Mrs. Petraeus are statists. Full stop. I hope that Romney is not seduced by his military credentials into keeping him in place. I would rather see Leon Panetta reinstated at CIA than Petraeus.

  6. doc molloy
    Diana West wrote back in March 2010
    DAVID PETRAEUS: NEOCONS

    “He also wrote a Ph.D. thesis at Princeton in 1987 called “The American military and the Lessons of Vietnam: A Study of Military Influence and the Use of Force in the Post-Vietnam Era.” One of his two faculty advisors, it is interesting to note was  Stephen Walt—of Walt and Mearsheimer infamy (hat tip to Andrew Bostom). In his acknowledgements, Petraeus writes: “Professor Stephen Walt also deserves my gratitude. As my second faculty adviser–replacing Professor Barry Posen during the writing of my dissertation–Professor Walt offered numerous sound suggestions and comments. Like Professor Ullman, he displayed tremendous competence not only as an academic, but as a teacher as well.”

    Petraeus ain’t no neocon..

  7. Retail Lawyer

    I doubt that association with this administration is good for one’s career.  This seems at a minimum to be the last “public service” position Hillary, Susan Rice, Jay Carney, and now Petraeus are likely to hold.

    “The future must not belong to those who slander Islam”.

  8. liberal jim

    Petraeus served as a yes man for Bush and serves in the same capacity for Obama.  The differences between Obama and Bush and the Democrats and non-teaparty Republicans are matters of degree not substance.   

    The cultures of members of the elites in State, Defense and Intelligence has been corrupted and honorable acts are rarely talked about let alone seen.

    Sen McCain stated on TV that on his trip to Libya, Stevens confided to him that DC was not providing adequate security.   Yet when he returned to DC he said nothing and did nothing.  Sen McCain is a member of the ruling elites in DC who are expert a little more than closing barn doors after the horses are long gone. I am not surprised by McCain’s incompetence, but his sharing it on FOX without realizing he was seems odd.  

    Benghazi is the story about the corruption of the Obama administration, but it is also symptomatic  far greater problems.

  9. John Grant
    C

    You certainly are an optimist! If you are part of the ruling class, there are no negative consequences for incompetence; there are rarely any consequences for outright malfeasance.

    How many officials lost their jobs after the first 9/11 for failing to prevent a massive loss of American lives? Or consider Joe Biden–the man is a monument to how far one can go in American politics while possessing no apparent ability whatsoever. What is John McCain ever done that is noteworthy? John Kerry? Bush-43? Barack H. Obama?

    Gross incompetence has surely not hurt the careers of General Petraeus or Condoleeza Rice.

    Our ruling class are, for the most part, notable for their mediocrity.

    Retail Lawyer: I doubt that association with this administration is good for one’s career.  This seems at a minimum to be the last “public service” position Hillary, Susan Rice, Jay Carney, and now Petraeus are likely to hold.

    “The future must not belong to those who slander Islam”. · 17 minutes ago

  10. R. Craigen

    Officially the Petraeus absence at the funeral is for security reasons due to sensitive issues he was working on at the time.  While I don’t get this — he could attend and keep his trap, er, mouth shut if that’s the concern — I accept it tentatively as a valid reason.  For other reasons Petraeus has been a big disappointment, almost as big as Colin Powell.

    I don’t get the point about Rice. She has had her share of RINO-esque moments, and she’s dead wrong on some issues, but she’s still admirable in many respects, a smart leader and worthy of elevation to office (short of Sec State — I think this is not her time, and she’s got an unfortunate blind spot on the stealth Jihad).  But incompetence?  Let’s be careful what words we throw around.

  11. Zafar

    Are some losses on the battlefield almost inevitable because of its nature rather than always due to incompetence or malice?

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-libya-cia-20121102,0,2438659.story

    From which:

    The Fox story also asserted that the CIA “chain of command” refused to pass along requests from its officers for military aid and that special operations forces in nearby Sicily could have been sent to help but were not. Intelligence andPentagon officials strenuously denied that Thursday.

    They insisted there was no viable military option to disrupt what amounted to a series of sporadic attacks in a crowded city full of people sympathetic to the U.S. There were no armed drones in the region and airstrikes were not called for, officials said.

    “Let’s say we were able to get an aircraft there. Do you go in and start strafing a populated area without knowing where friend or foe is?” a senior Defense official asked. “If you did that, you could kill the very people you are trying to help.”

  12. Viator

    All the way back to Vietnam.

  13. Albert Arthur
    John Grant:  What [has] John McCain ever done that is noteworthy?

    1 hour ago

    I assume that you of course mean, “what has John McCain done in Washington that is noteworthy.”

    You may also be conflating noteworthy with praiseworthy.

    McCain-Feingold is certainly noteworthy. Being the presidential nominee in 2008 is also noteworthy, even if he didn’t win.

  14. Albert Arthur

    I didn’t know that Petreus had not gone to the funerals. That’s somewhat upsetting. And noteworthy.

  15. John Grant
    C

    Very good. McCain-Feingold was noteworthy for its attempt to suppress free speech.

    I am unaware of anything that McCain did before he went to D.C. that was impressive.

    Albert Arthur

    John Grant:  What [has] John McCain ever done that is noteworthy?

    1 hour ago

    I assume that you of course mean, “what has John McCain donein Washingtonthat is noteworthy.”

    You may also be conflating noteworthy with praiseworthy.

    McCain-Feingold is certainly noteworthy. Being the presidential nominee in 2008 is also noteworthy, even if he didn’t win. · 19 minutes ago

  16. James Of England
    John Grant: Very good. McCain-Feingold was noteworthy for its attempt to suppress free speech.

    I am unaware of anything that McCain did before he went to D.C. that was impressive.

    Albert Arthur

    John Grant:  What [has] John McCain ever done that is noteworthy?

    1 hour ago

    I assume that you of course mean, “what has John McCain donein Washingtonthat is noteworthy.”

    You may also be conflating noteworthy with praiseworthy.

    McCain-Feingold is certainly noteworthy. Being the presidential nominee in 2008 is also noteworthy, even if he didn’t win. · 19 minutes ago

    1 minute ago

    Do you mean “since”? I sincerely hope that this is a typo. I’d be surprised if anyone on Ricochet went to more effort than me to keep him from becoming our nominee, and there are many unfortunate aspects to his pre-political life, but I’ve not often heard it suggested that there were no moments of valor.

  17. Nick Stuart
    John Grant: I am unaware of anything that McCain did before he went to D.C. that was impressive.

     

    18 minutes ago

    Being tortured as a prisoner of war and refusing early release (because his father had connections) insisting on going only when his turn came comes under the heading of impressive.

    John, with this throwaway snark you just incinerated your credibility. A retraction is in order.

  18. liberal jim
    John Grant: Diana West has a must-read blog post 

    The courage and decency of Woods and Doherty is not matched by any corresponding virtues on the part of decision-makers in the White House, the CIA, the Pentagon, or the State Department.  Angelo Codevilla  has pointed out that our Progressive ruling class includes the senior military officers who have been complicit in the largely unsuccessful policies pursued since 9/11/01. Here we see more proof to substantiate his argument. · · 15 hours ago

    There must be more wrong with me than I suspected.  The overriding question to me is, “Are Codevilla Claremont paper arguments valid and do the unfolding events surrounding Benghazi substantiate them?” If Codevilla is correct in his assertions the consequences are monumental and yet all the posts deal with relatively insignificant manusha regarding the relative accuracy of West’s blog and the preciseness of words used by Mr Grant.  

    Is Ricochet  turning into trivial pursuit or am I missing something?

  19. Crow
    liberal jim: …Yet all the posts deal with relatively insignificant manusha regarding the relative accuracy of West’s blog and the preciseness of words used by Mr Grant.  Is Ricochet  turning into trivial pursuit or am I missing something? 

    The preciseness of the words debate was of his own making, but the relative accuracy of West’s blog post–or, to reframe this point: what evidence she presents us with for concluding that Petraeus lied in his testimony–goes directly to helping to determine whether the events in Benghazi substantiate Codevilla’s indictment of the entire “ruling class” or whether the problem is more narrowly confined than that.

    Thus, West has presented us with some information that we find deeply troubling–but I am not yet ready to conclude, on the basis of a Democratic Senator’s media statement which toed the same line his party had been towing from the President on down, that Petraeus lied in his testimony.

    It may very well mean that, or it might mean said Senator covered for the President in spite of the evidence. I’m left with a bunch of questions, some of which I posed.

  20. Byron Horatio

    I do not have great impressions of Petraeus. He has blamed Israel in great measure for jihadism. He showed grove long weakness in dressing in full Afghan garb, a point of great ridicule from Mark Steyn. And as commander in Afghanistan, apparently did nothing to change the suicidal rules of engagement and training with Afghan partners. Count me not a fan.

Want to comment on stories like these? Become a member today!

You'll have access to:

  • All Ricochet articles, posts and podcasts.
  • The conversation amongst our members.
  • The opportunity share your Ricochet experiences.

Join Today!

Already a Member? Sign In