Photo of Hezbollah: Petraeus thinks they have "justifications"
I've never been a huge fan of Gen. David Petraeus due to 1) his elevation as an advisor of David "Accidental Guerilla" Kilcullen (whose Islam-free war analysis blinds the US to this day), 2) his PC reliance on "hearts and minds" (at one point in Iraq, he ordered posters hung in every barracks asking, "What Have You Done To Win Iraqi Hearts and Minds Today?"), and, not least, 3) his abject failure to force the belligerency of Iran into the national debate over US strategy in Iraq. Talk about Vietnam Redux: Ignoring Iranian (and Syrian) safe havens for anti-American fighters has led to I don't even want to think of how many US casualties. Meanwile, I still don't see "the surge" as more than stolid police work -- as in, put more men on the streets, crime goes down -- assisted by throwing $$ at Sunni mercenaries. It strikes me as more stopgap measure than genius strategy, as Iraq's ever-parlous state as a non-ally bears out.
So churlish me wasn't all that surprised by Petraeus's recently revealed MoveOn-ish take on Guantanamo Bay (aptly skewered and dubbed "vapid" by Andy McCarthy). But now there's more.
Writing at Pajamas Media, Nicholas Guariglia reports almost despite himself (and his obviously deep admiration of Petraeus) that Petraeus is toeing the Islamic line on Israel via Hezbollah. He writes:
Petraeus is a respected man, whose opinions are highly valued and held in high esteem — which makes his recent comment about the terrorist group Hezbollah all the more surprising. Just prior to the Lebanese elections — elections that Hezbollah lost, thank goodness — Gen. Petraeus spoke with the Arabic-language al-Hayat newspaper, published by the Lebanese Daily Star, and blamed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the existence of Hezbollah. “Hezbollah’s justifications for existence will become void,” Petraeus said, “if the Palestinian cause is resolved.”
It is unclear what Petraeus meant by this statement. While he has earned the benefit of the doubt, if Petraeus truly meant what he apparently said, this is a highly discouraging revelation. The idea that the Palestinian “plight” is Hezbollah’s casus belli is so far from the truth, and so detached from reality, it is hard to believe Petraeus actually thinks this. Perhaps there was a mistranslation? Perhaps Petraeus was making shrewd statements for domestic Lebanese consumption — attempting to undermine Hezbollah by painting them as more concerned for Palestinians than the Lebanese people, just ahead of Lebanon’s elections? All of this is possible.
Or all of this is grasping at straws. Petraeus' only saving grace here would be to disavow the statement. Otherwise, we've got a commander who is advancing the jihadist line.