• Petraeus: ‘It’s Time to Unleash America’s Airpower in Afghanistan’

    January 21, 2016

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: Afghanistan, Iraq, Military, Syria


    In an Op-Ed printed in the Washington Post, former General David Petraeus says it is time to “unleash our airpower in support of our Afghan partners in the same way that we support our Iraqi and Syrian partners against extremists.”

    Petraeus went on to claim:

    At present, U.S. and NATO airpower in Afghanistan is used only to attack validated al-Qaeda targets, to counter specific individuals or groups who have attacked coalition forces previously and to respond directly to attacks on coalition forces. According to leaders on the ground, U.S. and NATO forces are otherwise not allowed to attack Taliban targets. The situation appears to be in flux in regard to Islamic State elements, but through 2015, they too could be targeted only under narrow circumstances.

    The former general, who lead the failed Surge in Iraq, and former head of the CIA, who was thrown out of the job after his extra-marital affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell, and after his being convicted of exposing classified information, went on to say:

    We have the tools in place to step up our game considerably. When combined with a motivated and competent ground force, airpower can be quite effective. This was witnessed in 2001, when U.S. airpower and special operatives worked with the Northern Alliance to oust the Taliban from power.

    So at this point one must ask the key question: has Petraeus had a stroke or is he on Acid, because otherwise his statements ignore reality, perhaps the laws of time and space themselves.

    To begin, Petraeus’ statement that airpower in 2001 “ousted the Taliban,” a statement made without apparent irony, would be hilarious if it was not utterly tragic. Petraeus seems to have missed a few meetings, at which he would have learned that since those victories in 2001 the Taliban has been doing just fine, thanks. The U.S. has remained inside the Afghan quagmire for more than 14 more years, and currently has no end game planned for the war. Air power, with or without “a motivated and competent ground force” (as if such a thing can ever exist in Afghanistan, we’ve been training and equipping there for 14 years), never is enough. There are examples to draw from going back into WWI.

    It is also unclear on what information Petraeus is basing his statements that the U.S. is broadly “not allowed to attack Taliban targets.” Petraeus only refers to “leaders on the ground” as his source. We’d sure like to hear more about that.

    And, David, how the hell did ISIS come into existence anyway, and how did they get into Afghanistan? U.S. have anything to do with that?

    I get it. I get why the failed options are still so attractive. Bombing and drones are believed by the majority of Americans to be surgical procedures that kill lots of bad guys, not too many innocents, and no Americans at all. As Washington regularly imagines it, once air power is in play, someone else’s boots will eventually hit the ground. A handful of Special Forces troops, American boots-sorta-on-the-ground, will turn the tide. Washington will collect and hold together some now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t “coalition” to abet the task at hand. It all sounds good, even though it is not.

    Petraeus failed in Iraq (that war is still going on and on) and he failed at CIA. Oh, and yes, in 2010 Petraeus served as the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, a period in which insurgent attacks on coalition forces spiked to record levels, and violence metastasized to previously stable areas.

    So the most important question of all is why anyone is still listening to David Petraeus?

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  • Recent Comments

    • StarkNakedTruth said...


      PVB writes, “The U.S. has remained inside the Afghan quagmire for more than 14 more years, and currently has no end game planned for the war.”

      …and at what point does the American government give up and throw in the towel?

      01/21/16 9:32 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      We should tell General P-brain exactly what he told his mistress: BLOW ME!

      01/21/16 10:00 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Of course, General P-brain has been getting blowjobs from the media for so long that he expects they will swallow anything:

      “It’s impossible to tell the difference between the tone of a reporter who we now know was literally sucking the dick of her subject and the tone of just about any other modern American reporter who is given access to a powerful person for a biography or feature-length profile.” – Matt Taibbi

      01/21/16 10:08 AM | Comment Link

    • Bruce said...


      Yet (again) To REMIND: It’s Their Country (and WE Are The REDCOATS)!

      01/21/16 10:49 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Why? Because those holding the same delusions (99% of those working in DC) enjoy hearing a general- who had an attractive biographer- bloviate. Rework the word order of that last sentence to your own satisfaction. It’s a mix of envy and admiration I guess.

      01/21/16 5:29 PM | Comment Link

    • Petraeus: ‘It’s Time to Unleash America’s Airpower in Afghanistan’ | The Contrary Perspective said...


      […] This post originally appeared on January 21, 2016 in Peter Van Buren’s blog. […]

      01/22/16 11:06 AM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...


      So the most important question of all is why anyone is still listening to David Petraeus?

      Listening? Ha! I wanna know WHY this scum sucking war criminal isn’t in front of a firing squad.

      01/22/16 1:56 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...


      General Open Zipper needs to just fade away, and take his crazy ideas with him.

      01/22/16 7:33 PM | Comment Link

    • sglover said...


      I’m thinking a pertinent question might be, for whom is Petreaus “consulting” these days?

      Or maybe he’s just “maintaining the brand”, making the occasional WaPo appearance to remind the other “defense” grifters that he’s still available. For the WaPo op-ed page quality is a secondary or tertiary concern. As long as it’s the usual nudge in the direction of endless military adventures, details don’t matter.

      01/22/16 10:33 PM | Comment Link

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