7:30 AM EST, November 15, 2012
Gen. David Petraeus' actions over the past several years show that he considers himself more of a prince than a member of the armed forces who answers to his civilian commander-in-chief ("Did Petraeus have to step down?" Nov. 13).
In Afghanistan, he insisted on fresh pineapple each night and fresh bananas sliced on his cereal every morning. A fawning media and Congress evidently went to his head, leading him to believe that ordinary rules of conduct and law did not apply to his princely persona.
The disastrous "surge" in Iraq was sold as a success to a compliant Congress and an ill-informed media, just one more wonderful move by the genius general. The real reason violence in Iraq diminished was that ethnic cleansing was already complete when he got there, and Mr. Petraeus paid the Sunni militants not to fight for a year or so until the U.S. left.
But what about the nearly 1,000 U.S. service members who died as a result of the surge? Who is thinking about them as they laud Mr. Petraeus for his more recent surge in Afghanistan?
When you are a prince, you don't wait for your new commander-in-chief to be sworn in, you just announce to President Hamid Karzai on Jan. 20, 2009, that the U.S. will send an additional 30,000 troops. How can this rank insubordination be considered patriotic?
Why did Mr. Petraeus feel empowered to decide U.S. policy? What purpose have the additional troops in Afghanistan served? The Petraeus strategy involved arming and training Afghans who then turned their guns on the U.S. soldiers serving there.
Yet Mr. Petraeus' failure in Afghanistan was rewarded with the top job at the CIA, where he asked for more drones just weeks before he resigned.
It is time to get out of Afghanistan, end the drone wars in Pakistan and re-establish civilian control over our military. How many more generals have to fall because they feel they are above the law and entitled to princely perks?
Roger Fitzgerald, Hampstead
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