Jeopardizing U.S. Standing: The Petraeus Controversy

Leaks from a recent top level briefing by General David Petraeus are causing quite a controversy.  The general pointed out that, “Israeli intransigence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was jeopardizing U.S. standing in the region.”  Mark Perry reported this on March 13 in  Foreign Policy.  Perry said, “No previous CENTCOM commander had ever expressed himself on what is essentially a political issue… ”

When I read a statement like that, it’s like hearing the opening music for The Twilight Zone.   What on earth is Perry talking about?  Every CENTCOM commander, from General Tommy Franks, through Petraeus, has endorsed the continuation of the Iraq war and occupation.  That’s as essentially political as you can get.

There was no basis for invading Iraq: no weapons of mass destruction and no terrorist threat.  Even the flawed October 2, 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NEI) admitted that the primary threat of an Iraqi terrorist attack on the United States would come if, “an attack that threatened the survival of the regime were imminent or unavoidable, or possibly for revenge.”

The invasion commenced despite the fact than an invasion was the one scenario described in the NEI that could cause a terrorist attack in the United States.  It was a political decision that had nothing to do with the safety of the nation.

Petraeus’ accuracy is undeniable on the impact of the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  U.S. standing is compromised by our ongoing promises to Arab leaders that we’ll deal with the Israel-Palestine conflict while, at the same time, we endorse Israeli settlements in occupied Arab territory by continually turning a blind eye.

But there’s a larger picture to examine.

Let’s see what else impairs U.S. standing and our national interests in the Middle East.  How about the continued occupation of Iraq?  Then there’s the over one million dead Iraqi’s due to civil strife caused by our invasion.  Forty thousand new troops to Afghanistan might have an impact on our standing.

To generalize, U.S. standing in the Middle East is severely compromised by wars of aggression, ongoing occupations, and the expansion of existing war efforts.

This controversy is nothing more than a tactical strike by a military establishment that is tired of dealing with the blowback from our longstanding policies in the Middle East and South Asia.  There are policies beyond those toward Israel that harm our interests.

The endorsement and participation in U.S. military acts of aggression form the basis of the problematic policies.

How about a new doctrine to improve U.S. standing everywhere?  The United States will engage all foreign governments constructively to assure benefits to our citizens and the citizens of the foreign country.  The U.S. will not initiate invasions or efforts to destabilize foreign countries.  The U.S. military will protect the citizens of this country but never use its military force to further the financial or other special interests of any individual or group.

That would enhance U.S. standing beyond words and repair the decades of government and private meddling overseas.

As for the current controversy, it should just be ignored or condemned.  Petraeus isn’t the first military leader to advance a purely political position.  The White House wasn’t hit “like a bombshell” with the Petraeus comments about Israel.  And why was Vice President Biden surprised by new Israeli settlements?  That’s been going on for decades.

It’s all just theatrics to distract us from the fundamental problem with U.S. foreign policy.  Military and diplomatic efforts have been used throughout U.S. history  to advance interests of those other than the vast majority of citizens, often times at the expense of those citizens.  They benefit, we pay.

Michael Collins writes for Scoop Independent News and a variety of other web publications on election fraud and other corruptions of the new millennium. He is one of few to report on the ongoing struggles of Susan Lindauer, an activist accused of being a foreign agent, who was the subject of a government request for forced psychiatric medication. This article may be reproduced in whole or in part with attribution of authorship, a link to this article, and acknowledgment of images. Read other articles by Michael, or visit Michael's website.

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  1. Mulga Mumblebrain said on March 17th, 2010 at 4:07am #

    For the United States to abjure aggressive violence, cowardly, one-sided massacre posing as war and the subversion of any country not following orders to the letter, would entail the complete dissolution of the US as it has existed since 1776. I don’t see the US ruling class nor its close buddy Zionists giving up their drive to rule and plunder the world any century now. Only one thing will change the nature of US/Israeli fascism- military defeat or internal revolution.As both would be met with genocidal violence I see a more likely future as expanding wars of aggression and genocide, more and more vicious internal repression and a descent into fascism as the FoxNews pathocracy foments the Tea Party revolt of the morons and psychopaths, all in the context of global ecological collapse.

  2. Michael Collins said on March 17th, 2010 at 9:53am #

    The history of past aggression and conquest is readily available and undeniable. It would also apply to any number of nations, some of which are reasonably peaceful today. Sweden is a good example. The problem with changing U.S. foreign policy is huge. The basis of that change is rarely defined. We have to wait for Ron Paul to ask how we’d feel if we were invaded and see only one or two on the other side like Dennis Kucinich agree. Yet most people would immediately see the merits of this question. That’s why the media is so well controlled. Simple questions would be troubling.

    The financial crisis and a new generation of citizens not tied to the reflexive responses of the past offer some hope. We can’t afford to maintain the military presence overseas or any more wars. Of great significance, out financial institutions are taking on the aura of pariahs. The EU barred US banks from sovereign debt bond sales and may ban credit default swaps (CDS). That would devastate the Wall Street money machine.

    The rising 20-30 year olds are in need of work and stability. They know the score and won’t buy into the normal nonsense. For example, 30% of them find socialism a positive alternative to our current system. When someone like Petraeus makes the remarks he did, they don’t shudder or become outraged. They probably don’t even care. They need jobs.

    I think reality has arrived as a liberator. The artificially created Tea Bag movement is minor compared to the outrage coming from the vast majority. It will be directed in the right direction — the financial elite and their minions. Thanks for your comment.