Thursday, May 24, 2007

"Who do you trust? Politicians or Generals?"

On today's NPR broadcast of Mr. Bush's press conference, time and again he repeated the name of General Petraeus.

Time and again he repeated some variation of his mantra, "Who do you trust? Politicians or Generals?"

We should trust politicians to run things political; we should trust generals to run things military.

What we should also do is remember that when General Shinseki called for "several hundred thousand" troops to be deployed to Iraq for post-war occupation and stabilization, a politician, the second in command at the Pentagon, Paul Wolfowitz, called the general's estimate "wildly off the mark.'' (The link is to a story by Eric Schmitt, 2/28/03, New York Times.)

We all need to remember that, in the planning before the war, Mr. Bush once listened to politicians rather than to generals. We need to remember on our own; Mr. Bush seems reluctant to remember.

General Petraeus, the man who summons your name in his own defense is a politician.


Trust, but verify.

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The courage of your conviction virtually demands your name, if we don't know you.