Today on CNN’s State of the Union program, Centcom Commander Gen. David Petraeus disagreed with former vice president Dick Cheney’s statement that President Obama’s national security policy has made the US safe and more vulnerable to a terrorist attack. Petraeus also came out against the Bush torture policy.
Host John King asked Petraeus if he agreed with Cheney’s view of Obama’s national security policy. Petraeus said, “Well, I wouldn’t necessarily agree with that, John. I think that, in fact, there is a good debate going on about the importance of values in all that we do. I think that, if one violates the values that we hold so dear, that we jeopardize — well, in fact, I put out a memorandum to the soldiers in the Multinational Force-Iraq, when I was the commander, because of concern that we may not be taking some of these seriously enough. As you know, the field manual came out, from the Army, that is used by all of the different services that completely, clearly outlaws torture. So we think for the military, in particular, that can’t — that’s a line that can’t be crossed.”
Cheney has defended the torture policy as essential, but Petraeus disagrees. This is the same Dick Cheney that praised Gen. Petraeus as a man of candor and integrity after Moveon.org ran the infamous General Betray us ad. In September 2007 Cheney said of Petraeus while speaking in Kansas City that he admired the, “integrity and candor that Gen. Petraeus showed in his hearings before Congress,” and he added that “the attacks on him by MoveOn.org in ad space provided at subsidized rates in the New York Times last week were an outrage.”
The Bush administration used Petraeus to buy time and political cover for their Iraq policy, but Petraeus’s own methodology is much closer to the Obama policy that it is to Bush/Cheney. It does seem as if Cheney has become the deposed ruler grumbling in exile across the Potomac River. Petraeus is correct to disagree with Cheney’s statements. When Petraeus talks about perceptions, and reinforcing American values, this is something Bush and Cheney never cared for. They thought that military might was all that matter, and this view had disastrous results for the country.