- BD: In Afghanistan, is it time for something like a "night of the long knives" where we simply give President Karzai a list of his officials with whom we no longer will deal or fund in any form?
GP: I'll avoid that minefield; however, I would observe that situations in places like Afghanistan and Iraq are seldom as straight forward or as black and white as they sometimes appear to be in news stories. Rather, they tend to be very complex and in varying shades of gray...
Spew: Obviously, he would duck this, but I like how Ricks asked the question. In the follow up, Petraeus then says that he and Holbrooke will be headed to Kabul to review the strategic concept with McChrystal and others. Perhaps that review might suggest re-thinking the partner.
BD: Speaking of President Obama, how is it different dealing with him than when he was a senator?
GP: At the risk of stating the obvious, he's the commander in chief now. Beyond that, he's still as focused and engaged as ever, he doesn't shrink from making tough calls, and he and the First Lady are genuinely concerned about our troopers and their families.
Spew: But what else is the guy going to say?
BD: You keep on saying you are not running for president. Why do you think people seem to believe you are?
GP: Beats me. I've been as categorical as one could be.
Spew: Given that Petraeus is either a Democrat or a moderate Republican, there is place for him to run. The Republican Party is too crazy now for a reality-based kind of guy. Plus his personality may be, hmm, how do I say it, a tad uptight for running for office. And he may be self-aware enough to know of his limitations. And perhaps the job does not interest him. There are still a few spots left for him within the military (Chairman, SACEUR, Army Chief of Staff) as well as other positions (SecDef if Gates retires, NSC after Jones takes off) plus he could go back to teaching anywhere. Being president is not always the best or most desired job. On the other hand, he is reading books about U.S. Grant and what a great President he might have been. Hmmmmn.
Oh, and he liked Blind Side, so perhaps he is a Republican after all?