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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
September 21, 2023

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Can’t touch Petraeus

David Harnish’s column on Sept. 21 managed to further misrepresent Gen. David Petraeus, which was what he apparently was upset about in the first place [“Of course Petraeus would say what he did”] . Harnish’s credentials, as published on the College of Music’s Web site, while impressive, show that Harnish has had no sort of education that would lead anyone to believe that he can speak as an authority on this matter.

Harnish’s first point was that the only reason that Petraeus was serving as the commander of multinational forces in Iraq was because he was the last remaining choice of three generals considered for the position. This greatly devalues the contributions that Petraeus has made to both his country and more specifically, to the type of warfare that is being currently fought in Iraq.

Furthermore, Petraeus has qualifications far beyond being the last in line for the job that make him the best choice for his current position. Beyond his being a general, Petraeus has MPA and Ph.D. degrees in international relations from Princeton. He also was recognized in 2005 by US News and World Report as one of America’s top 25 leaders. He in no small way contributed to writing the book on how to fight an insurgent based war during his time as commander of the 101st Airborne Division, and his doctrine has been responsible for many of the successes that our military has seen in Iraq in the past two years.

Another fallacy in Harnish’s article is that he makes the incorrect assumption that Petraeus is a member of the Bush administration. Members of the military, from the lowest enlisted man, all the way to the highest ranking generals do serve the president, but the military is a non-political entity. Petraeus as a soldier swore an oath to serve the president, whoever that may be, and in his career, has served under many presidents. It would be easier to argue that he were a member of the presidential administration if he was a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but he is not.

Harnish’s viewpoints appear to be impassioned, as someone who is weary of this war. Thus, I am left wondering if Harnish simply took the opportunity to lash out at a situation that he is angry about and doesn’t understand, and based upon his credentials cannot be expected to understand.

Andrew Hasher is a senior majoring in criminal justice. Send responses to his column to [email protected].

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