Friday, March 26, 2010

Petraeus Clarifies

General Petraeus called Gabi Ashkenazi, his Israeli counterpart, to deny the reports of his blaming Israel or Israeli policies for endangering Americans.
"But I think people inferred from what that said and then repeated it a couple of times and bloggers picked it up and spun it," he added. "And I think that has been unhelpful, frankly."

Petraeus was referring to blogging activity surrounding his comments on Israel, and apparently it was important for the general not to be seen as hostile to Israel, for Israeli consumption but also for the American public.

The two decisions Petraeus made, to call Ashkenazi and publicize the conversation, are important. CENTCOM is responsible for all the Arab states east of Egypt, and tends to shy away from making public its contacts with the IDF. Petraeus told the press that he did not seek to bring the West Bank and the Gaza Strip into the realm of CENTCOM responsibility, as they, along with Israel, fall under the responsibility of the European Command.
Hmmm. Bloggers.Who might he have in mind, do you think?


Anonymous said...


Avigdor said...

Stephen Walt, Andrew Sullivan, Juan Cole...

The problem is that those who wish to believe won't now trust the general. They'll write that the Zionist lobby forced him to retract his comments.

Womble said...

I belive that misinterpretation first began at the Foreign Policy blog:

Womble said...

Sylvia said...

Does it matter that Peatreus clarified after this fabrication has made the round for a week?
The harm is done.

As it is done daily and repeatedly by Israeli newspaper Haaretz English edition. An IDF officer and a soldier were killed by Paqlestiniaqns in Gaza who were trying to set explosives near the border fence. Haaretz has the article on that in its Hebrew online3 edition. As of this minute, the article on its English internet edition says that two Palestinians were killed by the IDF according to Palestinian news agencies.

Sylvia said...

Sorry for the typos.

Well, it finally sank in: an Israeli minister actually came out and said it on TV: the Americans have changed their policy toward Israel, i.e. they do not support Israel anymore.We could have told them that already in July of 2008.
The Arab League neeting in Lybia has reached the same conclusion: the break between Israel and the US administration is real, and so it is better for the Arab side to let Washington do the work.
And we are told from the Palestinian Aauthority in Ramallah that Obama reported to Mahymoud Abbas on the outcome of the Netanyahu meetings in Washington adding that if there is no freeze of settlements (a loaded word with means different things to different people) there will be no "proximity talks."

There is more and more the feeling among the reporters who went to Washington that the whole "affront" affair was a carefully planned trap.

Well, I guess this means facing a nuclear Iran all alone.

Anonymous said...

US European Command is led by a Navy man
- so maybe it was just an Army man trying to get it all while the Anti-Israel vibes from the White House seemed to be favourable.
and it wasn't only those "ignorant" bloggers
- there were quotes in the London Times and at Max Boot who does his job according to Petraeus "pretty astutely". Reading it with the dirty mind I used to apply to CEO-communications Petraeus said what the London Times said he said - but maybe he just misspoke, didn't mean it etc. etc.

Anonymous said...


even though the piece failed to fully answer my questiongs re Syria it showed me that my discomfort with both, the apologists and the accusers, in my own country's media is well founded.
... and here is a teaser

"The alternatives are to help the conservatives or--through neutrality, concessions, or a foolish engagement with extremists--to help the radical regimes spread their influence and revolutionaries to seize power."-

Shaun Baker said...

The FP blog that started all this claptrap was posted by Mark Perry, a former Arafat and present Hamas and Hezbollah advisor. He has written for Counterpunch, for goodness sakes.

Caveat Emptor, to say the least.

Anonymous said...

I for one am referring to Max Boot's Petraeus quotes at Commentary's Contentions who according to Petraeus

"the “blog by Max Boot” which, he (Petraeus) said, had “picked apart this whole thing, as he typically does, pretty astutely.”"

As the picking apart was done astutely according to Petraeus himself I feel entitled to assuming that the original quotes are correct.

The London Times incidentally had the same Petraeus-quotes Max Boot had - so the more often I read some bad guy at FP did it and that I am a gullible stupid somebody the more I guess I am supposed to swallow smoke including the screen


4infidels said...

Petraeus wrote it. He meant it. He never retracted it. And Sec. Def. Gates reiterated it even as he tried to downplay it.

What he didn't attend, perhaps, is that Israel's enemies would feature his comments about Israel as though that was the most important thing--and only thing worth noting--that he related to Congress.

But the statements from Petraeus hit the news around the same time that Obama was treating Bibi like Israel was an albatross and an embarrassment to otherwise decent and good Americans.

So Petraeus had to back away from the comments, claim he was quoted out of context and send his media admirers to his defense. Why? Because at the end of the day, more American lives would be placed in jeopardy in the Middle East by a lack of Israeli intelligence and other assistance than by American support for Israel. So at a time when Israel is taking a public beating from the U.S., Petraeus thought he better assure the IDF chief of staff that we don't blame you, lest some in the Israeli military and intelligence services wonder how forthcoming and generous they should continue to be with intelligence and military advice, if the American administration appears not only to be keeping Israel's contributions quiet so as not to anger the Arabs and Muslims it courts, but openly pissing on Israel as though the alliance between the U.S. and Israel was strictly a one-way affair, and of no benefit whatsoever to the U.S.

Anonymous said...

It is not only the intelligence
- those on the ground know that simulations aren't up to the actual stuff:

Rhonda Cornum, now in charge of dealing with PTSD it in the US-army, wrote a book about her POW-time in Iraq in 1991

in it she says she is great friends with your then Apache Unit commander Moshe Cohen (and includes a photo of it)

She tells that in 1990/1991 while on a base in Saudi-Arabia she couldn't correspond (it was still dead tree letter time) with Moshe directly because the Saudis didn't allow letters to be directly mailed to or from Israel - so she forwarded her letters via the US and Moshe did likewise. She wrote to him besides being friends because he was

a soldier from a country where "people know first hand about fighting in the desert"