September 9th, 2007
11:53 AM ET
15 years ago

Questions on Petraeus credibility before report

Petraeus is to deliver a report on the progress of the troop 'surge' in Iraq this week.

(CNN)–With the long awaited Iraq progress report set to be delivered this week to Congress by General David Petraeus, and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, the Sunday morning political talk shows were full of debate about what the report may ultimately say.

On Monday, the liberal advocacy group, is set to publish an ad in the New York Times that claims Petraeus is not giving an objective, independent view of the situation on the ground. The ad says 'General Petraeus or General Betray us? Cooking the books for the White House."

On ABC's 'This Week,' moderator George Stephanopoulos, asked GOP presidential hopeful John McCain what he thought about the attacks on Petraeus' credibility. "I know this man, and many people know this general. He's not going to allow politicization of the dedication and service that not only he is providing, but the brave young men and women under his command."

"He served his country with honor and distinction," the Senator from Arizona said, "and if we have to sink to that level to besmirch the reputation of a very fine and wonderful American, then I lament the level of dialogue. I hope that my Democrat friends will not be guided by"

Over on 'Fox News Sunday,' moderator Chris Wallace asked Senator Dianne Feinstein about recent attacks on Petraeus' credibility. "Well, I don't think General Petraeus has an independent view in that sense," the Democrat from California said. "General Petraeus is there to succeed. He may say the progress is uneven. He may say it's substantial."

"I don't know what he will say," Feinstein said. "You can be sure we'll listen to it. But I don't think he's an independent evaluator."

Petraeus, the top American military commander in Iraq, will deliver a progress report, written by the White House, to Congress this week. Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador, will deliver his assessment on political progress there.

- CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford

Filed under: Congress • Iraq • John McCain •
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. David, Encinitas, CA

    Hmm. Where have we seen a military officer (or ex) deliver a White House version of facts? Can you say Colin Powell? Kind of removes all credibility, regardless of the truth of the report.

    September 9, 2007 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  2. sonny c. v.p.,la.

    We should all become bedazzled by flags & religious symbols being displayed before us by our leaders & not question the wisdom of any of their decisions. The word of hand picked general should especially go unquestioned;doing so only insults his character,emboldens the enemy & demoralizes the troops. What would the Greek philosophers or Founding Fathers think of us if they could see us now.

    September 9, 2007 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  3. Seekster, Arlington, TX

    To suggest that a good man and General like Patraeus would be politically motivated is absurd! He doest have to get elected so he gets nothing from slanting the report. Its funny that of all things is calling Patraeus biased.

    September 9, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  4. Matt, Manchester, CT

    Hey Seekster from Texas – I thought perhaps it was clear that the only generals who could give unbiased reports were ones appointed to positions by Democratic administrations! That's perfectly logical, right?

    September 9, 2007 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  5. ThirstyJon, Freedomville, Illinois

    It is clear that some in the anti-war movement will not ever accept even the possibility of good news or progress. They need the news to be bad in order to achieve their agenda.


    September 9, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  6. Sobe Eaton, Madison WI

    It's becoming clear that General Petraeus represents the military wing of the Republican Party.

    September 9, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  7. fedupwithourgov't

    Remember Colin Powell!

    That's enough for me to question Petraeus's credibility!

    September 9, 2007 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  8. Jesse Pittsburgh, PA

    Mr. Seekster, from Texas... "politically motivated"... not sure, but we can be sure as Rep Tom Davis (R) said the report will be tweeked by the white house. The best review of the current Iraq status is the GAO Report issued. 3 out of 18 "benchmarks" met and 4 more partially met after billions spent. News flash for Republicans... Osama Bin Laden is in Afghanistan or Pakistan, not Iraq. Redeploy and strike hard in Afghan. This is easily the dumest and worst mistake a president has ever made. Political progress is the key... and there hasn't been any, we are a "free rent" army for the Iraqi government.

    September 9, 2007 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  9. Monee, Philadelphia, PA

    Maybe the Democrats who voted for Petraeus unanimously can tell us why we should believe them when they say he's partisan. Why didn't they vote against him?

    September 9, 2007 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  10. Jack Jett

    General Betrayus will be out of a gig when this war is up. The longer the war, the higher his popularity and book and speaking fees will be. You can rest assured that is what this report will be based on.

    Just read what Bush has to say about leaving office. Nothing in his thoughts about working to help those whose lives he destryoyed. Just speeches and books.....from a man who can not speak..or write.

    Jack Jett
    Chaotic Modulation

    September 9, 2007 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  11. Jack, Jacksonville, FL 32207

    I agree with Di Fi. If the White House is writing the report and Petraeus is just presenting it, how can that be his independent judgement?

    September 9, 2007 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  12. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    A quick review of the last 6 years reveals that Bush lets go all military experts and generals who do not parrot his views, such as the career general who advised against a "lean" invasion force but instead 500,000 troops if Bush's goal was "nation building"...after his report of that to Congress before the war he was forced into retirement. Bush cares little for pesky reality, only his own petty ego and limited vision behind his napoleonic ambitions. Had he served honorably in Vietnam, he might actually have some empathy for our armed services and that troublesome little matter called "truth and facts". This war began with his lies and personal issues and it continues that way....Patraeus tell a truth starkly different than that which Bush deludes himself into believing is "real"? Yeah, right!

    September 9, 2007 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |


    September 9, 2007 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  14. Ivan, Chicago, Illinois

    Did not General Petraeus admit that the war can not be won militarly but only politically, and we do not have the troops to keep this surge going past spring of 2008. If that is true and since there has been no meaningful real political progress why are we sacrificing American soldiers for a doomed plan? When we will have to start redrawing our soldiers from Iraq and the violence returns what then? Just remember without republican votes to stop filibusters and overriding presidential vetos Bush can have his way. The Pentagon from their game planning of an Iraqi invasion knew you needed 500,000 soldiers yet the one General that spoke up was let go. All the other generals shut their mouths to save their jobs. Independent assessments differ with General Patraeus and Bush. I will believe them before Bush. General Patraeus seems to forgotten he works for the American People not President Bush.

    September 9, 2007 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  15. The Old Lion

    Anyone remember as “they stand up, we will stand down”?

    At one time we were supposed to have several brigades ready to stand up, several brigades that was near ready to stand up and eventually we found this was not anywhere near the truth.

    The general who was in charge of training and who said this was General Petraeus.

    Anyone think this report will be any more truthful?

    September 9, 2007 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  16. Howard Masur Chicago, Illinois

    General Petraeus published an article in October, 2004 claiming great progress in the war in Iraq. That report was wildly inaccurate. Just because he is wearing a uniform does not mean we should not question his credibility. He is evaluating his own strategy and his own war plans. Why should we assume he is being objective?

    September 9, 2007 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  17. Matt, Paris, Illinois

    When the report he is giving isn't even written by him, but rather by the White House, with its long history of distorting facts to suit their agenda, that concerns me.

    I have absolute faith in Gen. Petraeus, but as someone else said, he wouldn't be the first person that this Bush administration fed a line of crap in order to mislead others.

    Today, George W. Bush has zero credibility with his own country, so he's trying to borrow some from a great mean like David Petraeus.

    September 9, 2007 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  18. RB, from the Bay State

    Just the fact that Petraeus and Crocker are going to do an exclusuve hour-long special with Britt Hume on Faux Snooze Monday after the report is given should tell you something. This lovefest ought to be something.

    And how long after Petraeus ceases to be useful to the Bush White House does he become a Faux correspondent?

    September 9, 2007 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  19. Change in 08-Colorado

    General Petraeus should be given the opportunity to give his report without politcal interference from those who want an immediate withdrawl.

    September 9, 2007 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  20. Randy Hurst San Francisco, California 94121

    I think McCain was talking about John Kerry (confused again). When you open the Book of Bush, pop-up figures like Colin Powell appear. This is just another sorry effort to mask the evil being inflicted on innocent people for oil.

    September 9, 2007 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |

    Come on folks, exactly when has anything been factual or accurate that has ever come out of this white house?

    September 9, 2007 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  22. Cary - Lowell. IN

    I think if this war WAS about oil, we would have carpet-bombed the place many years ago.

    September 9, 2007 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  23. susan

    Patraeus has a history of lying about the "progress" in Iraq. Read all about it:

    September 9, 2007 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  24. curtis

    If the General wants to be believed or taken seriously, he MUST prove that he is independent of the White House. Unfortunately for him, he has towed the Bush line all the way so far. He'll say a few things aren't moving forward as fast they'd like but he will cite NO FAILURES, when most everythign is a proven failure.

    September 9, 2007 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
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