For Petraeus, Bush’s favoured general, it’s a jungle in Washington!
Although General David Petraeus remains an important player, supervising Afghanistan and Iraq for the Obama administration, he is no longer the military flavour of the month. But his shift from the centre of attention just feeds Washington speculation that he’s contemplating a run for the presidency in 2012. But, as Petraeus has pulled back from the rough and tumble of debate on US involvement in Afghanistan, this speculation gives the military one less powerful voice supporting additional troops in Afghanistan. And this very speculation that he might be a good candidate makes the Obama team increasingly wary. However, Petraeus’s advisors say he has stepped back because Obama has picked his own public face for the war in Stanley McChrystal. McChrystal, meanwhile, vigorously took centre stage in his interview on “60 Minutes,” gave a widely reported speech in London rejecting lessening the war effort , and was then called to meet with Obama while both were in Europe. McChrystal’s technicolour public presence led General James Jones, Obama’s national security advisor, to remonstrate on CNN: “Ideally, it’s better for military advice to come up through the chain of command.” Washington can be a very different and dangerous battlefield.