After Petraeus

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Fred Kaplan, War Stories columnist for Slate, talks about his new book, The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War, and the president’s choices for his second-term national security team.

→ EVENT: Fred Kaplan will be reading from The Insurgents at the UWS Barnes & Noble on Jan. 15 at 7PM.


Fred Kaplan

Comments [31]

Noach in Brooklyn

Absolutely incredible how both Brian Lehrer as well as Fred Kaplan completely glossed over the serious concerns and criticisms that have been raised regarding Brennan's record on civil liberties, human rights, etc.

I don't know which is more disturbing:
a) This reprehensible abuse of the public airwaves, _itself_ (on a publically-funded station, no less)
b) The complete absence of any mention of said abuse in the comments on this page

Jan. 11 2013 12:31 AM
Noach in Brooklyn

Just a followup to my previous comment on Gen. Petraeus:

There is at least one aspect of the General's private indiscretions that would seem quite relevant to the _public_: The lack of prudent judgment that they show; the incredible disregard for some of the most basic precautions and sound practices with regard to sensitive communications that _anyone_ should know to follow, let alone a _general_.

Jan. 09 2013 07:56 PM

jgarbuz from Queens
yes the constitution says you can act silly
yes the constitution says i can make fun of silly people

Jan. 09 2013 12:59 PM
Noach in Brooklyn

@ Bob (11:15 a.m.):

I agree that the personal indiscretions of Gen. Petraeus (which should remain between him, his family and G-d) are a diversion from the real issues of concern to the country and the world.

But your vulgarity was gratuitous and hardly elevates the discourse (such as there is...).

@ the comments on religion, etc.:

Such discussion is completely off-topic here.

I identified myself as a non-Zionist Orthodox Jew only because said identity was clearly relevant to the comments I went on to make.

Incredible how people take that as an invitation to start offering their views and feelings on religion -- no matter how far-removed from and completely irrelevant to the topic at hand.

Jan. 09 2013 12:28 PM
Louis from Jersey Shore

There has not been a war in my lifetime that was worth one life and there has never been a General that couldn't find a reason to fight a war.

Jan. 09 2013 12:05 PM
April from Manhattan

First, it seems to me generals are getting uppity. We've never had a military dictatorship, though one tried to claim the presidency when Nixon was impeached and waved bye bye. The military should keep its mouth shut and do what the commander in chief tells them to do, WITH congressional advice and consent, a long forgotten practice. REQUIRED READING: A book sent to me by a cousin who was Army counter intelligence after WWII, and got his wife out of East Germany: "Violent Politics" by William Polk. Its thesis is simple. Counterinsurgencies have one thing in common: they fail. Unless you're on your own turf, as we were during our revolutionary war. Polk deals with Brits in Afghanistan the first time, French and US in Vietnam, Mau Mau rebellion, Brits in Ireland, difficult because they were so dug in. Read it. Get William Polk on the show. Iraq was put together by a British woman. Sunni, Shiite, Kurds in one state. As smart as Belgium creating Rwanda with Tutsi and Hutu. That there's sectarian violence now should be no surprise. Nor should have been predicting it before W invaded. He didn't want to know and perhaps no one thought of it. Did you hear LBJ's phone calls to Rs and Ds before Vietnam, on Bill Moyers, who was his press secretary. The recording are significant in that no one says it's a good idea to invade. All say we'll lose. Many Americans and Vietnamese will be killed. But there's a political necessity to do so. Why ? The guy who was just on, said if we'd done what we did in Vietnam, kill more, we'd win Afghanistan. I heard the same during the Vietnam war. If only we could use nukes. Perhaps Hagel's appointment STOP the inevitability of American Presidents going to war. In which case, right on!!! Another thing, TV, please stop warning we may see something uncomfortable. Remember the naked napalmed girl running down the road. Horrific. And helped stop the war we were going to lose anyway. Talk about a dramatic defeat!!! And we hauled our selves to DC to protest. Why not now? I heard that a NY Times reporter chained himself with others to protest Afghanistan. Was he fired? I don't know. How many protesters we never hear about? How many use clicktivism, a word I created for activism online which may have an impact when one signs a petition. Not the same as filling the DC mall creating traffic jams in Washington is a great way to get your point across.

Jan. 09 2013 12:02 PM
John A

My synthesis of these comments: America is meaningless if it can't find its morals - fast.

Jan. 09 2013 11:58 AM
Noach in Brooklyn


"This segment is about Patraeus, not about Hagel."

Please look at the synopsis at the _top_ of this very page, which reads,

"Fred Kaplan, War Stories columnist for Slate, talks about his new book, The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War, and the president’s choices for his second-term national security team."

In case you missed the relevant part, here it is again, highlighted:


I note that the very first comment posted to this page, by "Martin Chuzzlewit", was entirely about Hagel. Yet, for some reason, you did not see fit to single Mr. Chuzzlewit out for rebuke (much less gratutious insult) the way you did for me. I wonder why.

Jan. 09 2013 11:58 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To hjs

Life and the whole universe is random, pointless and meaningless, so what? Everything is a meaningless, pointless delusion. But different people deal with it in different ways, and that is their right under our constitution.

Jan. 09 2013 11:50 AM

u are SO right "there is no point to Judaism," or any myth/religion for matter!

Jan. 09 2013 11:45 AM

"Leftists always believe..." doesn't matter what you follow that with it's gonna be entirely wrong. "Leftists" can't even agree on the time of day, so they don't "always" anything. You've got to find a better way to make your point than by lumping all people together. It comes off as incredibly shallow.

Jan. 09 2013 11:44 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Kaplan just revealed his true colors by saying "the war WE have waged against THEM!" That more or less sums up the argument of the extreme Left. We, America, are the warmongers. The poor Fascists, Communists, Islamofascists are just innocents we attack for no good reason.
America to them is the "Evil One," the "Great Satan." Why doesn't he go work for Iran's mouthpiece PRESS TV?

Jan. 09 2013 11:42 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Thank God for the UAV drones which allow us to terrorize and kill the enemy, but Leftists hate anything that allows us to kill and defeat our enemies. But that has ALWAYS been true for the Left, because they have always seen America as the main threat to the world, ever since Karl Marx. So what's new here? The unfortunate point of war is to defeat and destroy enemies and not play tiddly winks with them.
But since Leftists always believe that America is the cause of all war, naturally they oppose anything that might help America actually win and survive.

Jan. 09 2013 11:38 AM
Noach in Brooklyn

Is mention of the British paper The G u a r d i a n or the URL for its web site somehow blacklisted here?

Or perhaps its the columnist Glenn G r e e n w a l d ?

Because I've tried twice now to post a link to a piece by the aforementioned author on Petraeus and it seems to just vanish into the ether.

Jan. 09 2013 11:36 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan,
How to do “ conservatives” proposes having a large military in face of economic decline?
Who is going to pay for it, a poor starved population?

Jan. 09 2013 11:34 AM
John A

Did Kaplan just say that killing 10 accidentally is worse than "getting" 50? Because in our Drone program, that 10 is now around 350. Yes, please talk of Brennan.

Jan. 09 2013 11:31 AM
Tom Pinch

"Hagel Will Bring ‘Huge Cuts’ to the Military-"

Oh please, let's hope and pray he does. We're not fighting 2 wars anylonger. If not now, when? Less military IS smaller government!

Jan. 09 2013 11:30 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

YES, please address little barry obama as "President"....just to keep up pretenses. (But he DOES play one on TV)

Jan. 09 2013 11:28 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Both military and political leadership, in the United States, is base on careerism. Whatever it takes to further careers. Polices and consequence be damned.
What are the results of these two wars? Middle East and Central Asia in shambles, and
the United States in a huge financial economic decline.

Jan. 09 2013 11:28 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

"Martin" is listening to too much Krauthammer as usual, with this Chinese hysteria.

China finally got its first air-craft carrier recently - an old soviet relic, ad hoc(ly) retro fitted, just to be somewhat relevant.

So-called conservatives have to make their mind up on what America's biggest threat is. Is it the debt or is it the "evil world"

Jan. 09 2013 11:24 AM
The Truth from Becky

That's President Obama - kaplan

Jan. 09 2013 11:21 AM
jgarbuz from Queens


This segment is about Patraeus, not about Hagel.
Joel Teitelbaum has clearly mixed up your brain.

Jan. 09 2013 11:20 AM


"Just to pray all day for nothing."

Pretty much sums up the entire middle east.

Jan. 09 2013 11:19 AM

Oh please jargarbuz. No one seriously cares who Petraus put his penis into except the dumb media. This guy is a warmonger and wanted to prolong the killing in the middle east.

Jan. 09 2013 11:15 AM
Pam from NY

If the proverbial danger of an extramarital affair is the risk of blackmail, why did his well-known affair cost him his career?

Jan. 09 2013 11:15 AM
Noach in Brooklyn from Outside the Oligarchy

Interesting piece by Phyllis Bennis, highly apropos to much of the discussion on Hagel and the larger issues (and to many of the comments that have been left on the page for the yesterday's segment on Hagel):

Will Chuck Hagel's Appointment Actually Help the Anti-War Left?

"Pro-Israel forces are outraged that President Obama might appoint someone who once had the temerity to warn that the lobby “intimidates a lot of people” in Washington. [...]
it’s a significant exposé of the perceived power of the lobby, enough that AIPAC, the lobby’s most authoritative component, pulled back from criticizing Hagel as soon as the nomination was final, leaving the most extremist components, such as the Emergency Committee for Israel, to continue the attacks."

Bennis's conclusion:
"Whatever else he is, Chuck Hagel is no leftist. Standing to the left of President Obama’s center-right military policy is not a very high bar. But again—standing up to AIPAC, the defense industry (and members of Congress accountable to them) and the still-powerful neocons makes the Hagel appointment a good move for Obama. And it gives the rest of us a basis to push much farther to end the wars, to close the bases, to cut the Pentagon funding, to tax the military profiteers."

Jan. 09 2013 11:15 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I see people are dumping on Patraeus already. Tsk, tsk, but that is the price of a rising star who lets himself be brought down by an insipid little affair! Too bad.

As sidenote to Noach

I am a non-Orthodox Zionist Jew who sees no point in "Judaism" without a Jewish state. Abraham and Moses left the lands they were born in to go to a Promised land. Without the Jewish homeland, the Jewish "religion" is pointless and makes no sense at all. Just to pray all day for nothing.

Jan. 09 2013 11:10 AM

i love it when your golden boys fall from grace

Jan. 09 2013 11:09 AM

Wow. Petraus lied to the elected President of the United States to keep the war going? Hmm.. Surely there is some kind of law or rule the general violated. When will he be hauled off to prison?

Jan. 09 2013 11:04 AM
Noach in Brooklyn

As a NON-Zionist Orthodox Jew, I find the attacks on Mr. Hagel from the AIPAC crowd ("the usual suspects") not only without merit but downright ugly.

Such attacks are based on the premise that any departure whatsoever from the intransigent, rejectionist, _reflexive_ positions of the prevailing Israel [1] lobby somehow equates to "hostility toward Israel" or even "antiSemitism". Yet many _Jews_ (of all types, from the most devout to the most secular/irreligious) and even _Israelis_ (many, if not _most_, of whom consider themselves Zionist) depart from the AIPAC-type party-line orthodoxy.

Senator Charles Hagel was actually one of my write-ins when voting in 2010, primarily because of his outspoken dissent on the Iraq war. (The other was Hagel's conservatism on certain key cultural issues, as it aligns considerably with my own traditionalism.) In defying his own party, Mr. Hagel demonstrated courage and independence[2]. And his opposition to a policy that has long since been thoroughly discredited and only becomes more so with time, can only vindicate him.

I find Mr. Hagel's _detractors_ and _attackers_ to have far more to answer for than Mr. Hagel.

[1]Or, more correctly, _Zionist State_ of Israel.

This may seem like petty pedantry but the distinction between, on the one hand, _the Jewish people_ (the _true_ meaning of the word "Israel") and the religion/philosphy of _Judaism_, and, on the other, the _Zionist_, _secular_ state that calls itself "Israel", is by no means trivial. And it is a distinction deliberately blurred by Zionists.

[2] There are actually a number of _conservatives_ as well as Republicans who oppose these endless wars of aggression and empire. Andrew Bacevich (who has been a guest on this very show) is another example. And there are any number of others I could cite-- all of which refute what pro-war propagandists would have you believe: that taking an antiwar position is somehow "anti-American" or inherently _leftist_.

Jan. 09 2013 08:57 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Hagel Will Bring ‘Huge Cuts’ to the Military-

In yesterday’s New York Times, David Brooks argues persuasively that Chuck Hagel has been nominated to help Barack Obama dramatically cut defense spending.

“How, in short, will Hagel supervise the beginning of America’s military decline? If members of Congress don’t want America to decline militarily, well, they have no one to blame but the voters and themselves.”

Even the thoughtless lefty rabble that comprises this listening audience can’t want a world in which China and the bullies of Beijing are the top dogs.
You won’t like it.

Jan. 09 2013 08:35 AM

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