Tactics And Strategy

Judah Grunstein questions Petraeus’s credentials:

I’m surprised that, so far, no one’s had the temerity to point out that compared to his CENTCOM predecessors, Gen. Petraeus’ credentials are underwhelming for such a strategically vital regional command. Admiral Fallon’s prior regional command experience was too deep to count. Gen. Abizaid did prior staff tours in the Office of the Army Chief of Staff, the Southern European Task Force, and the U.S. Army Europe HQ. Gen. Franks commanded the 3rd Army for three years prior to taking over CENTCOM, and Gen. Zinni was CENTCOM Deputy C-i-C for nine months before assuming the top spot.

The bulk of Petraeus’ experience, meanwhile, has been in operations and training (which is what you’d expect for someone who has demonstrated such tactical brilliance). Challenging as it is, Commander MNF-I is his broadest command to date. Now it could be that Petraeus is, in addition to being a tactical genius, a strategic genius as well. But a case could be made for the argument that, in leapfrogging Adm. Fallon through his personal relationship with President Bush, Petraeus has essentially served as de facto Commander of CENTCOM for the past year and a half. And in that time he has put the Iraq theater ahead of our broader regional interests, and according to many, ahead of the health of the Army.