rare to see the New York Times carry
an opinion article as disastrously bad as the one about
David Petraeus by Lucian K. Truscott IV that ran yesterday. Some articles
contain a mistake or two, but this entire thing is a mistake. Truscott is free
to be a fool, but here he makes the Times
look foolish. You have to wonder what the editors were thinking.
unknowingly displays his ignorance when he mocks Petraeus' beribboned uniform,
admonishing that, "I would propose that every moment a
general spends on his uniform jacket is a moment he's not doing his job, which
is supposed to be leading soldiers in combat and winning wars." He contrasts Petraeus with the men who won World
Truscott IV doesn't seem to know is that some fine World War II generals, including
one Lucian K. Truscott Jr., were much more into natty military tailoring than
Petraeus ever has been. As Rick Atkinson, who unlike LKT IV, actually knows a
lot about World War II, once wrote, "In
uniform, Truscott was almost foppish: enameled helmet, silk scarf, red leather
jacket, riding breeches." I would propose that LKT IV owes Petraeus an apology.
(Grandpa's leather jacket clashed with his yellow silk scarf, by the way.)
wait, it gets worse. Truscott on the Iraq war is positively bizarre. He says it
wasn't a "real war" at all. I wonder if he travelled to Iraq at all in 2006-07,
when things got really interesting in Baghdad. He also accuses Petraeus of
prolonging the war in Iraq, which is wrong-headed because Petraeus' handling of
the war in 2007-08 set the stage for the U.S. military to withdraw from the
country. These are Truscott's words: "Think
of how many tens of thousands of lives could have been saved by ending those
conflicts much earlier and sending Dave and his merry band of Doonesbury
generals to the showers."
Is it possible to retract an op-ed?