Did O and the White House Snub Petraeus?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Quigley_Sharps, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Did the White House Snub Petraeus?

    Despite their accolades, few senior Obama administration officials found the time to attend General David Petraeus's retirement ceremony. John Barry explains how Petraeus will see their absence.

    The Obama administration has hailed Gen. David Petraeus as one of history’s greatest military strategists, whose stewardship of two difficult, prolonged wars won bipartisan praise. But when it came to his military retirement ceremony last week, few of the political brass could find the time to attend.

    President Barack Obama was in town, but didn’t show up. He chose to make a personal call to express his gratitude to Petraeus after 37 years of military service. But a call is not the same as attendance.

    Gen. Davis Petraeus participates in an armed forces farewell tribute and retirement ceremony at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Va., Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2011., Susan Walsh / AP Photo

    No Joe Biden, either, even though ceremonies are the usual fare for vice presidents. Not even Petraeus’ civilian boss and soon-to-be fellow Cabinet colleague, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, made it. (A Pentagon spokesman explained Panetta was on a long-planned trip.) A quick scan of the nearly 1,000 people in the audience made clear that senators, congressmen and foreign diplomats far outnumbered Obama aides. In fact, the highest-ranking civilian in attendance was Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn.

    It was a far cry from the sendoff for Gen. Colin Powell in a 1993 ceremony that drew two presidents and the defense Secretary. So was it a snub?

    Petraeus isn’t likely to think so. After all, he didn’t need all the fuss, since he’s going right back to work for Obama in his new job as CIA director. And it was the last week in August, just before the Labor Day holiday, when many Washingtonians were away.

    Still, the meager political turnout was a not-so-subtle reminder that this White House has had its suspicions about Petraeus, even as it relied on him to take on the Iraq War, and then Afghanistan. Some worried Petraeus might run in 2012 for president, a fear he worked to allay. Early in the administration, he assured Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s then chief of staff, that he had no political ambitions.

    Perhaps then, the White House just had a bad week of etiquette. After all, it also scheduled Obama’s big job speech the same night as the big GOP presidential debate at Ronald Reagan’s library, a move that infuriated Republicans and forced the president to reschedule.

    Whatever the case, presidential aides did their best to put a happy spin on the Petraeus farewell. Obama had phoned the general to congratulate him on “an historic career of service” and “extraordinary contributions to our national security in Iraq and Afghanistan,” the White House trumpeted in a press release.

    Petraeus seemed to revel in the ceremony on a cloudless Wednesday morning at Northern Virginia’s Fort Myers installation, just across a gleaming Potomac from Washington. Close to 1,000 guests fanned their programs in the summer heat: family and friends; alumni from Petraeus’s West Point class of ’74; comrades from the divisions he had served in; the current chiefs of staff; and a corps of retired generals who’d been his commanders or mentors.

    On the great lawn at the heart of Fort Myers, the 17-gun salute Petraeus warranted as a four-star general thumped across the field to herald the band, the colors, the parade. Afterward, a line of people queued around the block to shake hands with Petraeus and his wife Holly at a reception in the officers’ club.

    Few dispute that Petraeus helped rescue the American effort in Iraq from looming defeat. He then stepped in to take command in Afghanistan when Gen. Stanley McChrystal was felled by the indiscreet remarks of his staff in a Paris bar.

    When Obama, at a hasty one-on-one in the Oval Office in June last year, said to Petraeus, “I am asking you, as your president and commander in chief, to take command in Afghanistan," Petraeus’s reply was: “In response to that, there can be only one answer: Yes sir.”

    In doing so, Petraeus stepped down a rung in the military hierarchy, from the combatant commander of Central Command to command in a single theater. The sacrifice was more than formal: Petraeus took a 10 percent pay cut, which means now a corresponding reduction in his pension. It didn’t occur to him to refuse the president’s request, Petraues told The Daily Beast in an interview recently.
    It’s too early to tell if Petraeus’s stint in Kabul has turned the tide in Afghanistan. It’s even more premature to forecast how he will fare as director of the CIA, where he arrives this week. About the only thing certain is he doesn’t seem to harbor any ambition for the political ring. He renounces political ambition on grounds of principle: he doesn’t think generals should use their rank to claim credibility among a civilian electorate—not even in support of candidates, still less to run for office themselves.

    Obama Administration Brass Skips David Petraeus's Retirement Ceremony - The Daily Beast
    jungatheart likes this.
  2. jungatheart

    jungatheart Beginner's Mind

    I have to wonder why Obama put a guy like Petraeus in as head of the CIA. Of course I could be wrong and he's not the good guy I think he is.
  3. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Being a former general seemed to work for IKE.

    I would tend to agree......ex generals who become civilian heads of government sometimes want to pull their uniform out of the closet, and fill their cabinet with other generals and admirals (serving and retired)....such types of governments don't usually bode well for the peons.
  4. DKR

    DKR Raconteur of the first stripe

    "Petraeus took a 10 percent pay cut, which means now a corresponding reduction in his pension."

    Don't worry, food stamps are not in his future

    From a story on retired pa of military officers -

    "More significant are changes in the way their retired pay is calculated. To use one prominent officer as an example, Army Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. Central Command, could see his future retired pay jump by almost $37,000 a year.
    The pay gains voted for the most senior officers flow from a four-part packet of changes designed by the Senate Armed Services Committee.
    Step one raises the executive pay cap that now impacts only officers in pay grades O-9 and O-10. Currently their basic pay can’t exceed Executive Level III for federal civilians, $12,667 a month. On Jan. 1, that will change to Executive Level II, boosting the basic pay ceiling to $13,767 a month. The ceiling could go even higher when Congress returns after November elections and decides on 2007 federal civilian pay levels.
    Three other bill provisions affect future annuities for three- and four-star officers. If Abizaid were to retire today, with 33 years of service, he would get retired pay equal to 75 percent of his basic pay of $12,667 a month. That would total $9500 a month or $114,000 a year.
    But if Abizaid, or indeed any service member with more than 30 years of service retires later, their retired pay multiple might no longer max out at 75 percent level. The Secretary of Defense will have authority to add an additional 2.5 percent for each year served past 30. So an officer with 33 years, for example, could receive 82.5 percent of basic pay in retirement.
    Two more factors will boost retired pay even more. Effective Oct. 1, this year, senior officers who retire no longer will have their annuities based on “capped” basic pay. Instead, pay officials will apply the basic pay levels shown for O-9 and O-10 in the military pay chart.
    This change alone will be substantial using the 2006 pay chart. But Congress enhanced it by enacting a fourth and final change. In April the military will move to a new 40-year pay chart. It sets new, higher basic pay levels for members who have served more than 30 years, 34 years and 38. This will raise the retired pay of long-serving senior enlisted members too."

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