In an interview broadcast today on NBC, Gen. David Petraeus reiterated his belief that the July 2011 drawdown date, set by President Obama in December and quietly disavowed by virtually everyone in his administration, was not something that would bind him either.
“The president has been clear… this is the date when the process begins which is conditions based,” Petraeus insisted, adding that he reserved the right to tell the President it was “too early.”
Further into the interview, while predicting that difficulties would continue, Gen. Petraeus also claimed that the war began making “progress” in the spring, a surprising claim considering every metric from civiilian to military death tolls and IED attacks has risen precipitously since then. He also took occasion to condemn WikiLeaks as “very reprehensible” for releasing classified documents showing just how poorly the war has been going.
Beyond that, Gen. Petraeus maintained that the primary goal of the war in Afghanistan, with its 150,000 NATO troops, is to “arrest Osama bin Laden.” Countless officials, including Petraeus himself, have maintained for years that bin Laden has left Afghanistan.