Puffing Petraeus

Newsweek (7/17/11) begins a piece on David Petraeus becoming CIA director with an account of how he got the “short-term job done” after he was named commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan:

Now, after 13 months, the 58-year-old Petraeus is coming home to head the Central Intelligence Agency. Since that day in the Oval Office, hopeful signs have begun appearing that he may have performed the seemingly impossible task of stabilizing the Afghan battlefield.

The article, by reporter John Barry, doesn’t provide much detail on what these “hopeful signs” are, but Afghan civilian deaths are up 15 percent in the first half of 2011 vs. the first half of 2010. (Maybe that’s why an Afghan media executive cited in the piece contends that “not everyone in Afghanistan fully appreciates what Petraeus has achieved in his year there.”)

As for U.S. troops and their non-Afghan allies, 705 of them were killed in the 13 months Petraeus was in charge of Afghanistan–as opposed to 725 in the 13 months before that. Other than that, I’m sure he had a great war.

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.