He has, alas, played the partisan role before - writing an op-ed in 2004 that had the effect of supporting the Bush administration's re-election effort. A reader notices another unfortunate slip:
The most telling aspect of the Petraeus interview was his use of the phrase "precipitous withdrawal." He used it without any previous use by Hewitt. That misleading phrase, coined by partisan right-wingers, is the very dishonest description of the belief of most Americans that the U.S. has to leave Iraq, preferably no later than April 2008. Why did Petraeus use what amounts to the talking points of the administration?
I'm reminded of Arianna's eavesdropping on an Acela cell-phone chat by Bill Kristol:
Kristol was sitting a row behind me, talking on his cell phone with someone who apparently shared his optimism. "'Precipitous withdrawal' really worked," I overheard him say, clearly referring to the president's use of the term in that morning's press conference. "How many times did he use it? Three? Four?" he asked his interlocutor, and the conversation continued with a round of metaphorical back-slapping for the clever phrase they had "come up with."
If Petraeus wants to appear as an objective, military professional in September, he is not going about it the right way.