The Petraeus Dodge, Part II

Thomas Ricks takes a look at the new habit -- attributed in Ricks' piece to Bush, but reflecting a wider swathe of the right -- of "wielding [Genera David] Petraeus as a shield against a growing number of congressional doubters." Ricks floats the theory "that the general is being set up by the Bush administration as a scapegoat if conditions in Iraq fail to improve." That seems doubtful to me. The administration expended no effort whatsoever on setting Generals Casey, Abizaid, and Franks up as scapegoats (Franks even got a medal of honor) before turning on a dime and deciding to make them scapegoats.

Which isn't to say that Petraeus won't become a scapegoat -- Bush'll do it the minute he thinks it serves his interests -- but just that that's unlikely to be the specific motive of the current parade of Petraeus-adulation. Most likely, it just is what it appears to be -- an effort to cover for the bankruptness of the strategy by hiding behind a man with a glowing reputation among reporters.