Petraeus unfit to mentor USC students

No one was really surprised when news broke last May that two major universities offered teaching positions to retired Gen. David Petraeus. After all, this country is familiar by now with prominent people never facing the consequences of their actions. Petraeus’ very public fall was obviously not a factor in City University of New York and University of Southern California’s hiring decisions when they decided to link their good names to a disgraced man. The sex scandal that ousted him also did not put a dent in CUNY’s initial salary offer of $200,000 — highlighting the inconvenient reality that the powerful political elites are held to vastly different standards and operate under vastly different rules than the rest of us.

It could be argued that USC is potentially sullying its good name by associating itself with Petraeus, but this is an institution of learning where the free flow of ideas is the guiding principle. For those students harboring strong opinions about Petraeus, it is a simple matter of not registering for the classes he will be teaching.

But then again, Petraeus is now the faculty adviser to the USC Veterans Association. Petraeus greatly expanded President Barack Obama’s brutal drone regime as head of the Central Intelligence Agency. According to the Washington Post, Petraeus sought permission to use “signature strikes” in Yemen. Signature strikes are attacks carried out by our government against groups of people, often unidentifiable due to limited intelligence, based on patterns of behavior. Something that looked like a terrorist meeting could very well be a terrorist meeting, or it could be a simple wedding filled with innocent people including women and children.

It is doubly disturbing that this is the same man under whose leadership oversaw the bloodiest years on record in terms of American military casualties in Afghanistan. According to figures released by the Department of Defense, nearly 40 percent of the American deaths in the duration of the Afghanistan War occurred under Petraeus’ watch. Petraeus does not advocate for veterans, as he has evidently had a history of failing those in the armed forces.

Lt. Col. John Cook, a former Army intelligence officer who served in Afghanistan, put it much more succinctly  when he told the Daily Beast, “Petraeus made a mess of things in this war. That’s the real scandal.” According to Cook, Petraeus wrote a counterinsurgency strategy that “places a higher value on the lives of Afghan civilians than the lives of our own soldiers, many of whom have died unnecessarily” because of Petraeus’ leadership. It is a scandal that so many veterans had to suffer under Petraeus’ leadership, a sentiment shared by Ian Daily, president of the Young Americans for Liberty at the University of Southern California and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. He told the Daily Trojan, “He was so political and out-of-touch, and so far disconnected from the men and women who had to carry out his orders in Afghanistan. And now he wants to advise veterans?”

What makes Petraeus think he can be a capable advisor to USC’s young men and women, including its veterans? Petraeus was the wrong choice to lead the Afghanistan War, the wrong choice to lead the nation’s top intelligence agency and the wrong choice as advisor for the USC Veterans Association. If Petraeus could not even keep soldiers alive, he surely cannot act as a mentor to them.

Jayel Aheram is a junior majoring in political science. He is also an Iraq War and Marine veteran. 

Editor’s Note: This post has been corrected to remove a quote that was originally said in a private conversation.

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11 replies
  1. Sam Dorn
    Sam Dorn says:

    To suggest that Petraeus is unfit to teach here based on the author’s opinion of his political philosophy or military decisions is simply stupid. Furthermore, the logic itself is flawed: the author claims Petraeus has not served veterans by not protecting them from fighting:

    “It is doubly disturbing that this is the same man under whose leadership oversaw the bloodiest years on record in terms of American military casualties in Afghanistan. According to figures released by the Department of Defense, nearly 40 percent of the American deaths in the duration of the Afghanistan War occurred under Petraeus’ watch. Petraeus does not advocate for veterans, as he has evidently had a history of failing those in the armed forces.”

    Yet, the author also berates Petraeus for advocating for drone strikes and signature strikes, both of which REDUCE military casualties.

    I would also add this: while I am not a veteran, in the midst of this dispute, we should not forget the bravery and sacrifice of our troops – both veterans and those abroad.

  2. thekatman
    thekatman says:

    You know who’s unfit for duty? Barack Hussein Obama II, Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton, That fool who’s now Sec State a traitor from the Viet Nam era, like Jane Fonda. Pick your battles wisely young man/woman, whoever you are…… You don’t know anything about what’s happening politically in this world if you’re under 35 y/o. If you’re older than that, you should be ashamed of yourself for not knowing better.

    • Daily Trojaner
      Daily Trojaner says:

      I do not doubt the sincerity of your beliefs katman as to the short comings of the individuals to which you refer. I am not taking a position on the relative merits of them or Petraeus, and not because I am ill-informed which I assure you I am not, my age notwithstanding. My point is that in order to reach a well reasoned, articulate and substantiated conclusion regarding Petraeus’s role as an advisor to veterans at USC, his entire career, personal foibles and reputation among the veterans he has been appointed to advise need to be weighed . Categorical assertions about him or those you have called out as being unworthy of fair assessment are the metaphorical equivalent of covering one’s ears and stomping one’s feet. I just don’t find that terribly persuasive.

  3. Daily Trojaner
    Daily Trojaner says:

    Petraeus is a public figure and his accomplishments and failures are fair game just as the decision to hire him is fair game. It would be a much more worthwhile endeavor to stay on point about what those accomplishments and failures are than to deflect that focus by raising extraneous issues such as the relative merits of other leaders, their respective levels of testosterone notwithstanding.

  4. thekatman
    thekatman says:

    So now the DP is censoring comments when these comments are contrary to the writer’s opinion? I submitted a quite lengthy rebuttal to this writer’s opinion about the general, and my reply is not listed. Hmm.

  5. Thekatman
    Thekatman says:

    If the author really believes that the general is guilty of incompetence and murder, then why arern’t you calling for the head of president Obama, who fired the previous general, who was doing a fantastic job, McChrystal I believe. Since you are a vet, you know full well and especially under the current administration that Obama and his Sec Def and Sec State do his bidding. Your opinion would’ve held more credence if yu had also called for their heads on the proverbial silver platter, ,but since you didn’t, and you do not substantiate your opinions with facts, you staements are nothing but more of the same ole progressive, leftist blather fo da da. You say a lot, yet you say nothing.

    Of you want ot be around your kind of thinkers, you should transfer out of USC and apply for entrance into one of the progressive leftivism sry
    E schools such as Columbia, NYU or Univ of Chicago. Tere you can mingle and drink high caloric coffees with your kind.

    As a vet, you kmow that our servixemen and women put the butts on the line so that folks like you have the freedom to complain. So if you don’t like war, go after the politicians not e military. Tjey can only execute policy.

    Finally, why aren’t you writing about the fact that the Obama Administration has committed treasonous acts against the American people, by bypassing Congress and the Legislative process during his ttime as president. Fast and Furious gun running, bypassing states rights, allowing for illegal immigration without Congressional approval, Benghazi and the murder of our ambassador and 3 other men, that in and of itself another gun running op that was illegal?

    You have missed a rral oppty to opine on something worthwhile, as opposed to following ithe footsteps of your peers who are uninformed and are just lemmings of the left.

    • thekatman
      thekatman says:

      I apologise in advance for the misspelling and grammar erros. I hate the iPad keyboard, but that’s what I have. You get the jist of my commentary.

  6. NY Trojan
    NY Trojan says:

    At ease, Devil Dog: You question the integrity of a well-decorated officer. As far as his personal life, he made a mistake–don’t throw him under the bus. But, your article lacks essence and it is not convincing. You should have spent more time outlining your points and backing them up with more concrete evidence. For example, what years was he in charge? Why were there more casualties during his tenure? This sounds to me like you’re a part of the liberal agenda. Carry on.

  7. Ras
    Ras says:

    I wonder what the author thinks about JFK and Clinton and feel if those gentlemen are also unfit to mentor students. We live in such a petty, shallow time when we can not distinguish what is or is not relevant when it comes to people of accomplishments. So we end up with bland, idiots that rarely show courage or stand out because the name f the game is to be just barely competent enough and not rock the boat. It is also sad a “journalist” can claim Petraeus has failed those in the armed services and does not advocate for veterans but the author does not substantiate these claims. The writer might be trying to impress someone at HuffPo or MSNBC and would make a fitting journalist in those hack rags.

    Whether it is Secret Service agents protecting our President or Generals fighting our wars – I actually don’t mind that they come with a healthy does of testosterone. Of course that means they are very passionate towards the females and perhaps that is just the biological consequences. I would rather that then a bunch of politically correct dweebs that collapse and cry at the first sign of danger.

    Can we start being OK with men being men?

  8. Really?
    Really? says:

    Petraeus is more unfit than the child molester professor (FBI’s top 10) and several other wack-job liberal professors who can’t keep there own hatred under control in the classroom?

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