Gen. Petraeus DESTROYS ABC Fear Mongering, Trump Not for War With Iran

Despite warnings from the Trump administration about an imminent attack by Iran or its proxies against American allies and forces, and the attack against oil tankers that followed, the liberal media has been claiming the threat from Iran was being overblown by an administration itching for a war. But, during an interview with ABC’s chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz for This Week, former Army General David Petraeus pushed back and dismantled their fear mongering.

On Wednesday, Raddatz had suggested that the President was on the verge of possibly getting the U.S. into another war based on “faulty” intelligence reports, and equated it to the Iraq War. The suggestion made a return appearance in her interview.

Petraeus just began defending his confidence of CIA intelligence when Raddatz interrupted to ask: “Do you see parallels with Iraq? I mean, clearly, that’s the concern.

“I do not. No, in Iraq there was a real momentum to go to war with Iraq and there was intelligence, however flawed it turned out to be,” he argued. “I just don’t see this at all similar to that.” Raddatz interrupted yet again to fret about National Security Advisor John Bolton and his “hardliner” tendencies.

The former General agreed that Bolton was a hardliner, but noted that President Trump “clearly is not on this issue. And I think it was very clear what he said to the press, he hopes not [to go to war].”

Shortly before that exchange, Raddatz was worried about Bolton whispering in Trump’s ear to start a war with Iran. Petraeus countered her assertion pretty quickly (click “expand”):

GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS: Tell me how this ends. I think that has been answered by the President, frankly. It’s pretty clear he doesn’t want to go to war in Iran. He’s not after regime change, he after what Secretary Pompeo has announced as the objective, which is regime behavior change.

MARTHA RADDATZ: John Bolton, obviously, before he was national security adviser talked about regime change and that was something he wanted. Do you think that’s still being whispered in the President’s ear?

PETRAEUS: Not after what the President said to the press the other day, certainly, if it was ever said.

Raddatz was also nervous about a rumored contingency plan to send 120,000 troops to the region is Iran attacked U.S. installations. Trump had denied it and argued that they would need way more troops than that. In response, Petraeus noted “it’s absolutely right that they should be examining a variety of different options. It be, actually, derelict if they did not actually prepare for whatever could come.”

Furthermore, Petraeus pointed out that Trump’s assessment was correct in that more troops would be needed because the population and size of Iran were far greater than that of Iraq. “[A]gain, rightly, the President has shelved those,” he added.

Now that Petraeus has dismantled an important liberal talking point, it will be interesting to see of the left turns on him once more and go back to their “betray us” sneers.

The transcript is below, click “expand” to read:

ABC’s This Week
May 19, 2019
9:50:29 a.m. Eastern

(…)

GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS: Tell me how this ends. I think that has been answered by the President, frankly. It’s pretty clear he doesn’t want to go to war in Iran. He’s not after regime change, he after what Secretary Pompeo has announced as the objective, which is regime behavior change.

MARTHA RADDATZ: John Bolton, obviously, before he was national security adviser talked about regime change and that was something he wanted. Do you think that’s still being whispered in the President’s ear?

PETRAEUS: Not after what the President said to the press the other day, certainly, if it was ever said. Again keep in mind this setting for in which John gave that speech was a bunch of Iranian dissidents essentially. Now, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t desire that; doesn’t mean that perhaps many folks would like to see that. Of course, we should have learned by now, I think, especially after the Arab Spring that the regime change aftermath is not always what we had hoped it would be.

RADDATZ: You’ve seen the reports about war planning and certainly you go on both ends when you do war planning, I would say, 120,000 is possible. The President said if we did anything like that we would use a hell lot more than that when we attacked. Where those prudent measures to plan like that?

PETRAEUS: I think it’s absolutely right that they should be examining a variety of different options. It be actually, derelict if they did not actually prepare for whatever could come.

But the truth is, let’s remember that Iran is a country that has a population that’s three-times the size of Iraq when we invaded it and a land mass that’s three to four-times the size of Iraq as well. And I think, any thoughts of invading Iran — again, rightly, the President has shelved those, I think. That would be an enormous undertaking.

And he’s right in his assessment. We would need a heck of a lot more troops than that were we ever to do something like that. Now, that doesn’t mean that we can’t carry out very substantial and very damaging attacks from the air; that we can’t do a lot to their maritime—Again, we can do a tremendous amount of damage. I have some pretty good knowledge of that as the commander of the U.S. Central Command who actually did a lot of contingency planning. And even some rehearsals at various times when we thought that we might have to execute some of those contingencies.

(…)

RADDATZ: Do you see parallels with Iraq? I mean, clearly, that’s the concern.

PETRAEUS: I do not. No, in Iraq there was a real momentum to go to war with Iraq and there was intelligence, however flawed it turned out to be, that was generally assumed to be credible by the policymakers. There was almost an article of faith that Iraq did have weapons of mass destruction of some kind and the means to deliver them. I just don’t see this at all similar to that. And beyond which, the President —

RADDATZ: John Bolton is a real hard-liner.

PETRAEUS: John Bolton is a hard-liner but his chief client, if you will, for his advice, the President of the United States, clearly is not on this issue. And I think it was very clear what he said to the press, he hopes not.

(…)

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