More news is coming out about the Petraeus/Odierno/Keane effort to undercut President Obama and his plans to withdrawal from Iraq. As before, IPS’s Gareth Porter is the one breaking the news –and his latest story is stunning.

This weekend, a number of reports described a January 21st meeting between President Obama and his commanders. The story that circulated in McClatchy and the AP amongst others “appears to indicate that Obama is moving away from the 16-month plan he had vowed during the campaign to implement if elected.”

Porter reports that “a military source close to the general, who insisted on anonymity” contacted him after his report ‘Generals Seek to Reverse Obama Withdrawal Decision’ was published – and that source pitched the account of the January 21 meeting that was picked up in the weekend press:

The military source provided the following carefully worded statement: "We were specifically asked to provide projections, assumptions and risks for the accomplishment of objectives associated with 16-, 19- and 23-month drawdown options." That was exactly the sentence published by McClatchy the following day, except that "specifically" was left out. 

Porter however did a little digging:

But a White House official told IPS Monday that the Petraeus account was untrue. "The assessments of the three drawdown dates were not requested by the president," said the official, who insisted on not being identified because he had not been authorised to comment on the matter. "He never said, ‘Give me three drawdown plans’." 

Porter mentions that “McClatchy’s Nancy Youssef” noted that Obama’s aides presented a different version from the Petraeus related leak but it is Porter who seems to get the real story here:

By implying that Obama had requested the three plans without saying so explicitly, the sentence leaked by Petraeus seems to have been calculated to create a misleading story…

But the Petraeus leak also serves to promote the idea that Obama is moving away from his campaign pledge on a 16-month combat troop withdrawal, which has already been the dominant theme in news media coverage of the issue. 

As Porter notes:

On top of the interest of Petraeus and other senior officers in keeping U.S. troops in Iraq for as long as possible, Petraeus has personal political interests at stake in the struggle over Iraq policy. He has been widely regarded as a possible Republican Presidential candidate in 2012.

There’s more – which you can read here.

It sure looks more and more like we need a purge of the Cheney era generals who are doing everything they can to keep us in Iraq – and more reporters like Gareth Porter.



Siun is a proud Old Town resident who shares her home with two cats and a Great Pyrenees. She’s worked in media relations and on the net since before the www, led the development of a corporate responsibility news service, and knows what a mult box is thanks to Nico. When not swimming in the Lake, she leads a team working on sustainability tools.

Email: media dot firedoglake at gmail dot com