American Caesar II: This Time, He Actually Has a Roman-Sounding Name


This is the speech the New York Sun's editorial board wants Gen. Petraeus to give next week.

So let me make this choice easy for you. I believe we have a good chance to drive Al Qaeda and Iran's network from Iraq and stand up in due time a functioning democracy in Baghdad. I am prepared, even eager, to command our forces in this battle—but only on one condition: That you signal that you share my goal of victory. If you think I am mistaken and wish to continue your efforts to undermine me, then I cannot command. Absent that signal, I will resign, effective immediately, and take my case to the voters in a run for the presidency on a campaign to finish the work of winning the war and redeeming the sacrifice of so many Iraqis, allies, and our own GIs.

We don't even need to get into the whole Smedley Butler/Douglas MacArthur/jock-sniffing authoritarian right tar pit to explain why this is a silly fantasy. Petraeus actually isn't that popular. Rasmussen puts his popularity at 24 percent positive, 34 percent negative—better than Michael Moore, not as good as Valerie Plame. And voters are pretty split on whether Petraeus will tell us the unvarnished, un-spun truth about Iraq.

It's pretty entertaining: You've got a pro-war right absolutely, Yukio Mishima-devoted to its unpopular stances and an anti-war left that only ever wimps out on its popular stances. To wit.

Related: Spencer Ackerman's muscle-destroying workout with the good general-cum-godhead.