Green on Blue Attack: Quincy Institute Trashes Keynote Speaker David Petraeus

General David Petraeus
General David Petraeus / Getty Images
February 27, 2020

After inviting retired four-star General David Petraeus to keynote their forum in Washington, D.C., the Koch and Soros-funded Quincy Institute trashed the retired military official on social media during and after his appearance for his "lack of vision for a new direction in U.S. foreign policy."

The group's executive vice president Trita Parsi accused Petraeus and his fellow commanders of deceiving the country as Petraeus sat on the stage. "True that a majority of Afghan vets want to end the war," Parsi wrote. "But is that true for the leaders of the military? And if so, why 18 years of deception about how the war was going?"

Sarah Leah Whitson, the institute's managing director for research and policy, derided Petraeus for delivering "stale outdated talking points" on the war in Iraq, where the general commanded U.S. armed forces, and killing 500,000 people.

Whitson on Tuesday night argued that former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein deserved credit for advances in education and literacy during his rein.

Another Quincy Institute employee, Eli Clifton, used Petraeus's appearance at the forum as occasion to call out the funding of the Harvard University institution that formerly employed him.

"Perhaps a good time to remember that David Petraeus’s work at Harvard’s Belfer Center is underwritten by Thomas Kaplan, who promotes his mining investments as retaining or appreciating in value if there is unrest in the Middle East," Clifton wrote.

The group's official Twitter account retweeted numerous attacks on Petraeus, and then directly attacked Petraeus for his "lack of vision for a new direction in U.S. foreign policy."

Also laying into Petraeus were members of Winning Without War, a radical antiwar group that has partnered with the Quincy Institute on events since it was founded last December. The group's executive director complained that Petraeus was able to deliver his remarks at the forum.

"Excited to be here at the #FPQIForum," wrote Stephen Miles. "Less excited to hear this absurd defense of the status quo and 'bold' vision of doing the same failed things forever by David Petraeus."

Petraeus says he was invited to speak at the forum by Foreign Policy, which cohosted the forum with the Quincy Institute. Petraeus's remarks at the forum were moderated by the magazine's editor in chief, Jonathan Tepperman.

The retired general said prior to the event that he expected his remarks to contrast with those of the Quincy Institute’s own scholars, who have advocated for a U.S. foreign policy based on military retrenchment and restraint and for breaking the stranglehold of the so-called Jewish lobby on U.S. foreign policy.

Published under: David Petraeus