Small Wars Journal

President Obama Should Pardon General David Petraeus

President Obama Should Pardon General David Petraeus by Charles Dunlap, Washington Times

Was something missing when, earlier this month, the White House announced that President Obama used his constitutional prerogative to put 214 convicts back on the street? Yes, we didn’t see a pardon for the person many Americans believe is the greatest general of his generation, David Petraeus.

True, the president’s latest use of his pardon power was to cut sentences. The White House proudly touts that “President Obama has surpassed the past nine presidents combined in total commutations.” Although the president is decidedly less generous in issuing full pardons, he has still delivered several dozen, and Gen. Petraeus ought to be among them…

So how does Gen. Petraeus‘ misconduct line up with that of others the president has already pardoned? Their offenses represent a cacophony of felonious criminality. The list includes drug dealers, thieves (including an armed robber), a variety of gun offenders, tax cheats, an Iranian hacker, fraudsters of every sort, counterfeiters, conspirators of all kinds — but especially in relation to the most addictive drugs on the planet: heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine — and, yes, even an adulterer.

While a couple of the pardon recipients had some military service, none has a record that approaches that of Gen. Petraeus. He repeatedly answered the most frantic calls of his country by serving multiple combat tours first in Iraq, and later in Afghanistan. In both countries, it was his indispensable leadership that avoided collapses that would have been catastrophic for not just for Iraqis and Afghans, but also for America’s global interests.

Of course, comparisons with Hillary Clinton’s email scandal and FBI Director James Comey’s highly controversial decision to not charge her are inevitable. But let’s not entangle the righteousness of pardoning Gen. Petraeus with today’s bitterly partisan politics. Rather, this is a question of doing the right thing for a man who has endured, along with his family, a degree of public humiliation for a misdemeanor offense that is truly unprecedented…

Read on.


I am not a detractor of Gen. Petraeus, but, I disagree with any pardon for him.

The General of all people, whose character was developed at West Point within a (supposed) honor code, likely might have mitigated his punishment had he not lied to the FBI.