General David Petraeus, the face of American counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan and now nominated to lead the CIA, was not mentioned in a speech that instead made an explicit turn toward “nation building” at home.
Instead, Obama focused on combat officers, like the nameless SEAL who led the Bin Laden raid.
“This officer — like so many others I’ve met on bases, in Baghdad and Bagram, and at Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval Hospital -– spoke with humility about how his unit worked together as one, depending on each other, and trusting one another, as a family might do in a time of peril,”Obama said.
The speech seemed aimed in part at concluding a military era. Its closing reference to the successful raid seemed to underscore a growing sense among many Democrats that the era of Petraeus’s ambitious counterinsurgency and of the War on Terror is over.