Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that he made a “serious mistake” four years ago that brought “discredit and pain” to those closest to him. “It was a violation of the trust placed in me and a breach of values”.
“Chairman, is a geopolitical Chernobyl spewing instability and extremism over the region and around the world”, said Petraeus, whose stellar career included directing the USA military worldwide and directing the Central Intelligence Agency before an extra-marital affair forced his resignation in 2012.
Petraeus, a retired four-star army general who led the 2007 surge in Iraq, said while the USA has made significant advances in the nation against the Islamic State, “We are not where we should be at this point”.
“There’s nothing I can do to undo what I did”.
Jill and Scott Kelley of Tampa, Florida, sued the federal government in 2013, alleging that officials violated the U.S. Privacy Act by disclosing information about the couple.
David Petraeus on Tuesday called for the US military to take on a bigger role against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Petraeus advised the U.S.to form enclaves in Syria protected by coalition airpower to strengthen support for moderate Sunni rebels, train additional forces, and provide haven for displaced Syrians.
Mr. Petraeus argued that it was important to pursue a diplomatic solution to the Syrian conflict but asserted that the White House had failed to take military steps that would put pressure on the Syrian leader and facilitate a political resolution to the bloody conflict. “I can only say, again, how sorry I am”.
The grounding of Syria’s air force could be accomplished by destroying air bases with cruise missiles fired from Navy submarines and surface ships in the Mediterranean, Petraeus said.
“Sunni Arabs will not be willing partners against the Islamic State unless we commit to protect them and the broader Syrian population against all enemies, not just ISIS”, he said.
He called the fight against ISIS “inadequate” and recommended a comprehensive strategy to work alongside Iraqi and Kurdish forces, and to try to garner the support of Sunni tribes, an endeavor that he succeeded in when Petraeus was previously commanding USA forces in Iraq. “I would not, for example, embed US personnel at the Iraqi battalion level, nor would I support clearance operations before a viable force is available”, he said.
He recommended asking Assad to stop using barrel bombs – barrels packed with shrapnel dropped from the air – against opposition forces and civilians, and implementing a no-fly zone if he refused.