General David Petraeus will likely show more restraint than his predecessor when he kicks off a series of media interviews with a special broadcast of Meet the Press from Kabul Sunday. After he meets David Gregory, Petraeus will sit with Katie Couric on August 20, and with George Stephanopoulos later in the month when Good Morning America also broadcasts from Afghanistan. Other interviews will be “sprinkled” in between.
The three week media “blitz,” as the HuffingtonPost and Times are calling it, is designed to shore up support for the president’s surge strategy. Mike Allen writes that the interviews are being spread over three weeks “so Americans will be more likely to hear his message, even during the August duldrums.” From The New York Times today:
He is expected to cite examples of initial progress on the ground and to underscore that the full impact of the military’s counterinsurgency strategy will not take hold until the last of 30,000 additional American troops arrive in Afghanistan this month. He will also likely reaffirm that the troop withdrawal that President Obama said would begin next July would involve only small numbers. “July 2011 will mark the beginning of a process, not the date when the U.S. heads for the exits and turns out the lights,” the general told the Senate Armed Services Committee on June 29.
On the back of WikiLeaks and our deadliest month in the Afghan war, and on the eve of the arrival of yet more troops, we want to know: What would your first question be for General David Petraeus?