They can try to spin this however they want, but however they spin it doesn't matter. It all boils down to politicization of the military, and that way lies a deep and harrowing darkness.
General Petraeus has been summoned back to Washington to head up the Brigadier General's Review Board. I realize that only a few people stopped dead in their tracks at that news - somewhere south of .75% I would guess - Since just under 2% serve in any capacity, .75 is a healthy allowance for career officers, and career officers and their families are just about the only folks out there who even know what the hell a Brigadier's Review Board even is (hell, it's 'teh ungoogleable')...but lets get back on track before I start speaking jargon and tell you about the process by which a clutch of about a thousand Colonels are nominated, and about 40 get stars on their epaulets.
And you have the most political General in modern times heading up the winnowing process.
You damn well know that no Colonel who has opposed or spoken out against the folly of Bush's vanity war is going to be one of the anointed forty.
I saw the WaPo article, and I immediately felt sick to my stomach. I made three phone calls to three different people who over the course of a lifetime will forget a whole hell of a lot more than I'll ever know, even at my peak awareness - and they were all feeling queasy themselves.
Putting the General in charge of combat operations in a country they have long-term occupation plans for in charge of selecting the next crop of Army generals is a signal that they don't ever intend to leave, and to that end, they are setting about staffing the flag ranks with those who will march lockstep with Petraeus.
The spin is "We're innovating!"
So let me take a moment to remind you that the more things change the more they stay the same. And turning a ship the size of the U.S. Army is not a mean feat. I have been saying for three years now that it will take at least two decades to rebuild the Army in the wake of the vandal aWol breaking it, but I have been foolishly optimistic. It's going to take that long to get rid of the influence of the Perfumed Prince.