I would imagine that Piers Morgan and the producers at CNN were expecting BuzzFeed's Michael Hastings to be pretty harsh on the now scandal ridden Gen. David Petraeus, because I find it hard to believe they would have invited him on the air without reading his recent article here -- The Sins Of General David Petraeus.
What they probably didn't expect was for him to go after the other guest, their own Barbara Starr for taking dictation from the Pentagon and the media in general for their worship of Petraeus. Whatever the case, it was well worth the time watching the segment just to see Piers Morgan squirm in discomfort with his response to Hastings.
MORGAN: Paula Broadwell calling David Petraeus a role model. How things have changed. Joining me now is General Mark Kimmitt who has known General Petraeus for 25 years, also Michael Hastings, Buzzfeed reporter and writing for "Rolling Stone." He says America should have never trusted Petraeus in the first place. And Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona, a former Defense Intelligence officer who also served with the CIA. Welcome to you all.
General Kimmitt, let me start with you. You've known General Petraeus for 25 years. Do you recognize the man that you've been reading about for the last 24 hours?
GEN. GEORGE KIMMITT, FMR. DIRECTOR, PLANS & STRATEGIES, CENTRAL COMMAND: Well, in many ways, I do, because with this one exception of this incident that he had with Paula Broadwell, I think the fact that this was a guy that stood up when the facts became known, did the honorable thing and resigned. That's the David Petraeus that I know.
MORGAN: Should a general in his position, who has moved on to run the CIA, have to resign his post over an affair, which is really what this seems to have been about?
KIMMITT: My opinion, yes. Any commander of an organization who is caught in that kind of compromising behavior, someone who is supposed to set the standards and enforce the standards for that organization, when he is caught in a compromising position, he's got to do the honorable thing and step down. I think Attorney General Mukasey mentioned that as well. And I stand behind those comments as well.
Any commander that has lost the trust and confidence of his unit has to stand down. MORGAN: Michael Hastings, in your Buzzfeed article, "The Sins of General David Petraeus," you argue that Petraeus was a master of deception. Do you think he should have resigned?
MICHAEL HASTINGS, "ROLLING STONE": I think there's many other reasons Petraeus should have resigned besides who he's sleeping with that's not his wife. But I just want to make a point here. The larger point that I've been making is that essentially the media has played a role in protecting David Petraeus and promoting David Petraeus and mythologizing David Petraeus.
We saw it here tonight. General Kimmitt, who was a spokesperson in Baghdad, who was a roommate of Petraeus, who was involved in one of the biggest debacles in recent foreign policy history, is on TV defending David Petraeus without actually addressing the real problems with David Petraeus' record.
Those are the fact that he manipulated the White House into escalating Afghanistan. He ran a campaign in Iraq that was brutally savage, included arming the worst of the worst, Shiite death squads, Sunni militiamen. And then you go back to the training of the Iraqi army program that also had similar problems.
So for me, all the while, he's going around the country talking about honor and integrity. So for me the questions of honor and integrity -- I was raising those earlier. A number of other journalists who were actually covering David Petraeus were raising those concerns. You might not get that from someone like Barbara Starr at CNN, who essentially is a spokesperson for the Pentagon in many ways.
So I think I just want to step back and have my piece, because this -- even the way the scandal is being covered is so different than how usual sex scandals are being covered, where they hammer the guy mercilessly. Now everyone is saying oh, my God, he just went to the CIA; how could he be -- you know, he was susceptible to being seduced by this woman.
Give me a break. Petraeus now has all his allies coming out to defend him, where Paula Broadwell is there yet again -- where are her protectors?
MORGAN: Barbara is not a spokesperson for him, obviously. Let's move to --
HASTINGS: Not too obviously. I have followed her coverage pretty closely as she has covered my work before, too.
MORGAN: Just because she's written naughty things about you doesn't make her a spokesperson.
HASTINGS: No. What makes her a spokesperson is repeating without question a lot of Pentagon claims.