A pair of combat vets argue in this morning’s Wall Street Journal (subscription required) that it’s time for Congress to award Army General David Petraeus an extraordinary fifth star. Four stars are the highest standard rank in the U.S. military; nine five-stars were awarded during World War II to officers like Eisenhower, MacArthur, Marshall and Nimitz. Gen. John Pershing held the rank during World War I. George Washington also got it — in 1976.
Pete Hegseth and Wade Zirkle are directors of the non-profit Vets for Freedom, a group that supports the war effort. Hegseth served in Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division and will deploy to Afghanistan this year. Zirkle served two deployments to Iraq as a Marine infantry officer.
The U.S. war against terrorism is now the longest war in U.S. history, and Gen. Petraeus has clearly distinguished himself as a leader worthy of the rank held by Gens. MacArthur, Marshall and Nimitz. A promotion would properly honor his service—and it would also honor the troops he leads and has led. Today’s soldiers have fought as valiantly as any in American history, and they deserve recognition of their leaders. Congressional approval of a fifth star would demonstrate the nation’s commitment to their mission.
There’s only one potential concern associated with this, at least in some quarters: when push comes to shove over the war in Afghanistan, it would give Petraeus even more clout in dealing with President Obama than he already has.