If there's anyone who has a feel for the real story about the downfall of disgraced CIA director David Petraeus, it's Michael Hastings -- the former Rolling Stone reporter who took down Gen. Stanley McChystal, now with Buzzfeed. Not suprisingly, his take on Petraeus runs laps around everyone else. Please read it:

But the warning signs about Petreaus’ core dishonesty have been around for years. Here's a brief summary: We can start with the persistent questions critics have raised about his Bronze Star for Valor. Or, that in 2004, during the middle of a presidential election, Petraeus wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post, supporting President Bush and saying that the Iraq policy was working. The policy wasn’t working, but Bush repaid the general’s political advocacy by giving him the top job in the war three years later.

There’s his war record in Iraq, starting when he headed up the Iraqi security force training program in 2004. He’s more or less skated on that, including all the weapons he lost, the insane corruption, and the fact that he essentially armed and trained what later became known as “Iraqi death squads.” On his final Iraq tour, during the so-called Surge, he pulled off what is perhaps the most impressive con job in recent American history. He convinced the entire Washington establishment that we won the war.

He did it by papering over what The Surge actually was: We took the Shiites' side in a civil war, armed them to the teeth, and suckered the Sunnis into thinking we’d help them out too. It was a brutal enterprise — over 800 Americans died during The Surge, while hundreds of thousands of Iraqis lost their lives during a sectarian conflict that Petraeus’ policies fueled. Then, he popped smoke, and left the members of the Sunni Awakening to fend for themselves.

There's a lot more.

(Blogger's note: Lots o' newspaper work, including helping on a local angle to the Petraeus story (!) has me tied up, so blogging will be extra light. Also, fire Any Reid.)