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Sunday, December 24, 2006

So what did the Crawford Corleones do, put horse's heads in their beds?
Posted by Jill | 9:48 AM
You have to wonder what kind of dossiers the Bush Administration has on every military leader in this country, that they all eventually back down and adopt policies they know are insane.

I don't envy the generals who report to the Cokehead-in-Chief. I can't recall a time in this country when military leaders had such a conflict between their obligation to protect their men and their obligation to obey their commander-in-chief.

First it was Gen. John Batiste, who put his neck on the block last spring by demanding the ouster of Donald Rumsfeld and was the first military leader to call for accountability within this administration for the Iraq debacle and then decided that victory is not only achievable, but necessary.

Now, Gen. George Casey has backed off (flip-flopped?) from his previous view that we need to step up training of Iraqi troops and hand control off to them as quickly as possible and signed onto the Throw More Warm Bodies at the Problem plan:

The American military command in Iraq is now willing to back a temporary increase in American troops in Baghdad as part of a broader Iraqi and United States effort to stem the slide toward chaos, senior American officials said Saturday.

President Bush and his advisers were told Saturday of the new position when Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates met with them at Camp David, an administration official said.

Until recently, the top ground commander in Iraq, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., has argued that sending more American forces into Baghdad and Anbar Province, the two most violent regions of Iraq, would increase the Iraqi dependency on Washington, and in the words of one senior official, “make this feel more like an occupation.”

But General Casey and Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, who has day-to-day command of American forces in Iraq, indicated they were open to a troop increase when Mr. Gates met with them in Baghdad this week.

“They are open to the possibility of some increase in force,” a senior Defense Department official said. “They are supportive of taking steps to support the Iraqis in their plan, including the possible modest augmentation in U.S. combat forces.”

Of cours, when your commanding officer is a lunatic, he doesn't have to put a horse's head in your bed to get you to fall in line. The lesson of Gen. Shinseki, who was kneecapped by Donald Rumsfeld in 2002 for daring to say that several hundred thousand troops would be required in Iraq, must be still clear in the minds of the current military brass. Shinseki wasn't "fired" per se, but when Rummy leaked the name of Shinseki's successor 14 months before the latter's retirement, the message was loud and clear.

So this president, who places the salvaging of his ego before everything -- before the good of the American people, before the safety of the soldiers fighting in his war -- has decided that the obligation of the generals on the ground is not to provide him with wise counsel, but instead to go along with whatever delusional ideas he has -- and their careers, if not their very lives and families, are on the line.

UPDATE: John makes a very valid point about this turnaround by the generals and how obedience to their commander-in-chief is only selectively important:

Funny, but when Clinton was considering lifting the ban on gays in the military, all the military was up in arms, and all the top generals - starting at the top with Colin Powell - practically mutinied. But when Bush decides to continue a criminally negligent war that is a disaster, all because he's too arrogant and stupid to change course, our generals sit back and shut up. I guess the deaths of 3,000 of our soldiers aren't nearly as big a deal to the generals as a couple of gay guys wanting to enlist.
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