Remember when it was the highest form of incompetence for a President not to listen to the generals in the field? Change!
CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus, supported by Defence Secretary Robert Gates, tried to convince President Barack Obama that he had to back down from his campaign pledge to withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Iraq within 16 months at an Oval Office meeting Jan. 21. But Obama informed Gates, Petraeus and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen that he wasn’t convinced and that he wanted Gates and the military leaders to come back quickly with a detailed 16-month plan…
Obama’s decision to override Petraeus’s recommendation has not ended the conflict between the president and senior military officers over troop withdrawal, however… A network of senior military officers is also reported to be preparing to support Petraeus and Odierno by mobilising public opinion against Obama’s decision
Petraeus was visibly unhappy when he left the Oval Office, according to one of the sources. A White House staffer present at the meeting was quoted by the source as saying, “Petraeus made the mistake of thinking he was still dealing with George Bush instead of with Barack Obama.”… The assertion that Obama’s withdrawal policy threatens the gains allegedly won by the Bush surge and Petraeus’s strategy in Iraq will apparently be the theme of the campaign that military opponents are now planning.
Remember how the left wanted Obama to tie military failure around Patraeus’s neck to ruin his future political aspirations? That’s not what’s happening here. Really. This is just boneheaded political housekeeping. The left wants the US out of Iraq. Full stop.
But “we really hate Bush so we want to leave Iraq” isn’t a very compelling reason to lose a war. Ergo the Pentagon’s pushback. Which is nice because it’s been too long while since we’ve conducted public deliberation via “Pentagon sources,” leaked reports, and panels of Respected Former Generals. But it’ll still be interesting to see how mainstream media outlets try to spin away military experts now that they’re criticizing The One. So many choices:
(1) Patraeus is wrong about Iraq
(2) Patraeus doesn’t have America’s best interests at heart
(3) Strange New Respect for the perogatives of the Commander in Chief
The whiplash from “General Betray Us” to “Iraq is so stable that Obama can move our troops to Afghanistan” probably poisoned the well on insinuations of incompetence or treason. So Strange New Respect it is! I’m also looking forward to the nuanced DKos diaries about the importance of the chain of command. And why not? Dissent hasn’t been patriotic for almost a month now! (h/t: BtB)
* US-IRAQ: Generals Seek to Reverse Obama Withdrawal Decision [IPS]
* Left wonders: What should we do with Petraeus to make sure he doesn’t run against us in 2012? [Hot Air]
* It’s Official…Dissent Is No Longer Patriotic [Ace]
* Detente In Our Time – Obama Prepares To Sell Out Poland In The Face Of Russian Aggression. Again. (Plus: By The Way, Missile Defense Works)
* Biden: Russia, Middle East Enemies Will Exploit Obama’s Inexperience (Plus: NYT Discovers Iran Is Training Iraqi Militias)
* Top Obama Adviser Explains Iraq War: Turns Out, It’s The Jews’ Fault. Again. (Plus: Ha’aretz Political Correspondent’s Pro-Obama Apologism Getting Increasingly Desperate)