It seems that Gen John P. Abizaid, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, has said that he plans to retire - just in time for Bush's 'New Way Forward' ::cough:: Escalation ::cough:: in Iraq. George W. Bush must really be blessed by God. There's no other explanation for the luck he has in getting military leaders who disagree with him to retire!
From the LA Times:
WASHINGTON — Army Gen. John P. Abizaid, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, has submitted plans to retire and will leave his post in March, a step likely to make way for a change in military strategy at a time the Bush administration is seeking a new plan for Iraq."A small but increasingly influential coterie" you say? I wonder how they came by that new found influence. I'm sure it couldn't be by being sycophantic yes-men willing to tell Bush and/or Cheney exactly what they want to hear. Surely the Bush Administration wouldn't try to 'squeeze out' people who disagree with them or reward kowtowing agreement with increased power and influence.
Abizaid has been the primary architect of U.S. military strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan since becoming head of the U.S. Central Command more than three years ago. He has strenuously resisted calls to increase troop levels to quell rising violence in Baghdad, arguing it would increase Iraqi dependence on Americans.
Abizaid's planned departure clears the way for new Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to recommend his own commander, a decision current and former Defense officials say is nearly as important as the new administration strategy expected to be unveiled by Bush in January.
These officials said Gates faces a clear choice between generals who have agreed with Abizaid's push to quickly hand over security responsibilities to Iraqi forces and a small but increasingly influential coterie of officers backing a more aggressive U.S.-led counterinsurgency campaign.
Admiral William J. Fallon will replace Gen. John Abizaid, US commander in the Middle East, who announced his retirement in December and was expected to leave the post in March. Abizaid was a critic of Bush's efforts to add more troops to Iraq, but the circumstances of his early departure are unclear.I don't know about the rest of the world, but to me it seems like George W. Bush cleared out a bunch of senior military leaders that didn't want any part of his politically motivated 'surge' in troop levels.
"Fallon, who is in the Navy, is currently head of Pacific Command; he will be overseeing two ground wars, so the appointment is highly unusual," ABC reports.
According to a Kansas City Star article published December 24, "Commanders have been skeptical of the value of increasing troops. The decision represents a reversal for Casey, the highest-ranking officer in Iraq. Casey and Gen. John P. Abizaid, the top commander in the Middle East, have long resisted adding troops in Iraq,
David Petraeus will replace General George Casey, commander of US forces in Iraq. Casey originally opposed the President's plan to add troops in Iraq, arguing it could delay "the development of Iraqi security forces and increase anger at the United States in the Arab world."
All those times that Bush said that he was going to 'listen to his Generals' come flashing into my head. But why would he be telling the truth then when lying about every other subject is permitted? Perhaps in Bush's twisted head, he sees himself as listening to the Generals. He just chooses which generals to listen to.
Kinda like picking the 7 scientists that say Evolution is bunk and ignoring the many thousands that know that it's about as close to fact as anything in the scientific world.
To be honest, replacing Abizaid is a step that's over due. (The LA Times story reported that Abizaid wanted to go earlier but Secretary Rumsfeld was blocking his retirement.) I don't really have a problem with Abizaid's replacement. It's the fact that in looking for a replacement, the Bush Administration wouldn't look at any candidate that had reservations about Bush's plans for escalation.
The Bush Administration's military instincts aren't as good as their political instincts. We won't see any real progress until BushCo. admits that and allows the military to do its job without political interference.
War in Iraq John Abizaid George W. Bush Surge