Saturday :: Dec 23, 2006

Generals Cave In To Political Directives From DC


by Steve

CENTCOM has now caved, and will follow the wishes of its commander in chief by supporting Bush’s plan to escalate troop strength inside Iraq, even before a clearly-defined mission for those troops is settled upon. A political decision was reached in Washington and ordered to the generals in Baghdad, rather than a military decision being made in the theater and communicated up the line to the White House. Boy, the arrival of Robert Gates sure changed everything, didn’t it?

Commanders have been skeptical of the value of increasing troops, and 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 who will step down in March, have long resisted adding troops in Iraq, arguing that it could delay the development of Iraqi security forces and increase anger at the United States in the Arab world.
The defense official said commanders had not determined the exact number of extra troops they would request.
[snip]
"People are warming to the realization that some sort of surge is necessary," said another military official.

I'll bet they are.

Some members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff remain skeptical of a surge, unconvinced that it will yield more positive results than other recent military operations to secure Baghdad or Iraq.
[snip]
Those skeptical about the efficacy of an increase argue that any new troops must be given clear instructions. However, defense officials say the U.S. commanders in Iraq have not settled on what that mission should be, although they are expected to decide before calling up new units.
[snip]
Some officials remain concerned that the command in Iraq has not drafted a new battle plan or begun to develop new operations. These officials worry that even with extra troops, the American forces will continue using existing tactics, which have failed to stem sectarian violence.

It appears that Bush is actively trying to split the Shiites and is disregarding the Sunni insurgency in favor of using the new troops for a direct strike at Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army, against the wishes of Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Yes, it is a recipe for disaster, as it will push thousands into supporting al-Sadr if nothing is done to snuff out Al Qaeda and the Sunni attacks against Shiites.

Within the military, some officers favor using a buildup of forces to confront radical Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr, perhaps by moving forces into Sadr City, the Shiite slum in Baghdad where he has his political base.
[snip]
The U.S. military now considers forces loyal to Sadr to be the top threat to the security of Iraq.

The military itself is now fully invested with the success or failure of Bush’s policy. The AEI and Dick Cheney's office are driving military decisions, not the commanders on the ground.

Henry Kissinger is a happy man.

Steve :: 10:26 AM :: Comments (36) :: Digg It!