Pentagon Splintering on Iraq?
The Pentagon will not issue a consensus assessment next month on Iraq. McClatchy is reporting that there will be differing and multiple assessments and opinion presented to Bush next month, reflecting a desire by the Pentagon higher ups to separate themselves from what they anticipate will be Bush’s decision to only listen to Petraeus’ “give me years more time” recommendation.
Bush’s decision will run contrary to another assessment, this time by the GAO, which has found little political progress in Iraq, and that the White House’s optimistic NIE this month, which was edited with a positive spin by Petraeus, didn’t reflect the true range of views within the administration. In fact, the draft GAO report was leaked to the Post by administration officials who were worried that its findings would be plowed under by the White House next month, never to see the light of day after the “security” clearance review.
No one should misinterpret the original selection of Petraeus for this assignment. By selecting the one general who would place personal ambition for turning Iraq into his lab experiment on counterinsurgency at the expense of our military, Bush found the only “general on the ground” he needed to listen to, while ignoring the contrary assessments that may come from damn near everyone else in the chain of command.