Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Bush's wars are now radioactive to the military
The desparation of the WH trying to hold together their efforts, whatever they are, in Iraq and Afghanistan just became embarrassingly public. (h/t to Atrios at Eschaton) Kevin Drum over at Washington Monthly has the goods:
"At least three retired four-star generals approached by the White House in recent weeks have declined to be considered for the position[a "high-powered czar" who would have authority over both military and civilian operations in Iraq and Afghanistan], the sources said, underscoring the administration's difficulty in enlisting its top recruits to join the team after five years of warfare that have taxed the United States and its military." Ouch. I think at this point it is safe to say Bush no longer has the confidence of the military. Incompetence can do that. How do we know? Let retired Marine Gen. John J. "Jack" Sheehan instruct us:
"The very fundamental issue is, they don't know where the hell they're going," said retired Marine Gen. John J. "Jack" Sheehan, a former top NATO commander who was among those rejecting the job. Sheehan said he believes that Vice President Cheney and his hawkish allies remain more powerful within the administration than pragmatists looking for a way out of Iraq. "So rather than go over there, develop an ulcer and eventually leave, I said, 'No, thanks,' " he said."
As a student of history most of my life, I can't recall a WH occupant that has ever been faced with this kind of reaction from our military leaders. They seemed to have figured out they are nothing more than political fodder used at his pleasure when it suits him. Otherwise they are seen as nothing more than underlings who's responsibility rests with showing constitutional deference and a sycophantic public posture at the expense of their own dignity when policies are in conflict with military practicality. Though I feel it couldn't happen to a better guy, I fear he as damaged the office of President in a way that is beyond repair.