Saturday, October 06, 2007

New military leaders question Iraq mission

McClatchy papers are reporting that the new military leaders in the Pentagon are questioning the way the extant "mission" in Iraq is conceived. These are the guys who have replaced General Pace and the others who went along with Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld. (We still wonder if those generals had been intimidated by the way General Shinseki was treated when he challenged Rumsfeld's plans.) Anyway, this is good news, although little remarked so far. RLC

Click on the title to link to the whole article.

By Nancy A. Youssef and Renee Schoof
McClatchy Newspapers

"Four and a half years after the nation's top military leaders saluted and fell in behind President Bush's pre-emptive invasion of Iraq, their replacements are beginning to question the mission and sound alarms about the toll the war is taking on the Army and the Marine Corps."
"The change at the Pentagon is striking but little-noticed, in part because Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a longtime veteran of the CIA, is quiet where his predecessor Donald H. Rumsfeld was not."
"top officials ... are concerned that the war may be crippling the military's ability to respond to other crises"
"Although Democrats in Congress have been powerless to halt or even slow the war, six developments have combined to produce growing resistance"
"1. The Democratic takeover of the Senate and the House of Representatives last January.
2. Bush's choice of Gates to replace Rumsfeld, one of the main architects of the war. Gates was a member of the independent bipartisan Iraq Study Group, which called for the United States to reach out to Syria and Iran and 'strongly urged' a drawdown in Iraq.
3. A shift, completed this week, in the military's top uniformed leadership from administration loyalists to officers who are more concerned about the growing strains on the military.
4. Mounting evidence, in a variety of official reports in recent weeks, that Iraqi forces won't be prepared to take over from American troops in significant numbers until late next year at the earliest, and that Iraqis have made little progress toward political reconciliation.
5. Mounting evidence, most recently in a United Nations report, that the war against al Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan is faltering, in part because Iraq is tying down so many U.S. troops.
6. Bush's low approval ratings and popular discontent with the Iraq war, which have prompted some legislators to reconsider their support for the president's policy as next year's elections approach."
"the change in outlook among many senior officials is unmistakable."

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