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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

"an ass-kissing little chickenshit"

It seems that General Petraeus's superior, Admiral William Fallon of CENTCOM, doesn't think very highly of his charge. Fallon derided him as a sycophant during their first meeting in Baghdad last March, and said that he considered him to be "an ass-kissing little chickenshit" adding, "I hate people like that". That remark reportedly came after Petraeus began the meeting by making ingratiating remarks that Fallon interpreted as attempts to gain his favor.

Fallon's derision toward Petraeus reflects not only the CENTCOM commander's personal distaste for his operating style and their fundamental policy differences over Iraq, but how Petraeus was installed as Bush's "front man" for the surge. That's widely viewed as a highly unusual political role for an officer who'd never assumed a war command before. According to a 2-7-07 WaPo report, Petraeus was placed in the office of Minority Leader Bitch McConnell (R-Closet) where he plead the case for the surge to senators who were approached on the floor and invited to hear his words in private. Fallon correctly interpreted Petraeus's role as pitch man for the surge policy in Iraq as putting his own interests ahead of a sound military posture in the Middle East and Southwest Asia -- the area for which Fallon's CENTCOM is responsible.

Fallon believes that we should be withdrawing troops from Iraq urgently, largely because of the greater dangers elsewhere in the region. He's very focused on Pakistan, which has once again become the main safe haven for al Qaeda as well as being an extremely unstable state with both nuclear weapons and the world's largest population of Islamic extremists, as well as trying to maintain a difficult status quo with Iran. Plans for continued high troop levels in Iraq leave no troops available for other contingencies in these regional hot spots.

One of Fallon's first moves upon taking command of CENTCOM was to order his subordinates to avoid the term "long war" - a phrase Bush and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates had used to describe the fight against terrorism - due to his concerns that the concept of a long war would alienate Middle East citizens by suggesting that U.S. troops would remain in the region indefinitely.

The conflict between Fallon and Petraeus over Iraq came to a head earlier this month, when Fallon expressed views on Iraq that were sharply at odds with those of Petraeus in a three-way conversation with the White House. While Petraeus argued for keeping as many troops in Iraq for as long as possible to cement any security progress, Fallon argued that a strategic withdrawal from Iraq was necessary to have sufficient forces to deal with other potential threats in the region.

Fallon's presentation to Bush of the case against Petraeus's recommendation for keeping troop levels in Iraq at the highest possible level just before Petraeus was to go public with his recommendations was yet another sign that Petraeus's role as chief spokesperson for the surge policy has created a deep rift between him and the nation's highest military leaders. As stubborn as we know Bush to be, he presumably would not have chosen to invite an opponent of the surge policy to make such a presentation without lobbying by the top brass.

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Blogger Parson said...

I think "ass kissing chicken shit" is a requirement to be employed at BushCo.

title="comment permalink">September 12, 2007 8:46 PM  
Blogger Mary Ellen said...

Isn't that fourth star on his uniform the "ass kissing chickenshit" star? I'm pretty sure it is. And if he keeps up the good work, he can get an "ass kissing chickenshit" medal of honor for this duty as chief ass kisser.

title="comment permalink">September 13, 2007 1:25 AM  

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