Tuesday, September 9, 2008

George W. Bush

Here's an interesting report. Back in September 2007, Petraeus was struggling with an unsupportive chain of command (Fallon and company). Jack Keane makes a back-channel report to the vice-president and then to the president.

Keane repeated what he had just told Cheney: The JCS and Adm. William J. Fallon, Petraeus's boss at Central Command, were insisting on studies and reports to justify even the smallest request for more resources for Iraq. Their persistent pressure, pushing Petraeus for a faster drawdown, was taking its toll.

"There is very little preparation," Keane said, "for somebody who grows up in a military culture to have an unsupportive chain of command above you and still be succeeding. You normally get fired." The result, he said, is that Petraeus "starts to look for ways to get rid of this pressure, which means some kind of accommodation."

Bush said he wanted Keane to deliver a personal message to Petraeus from his commander-in-chief. After Bush laid out his thoughts, Keane went to the large West Wing lobby, sat among the couches and chairs and wrote out the president's words....

"I respect the chain of command. I know that the Joint Chiefs and the Pentagon have some concerns. One is about the Army and Marine Corps and the impact of the war on them. And the second is about other contingencies and the lack of strategic response to those contingencies.

"I want Dave to know that I want him to win. That's the mission. He will have as much force as he needs for as long as he needs it.

"When he feels he wants to make further reductions, he should only make those reductions based on the conditions in Iraq that he believes justify those reductions. These two concerns that we are discussing back here in Washington -- about contingency operations and the needs of the Army and the Marine Corps -- they are not your concerns. They are my concerns.

"I do not want to change the strategy until the strategy has succeeded. I waited over three years for a successful strategy. And I'm not giving up on it prematurely. I am not reducing further unless you are convinced that we should reduce further."

I respect that. As Commander In Chief, Bush did the right thing here.


"The presentation or 'gift' of the Holy Ghost simply confers upon a man the right to receive at any time, when he is worthy of it and desires it, the power and light of truth of the Holy Ghost, although he may often be left to his own spirit and judgment." --Joseph F. Smith (manual, p. 69)

Be pretty if you are,
Be witty if you can,
But be cheerful if it kills you.

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