That Chain Of Command Thing

Charming report out of a source I have never heard of before, so I have no clue about the validity of the story (and doubt it is true, as what is being suggested is pretty insane), and readers should beware:

CENTCOM commander Gen. David Petraeus, supported by Defence Secretary Robert Gates, tried to convince President Barack Obama that he had to back down from his campaign pledge to withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Iraq within 16 months at an Oval Office meeting Jan. 21.

But Obama informed Gates, Petraeus and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen that he wasn’t convinced and that he wanted Gates and the military leaders to come back quickly with a detailed 16-month plan, according to two sources who have talked with participants in the meeting.

Obama’s decision to override Petraeus’s recommendation has not ended the conflict between the president and senior military officers over troop withdrawal, however. There are indications that Petraeus and his allies in the military and the Pentagon, including Gen. Ray Odierno, now the top commander in Iraq, have already begun to try to pressure Obama to change his withdrawal policy.

A network of senior military officers is also reported to be preparing to support Petraeus and Odierno by mobilising public opinion against Obama’s decision.

If this source is correct, and this is true, and if they can not follow orders, they can resign their commissions. It is that simple.

Obligatory Dwight Eisenhower farewell speech reference.

*** Update ***

Folks, the important part of this story is the fourth paragraph (that I have bolded). There is a word for that, and Republicans like to toss that word around. That is why I have said this report is insane if accurate.

Obligatory MacArthur reference.






113 replies
  1. 1
    Stu says:

    Perhaps a ‘firing MacArthur’ reference would be more appropriate.

  2. 2
    donovong says:

    That is one of the most thinly documented bullshit stories I have ever read, and it has been all over the fucking place. It is all the rage at The Orange Satan, as well as the bullshit about Obama keeping rendition.

    Pearl clutching over whornalism.

    And, no, that is not a typo.

  3. 3
    John Cole says:

    @donovong: Which is why I included all the caveats about buyer beware and what not.

  4. 4

    Perhaps someone should remind Generals Petraeus and Odierno about the end of Douglas MacArthur’s career. If President Obama needs a good speech he could crib from this. Of course if this is the case the wingnuts will go completely apeshit as most of them would love to suck David Petraeus’s cock (Which they’d much rather do than actually join the Army and go to Iraq because most of them couldn’t even do the requisite 10 pushups to keep them from getting sent from the reception station to Thunderbolt instead of their training company).

  5. 5
    linda says:

    fyi, ips — inter-press service is a good, reliable press institution.

    i too was reading this story earlier and thinking this is obama’s truman/macarthur moment. who was that general that went public denouncing obama’s policy just last week — that seems to be the first shot… this is really not good. and obama better put the brakes on these bastards immediately.

    and, along those lines, many here might find this paper frighteningly prescient:

    The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012
    CHARLES J. DUNLAP, JR.

    From Parameters, Winter 1992-93

    http://www.carlisle.army.mil/u.....dunlap.htm

  6. 6
    Polish the Guillotines says:

    Hang the scurvy dogs from the yardarm.

  7. 7
    srv says:

    If true, any competent leadership would have had a 16 month plan already prepped. Wasn’t that the point of all those Gates meetings back in Nov/Dec and keeping him as SecDef?

    And WTF has Gen. Jones been doing?

    If Petraeus is as ambitious as they say, he’s got his eyes on 2012, and Obama won’t be able to satisfy him one way or another.

    If they’re not playing good soldiers, expect the "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy change whiplash to get cranked up very soon.

  8. 8
    gopher2b says:

    This country is going to hell. I’m retreating to the mountains in preparation for the war/revolution.

    BTW, Senate GOP introduced an alternative stimulus package. Look like too much tax cuts but spending is far better. Take out the $200 Billion in tax cuts, add some nuclear power plants and some high speed rails and I’m sold. At least they’re learning.

  9. 9
    michael57 says:

    Is it just me, or did Petraeus look objectively ridiculous in his uniform at the Super Bowl? He looked like a Ken doll with flair. … and I had no idea he was that short. Even shorter than Wes Clark, it looked like to me.

    OK, more real substance in next post.

  10. 10
    scarshapedstar says:

    Sure, Petraeus might refuse to obey orders from his direct superior, but he’d never Betray Us. Heavens no. The man’s a living saint, an angel so pure the heavens couldn’t hold him, and there’s a little Virgin Mary face permanently imprinted on the spot where that Super Bowl coin hit the turf.

  11. 11
    tom p says:

    This is the part I don’t buy:

    A network of senior military officers is also reported to be preparing to support Petraeus and Odierno by mobilising public opinion against Obama’s decision.

    Petraues may have been reading too many of his own press clippings (none are immune to that) but the idea that a whole cadre of "senior military officers" will stand against centuries of American Military tradition just strikes me as a little too…. Red State.

  12. 12
    gopher2b says:

    and I had no idea he was that short.

    …and you know what that means…."United States of NORTH America" by 2016. Heard it here first.

  13. 13
    BDeevDad says:

    @michael57: Actually, we were wondering WTF he was doing there.

  14. 14
    Ash Wing League says:

    It’s getting to the point where it’s obvious that Petraeus is only doing this to get ready to run in 2012 against Obama. I really hope that not enough people will be stupid enough to fall for his bs.

  15. 15
    Athenae says:

    Several things could happen w/r/t Petraeus:

    1. Obama fails to listen to him, he and his friends pull their little PR stunt, Obama fires him, and he’s out on his ass in a country that may like him fine but that hates this war.

    2. Obama fails to listen to him, he backs down, he looks like a puss, his wingnut admirers desert him and everybody else forgets his name.

    3. Obama listens to him, and he has to keep riding herd on this mess of a war for six years or eight years or, in the words of John McCain, a hundred years, as the American public get increasingly disgusted and begin to blame not only the political leadership but the military leadership as well. Thus denying Petraeus any political future at all.

    4. Obama listens to him, he and his friends pull their little PR stunt anyway, and now you’ve got a weak president and the country basically being run by a general who may want the job but probably doesn’t want it RIGHT NOW, but owns it by virtue of setting himself above the Commander in Chief. You don’t just get to do the parts of the job you want to do.

    None of what’s contained here seems particularly forward-thinking to me. Yeah, it sounds good to rattle sabers and make noises but if they actually go through with anything it has to, you know, WORK, and I don’t see any way this ends up looking good for Petraeus.

    Not to mention which, it would totally fucking vindicate MoveOn.

    A.

  16. 16
    David says:

    As you know after reading Bacevich’s "The Limits of Power", the Pentagon apparently selects the most aggressive, most militaristic option every time. This isn’t surprising, really, as in increases the importance of the generals do, and creates lucrative jobs for them after they order our grunts to die for sand.

    No surprise here that the generals are playing politics. They lose their mojo.

  17. 17
    Comrade Stuck says:

    Bush didn’t choose these commanders just for their abilities. No doubt in my mind they were ideologically vetted beforehand, like everyone else in the Bushie world – the only maybe exception being Gates, but he’s not a military officer. Obama needs to get him some new Generals, looks like.

  18. 18
    BDeevDad says:

    I got one word for the RedStaters if Petraeus is ignored.

    Shinsheki

  19. 19
    Marshall says:

    I am a CEO, and IMHO he needs to call them in and make it clear – if they don’t do what he says, they will hear themselves dismissed from service on national TV.

    It is fine to speak up and oppose within channels, but anyone in the military who goes outside of channels, or publicly opposes, needs to be gone.

  20. 20
    Napoleon says:

    John,

    That has been reported in several venues. Obama should fire those generals (I thought i made that point here in a post a while ago but I can not find it).

    http://washingtonindependent.c.....on-hearing

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01.....wanted=all

  21. 21

    .
    It should be SOP that all top DOD appointees hand in their resignations within 30 days of Inauguration Day. Then the CIC can choose which resignations to sh*tcan, and which people, too. Any Admiral, Captain, Colonel or Generalissimo who doesn’t understand the concept "civilian control" needs to move to a real banana republic, rather than trying to turn the US into one.

    Our worst Presidents have been those who allowed civilian hawks and the military to push them around. It has led to disasters like Vietnam and Iraq. It doesn’t matter if the POTUS ever served in the military or not. Most of our greatest Presidents didn’t: Jefferson, Lincoln, Wilson, FDR. Washington, Jackson, TR and JFK knew what war was like, and how to handle the military. Johnson and Bush didn’t.

    We have elected a new leader, boys. Now follow or get out of the way. You screwed up in Iraq & Afghanistan, and you’re lucky to have jobs at all.

    Of course, if they get fired or are forced to resign, they’ll be welcome as snipers on the cable newsnets. And they’ll still get their fat pensions. Then there’s "consulting," lobbying, or working OPENLY for defense contractors. No worries. They can always hope for a new job in the next Repuke Administration, if they live long enough. Rumsfeld and Cheney did.
    .

  22. 22
    Ugh says:

    Reason eleventy billion to disband the army and raze the pentagon to the ground.

    The framers wrote the 2 year limit on military appropriations into the constitution for good reason.

  23. 23
    Napoleon says:

    Well Olbermann is doing a bit on this.

  24. 24
    Joe Max says:

    if they can not follow orders, they can resign their commissions. It is that simple.

    Exactly. If they can’t follow orders from their C.i.C. then they can resign.

    Just as many of the brass under Bush did. Until Bush and Rumsfeld found brass who agreed with them.

    This may be another of Obama’s clever moves coming to light. He kept a lot of Bush’s DoD intact, but it’s making it clear he’s going to be the one giving the orders. The ones who can’t bring themselves to obey will quit, saving Obama the blame (and bother) of having to dismiss them from the beginning.

    Barack Obama is one frighteningly competent politician. I’m really glad he’s on our side.

  25. 25
    JGabriel says:

    John Cole @ Top:

    If this source is correct, and this is true, and if they can not follow orders, they can resign their commissions.

    I’ve seen this too, I think it was at The Times and TPM. So, it’s probably true as far as it goes, but I suspect the "network" Petraeus is mobilizing is not as large or firm as he’d like (and that sounds dirtier than I intended it to).

    To repeat what others have also said, the first thing I thought of when reading it was Truman firing McArthur.

    Obama should kick Petraeus & Odierno right out on their asses if they’re really trying this. I suspect Gates’s role is being exaggerated by Petraeus or the reporter’s source, but if Gates is involved too, then it’s time for him to get kicked out too – really, it’s time anyway, I don’t understand why Obama kept him on.

    .

  26. 26
    Bill H says:

    In an interview on 1/28/09 Odierno spoke to the press at length about the schedule for leaving Iraq. His schedule didn’t begin for at least a year and did not reference any SOFA or presidential directives. The only criteria was "I think" in his schedule.

    McKiernan in Afghanistan speaks with Dan Rather about major incursions into and operations within Pakistan being necessary to "pursue victory" in that theatre.

    So, whether there is specific truth in the story you reference in your post or not, there is a problem with civilian control of our military.

  27. 27
    D-Chance. says:

    So much for that Obamamerica "listening to the commanders on the ground" thing… it goes the way of "no lobbyists", "transparency", and all that other garbage he was spewing pre-November ’08.

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Liars one, liars all.

  28. 28
    KCinDC says:

    How many generals did Bush go through trying to get ones that would tell him what he wanted to hear? I don’t remember hearing much outrage from Wingnuttia then.

  29. 29

    .
    ‘ A network of senior military officers ‘

    That would be FoxNews, ticker-symbol JUNTA.
    .

  30. 30
    priscianus jr says:

    You can bet that there are lots of military brass who agree with Obama but can’t say anything now because of the CMJ. All of them, as well as the many retired officers who definitely want the military out of Iraq, are definitely part of the picture here, even if only behind the scenes. Not to mention military rank and file and their families. I expect we’ll soon see some well-publicized criticism of Petraeus’ statements by retired generals.

  31. 31
    JGabriel says:

    @Bill H:

    … there is a problem with civilian control of our military.

    No one could have predicted that 8 years of Bush executive branch deference to the "commanders on the ground (as long as they agree with Bush)" would have led to this kind of military arrogance.

    .

  32. 32
    JGabriel says:

    priscianus jr:

    I expect we’ll soon see some well-publicized criticism of Petraeus’ statements by retired generals.

    I sure hope so. Honestly, I expect you’re right.

    .

  33. 33
    Tsulagi says:

    If this source is correct, and this is true, and if they can not follow orders, they can resign their commissions. It is that simple.

    Exactly, and this colonel should lead the way.

    A network of senior military officers is also reported to be preparing to support Petraeus and Odierno by mobilising public opinion against Obama’s decision.

    While something like this would send wingnuts like those in the RSSF into a starburst cascade likely hurting each other, just can’t see Petraeus and Odierno attempting that. They’re not stupid.

  34. 34
  35. 35
    Brett says:

    If this source is correct, and this is true, and if they can not follow orders, they can resign their commissions. It is that simple.

    Nowhere did it say that they have outright refused his orders, like MacArthur did to Truman (of course, MacArthur should have been sacked after Guadalcanal, but that’s a different story). They’re pressuring him to change the policy, but that’s an advisor’s right – unless you think the role of advisors in the Obama Administration should be to jump when he says jump and so forth. He needs advice, not flattery.

  36. 36
    demkat620 says:

    I can’t find the interview, but I remember Obama being grilled by Lauer or maybe Snuffleupagus during the general and the question being if you promise 16 months and Petreaus said no, I don’t think that will work, Obama said, it is the president’s job to listen to all the advice and then to set the policy. It will be the general’s job to carry it out. He subtley slapped at the General Dave worshippers and reminded people it is the presidents job to look at the whole picture not just Iraq.

  37. 37
    LItlebritdifrnt says:

    Wot John said, they can resign their commissions, they are totally in their rights to do that. So go ahead, resign. Go ahead, lets see you back up your statements with the courage of your commitments…..I will not hold my breath cause you know you don’t want to give up that hefty pay check every 15th and 30th of the month now would you? Give me a fucking break.

  38. 38
    Justin says:

    They’re pressuring him to change the policy, but that’s an advisor’s right – unless you think the role of advisors in the Obama Administration should be to jump when he says jump and so forth. He needs advice, not flattery.

    It’s their right and duty to disagree in private. Waging a PR campaign to pressure the Big O into changing his mind is tantamount to treason.

  39. 39
    T Paine says:

    Seems like a good time to put "Seven Days in May" on the Netflix queue…

  40. 40
    JGabriel says:

    Justin:

    Waging a PR campaign to pressure the Big O into changing his mind is tantamount to treason.

    It’s a firing offense, not treason. Let’s not get our panties bunched up into Red State Strike Force style wads, ok?

    .

  41. 41
    Elie says:

    I dunno — something about this seems a little too much like someone’s fantasy of what is going on…

    Nah — don’t buy it — yet. If it were true, as written ( which I doubt), these guys would be expressing a defiance of the expected acceptance of authority that would need to be arrested immediately..

    Why is it that I just feel that this is someone’s wet dream rather than a reality? Look at how much interest and melodrama it has illicited…

    ..And what better way to hint at the powerlessness of a powerful new leader than to make it seem like others of power are teaming together to take over…how very predictably racist…. esp since he just pinched the noses of the bank clowns…

    I am sure lots of these folks arent happy. But to publish an article hinting at something of a coup d’etat is really predictable for how some of our weaked former leadership would want to hitch up their pants a bit…

    my guess is that it is mostly bull for the prurient entertainment of some dead enders who are feeling a bit of flaccidity

  42. 42
    priscianus jr says:

    Ah, General Petraeus… I see we meet again…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9wtAqXq7Sg

  43. 43
    Emma Anne says:

    @cosanostradamus:

    from the wiki link:
    —–
    When a federal building in Oklahoma was attacked in 1995, the U.S. media blamed Arab terrorists. IPS was the first news outlet to maintain that white U.S. Americans from the ultraright had in fact committed the bombings. The assertion was finally confirmed and accepted by the mainstream media.

    IPS was the first to announce that the existence of asbestos worsened the contamination related to the 9/11 destruction of the World Trade Center in New York and the clearance works of Ground Zero. It led the way in consistently informing about the resulting health risks as well as the fact that most clearance workers were undocumented immigrants, who were not entitled to health compensation and got paid inadequately.

    The controversy surrounding the publication of a cartoon depicting the Muhammad in a Danish newspaper hit the international mainstream news in February 2006. IPS had already reported on Islamic organizations’ protests against the cartoon in November 2005.
    —–

  44. 44
    DougJ says:

    I don’t know anything at all about the military. And I support redeploying out of Iraq in 16 months a la Obama. But on the other hand, mightn’t we be better off if the military had pushed back harder on Rummy’s Iraq plans? I realize that civilian leaders have the last word on these things, but isn’t there a good side to having there be conflict such as this sometimes? (These are real questions, not rhetorical ones.)

  45. 45
    demimondian says:

    @JGabriel: Although, it is absolutely not treason, it is a criminal offense: dereliction of duty. Obama would be entirely within his authority to have Petraeus hauled in front of a court martial, and, in the event of a conviction, to publicly strip him of his honors and regalia before the members of his command.

  46. 46
    anonevent says:

    DougJ

    It does take both sides listening to each other, but we have a civilian in charge of the military because there are decisions outside of how to win the battle that matter. The problem with the last administration is they tried to avoid all responsibility – remember how it was the troops fault that we were losing in Iraq. The President leads the military, and as a leader he is responsible for his decisions.

    It sounds to me like Obama is asserting his authority, but he is also accepting the responsibility.

  47. 47

    […] might do John Cole, despite distrusting the source, posts about Petraeus and Odierno: If this source is correct, and this is true, and if they can not follow orders, they can resign […]

  48. 48
    Octavian says:

    Gareth Porter penned that piece. He’s done some great reporting in the past, but his pieces sometimes have a mediocre relationship with reality.

  49. 49
    DougJ says:

    Sorry, I missed this part originally:

    A network of senior military officers is also reported to be preparing to support Petraeus and Odierno by mobilising public opinion against Obama’s decision.

    If true, that is really bad they should resign, I agree.

  50. 50
    Nutella says:

    I suspect this story is a trial balloon sent up by Bush’s favorite generals and some of their political friends to see what reaction they get while maintaining plausible deniability. They can’t actually do it, though, unless Obama is a complete pushover and I don’t think he is.

    IANAL, military or otherwise, but as far as I know this is how it works:

    An officer who is unenthusiastic or uncooperative can be and should be relieved of command, which triggers immediate retirement. An officer who disobeys an order can be and should be court-martialed. If convicted, he is discharged (not retired) from the service and may also be jailed. If not convicted, his career is still ruined and he immediately retires.

    It is illegal for any service member to express any political opinions while in uniform. It is grossly improper, at least, for any service member to conduct a PR campaign unless directed to do so by a superior officer. Obama giving an order against that prevents every service member from doing so.

    So these generals are certainly correct to give their advice to Obama, but if they disagree with his orders they can either resign their commissions or request re-assignment. They cannot disobey without committing a crime for which they must be court-martialed.

  51. 51
    John Cole says:

    @DougJ: That is kind of the nut graf.

  52. 52

    President Obama will go through the motions. And then the images will emerge and the troops will be sent back in because of the images. The best thing for America would be to actually follow through with a troop withdrawal, and then cut a security deal with the dictator that emerges. Those who believe that Islam is compatible with democracy in even the medium term are foolish.

    Afghanistan is worse still. What do we hope to accomplish in Afghanistan?

    In my opinion, a defensive disengagement from the Islamic world is the best strategy. Let them live in whatever manner they wish, but end the Jizya. Let them take Europe, if they can pull it off, which I doubt. Good luck with Putin.

    Voluntary disengagement is unlikely because of all of the ‘experts’ who are making taxpayer money practicing their professions. The grandfather of that young mother of fourteen in the news is one of these. It should be noted that Ron Paul reportedly received the highest amount of active duty campaign contributions.

  53. 53
    Mike in NC says:

    Seems like a good time to put "Seven Days in May" on the Netflix queue…

    Good 1960s era movie; better book. Ironically, in the book the military coup against the president is based mainly on the US being stuck in a quagmire war in … IRAQ! … and not about a treaty with the USSR.

  54. 54
    Davis X. Machina says:

    I suspect ‘senior’ is an error-by-compression for ‘high-ranking but retired’.

    There’s a pool of politically engaged retired flag and general officers out there who weighed in from time to time in the recent campaign, on both sides, and doubtless will do so again.

    If they’re serving officers, then they’ve effectively ended their careers.

  55. 55

    […] Dingdong over at Balloon-Juice naturally is delighted and suddenly interested in blind military obedience to the führer. So much for consensus-building. […]

  56. 56
    DougJ says:

    @JC

    Yeah, I see that now.

  57. 57
    TenguPhule says:

    I realize that civilian leaders have the last word on these things, but isn’t there a good side to having there be conflict such as this sometimes? (These are real questions, not rhetorical ones.)

    Yes. But if you’re gonna disagree with the boss then you should be willing to face the consequences.

    Weasel Betrayus apparently wants it both ways.

    Fuck him hard with a spiked steel Ann Coulter Dildo.

  58. 58
    TenguPhule says:

    So much for that Obamamerica "listening to the commanders on the ground" thing

    Listening does not mean the same thing as "doing without question", D(ickweed)chance.

  59. 59
    TheHatOnMyCat says:

    If this source is correct, and this is true, and if they can not follow orders, they can resign their commissions. It is that simple.

    I agree. As they say: Buh-bye.

  60. 60

    @Mike in NC:

    Seems like a good time to put "Seven Days in May" on the Netflix queue…

    Bear in mind that the main inspiration for the book was the 1934 DuPont/American Legion plot to overthrow FDR before he could get the New Deal off the ground. When it came time for the film, there was added historical realism and relevance from the fight between Curtis LeMay and JFK over whether to nuke Cuba; JFK nixed bombing Fidel, which apparently led LeMay to start grumbling about forcing JFK out of office. JFK got revenge by forcing the Pentagon to let the Seven Days in May movie crew have access to pretty much every military site they wanted to put on film.

  61. 61
    morinao says:

    To follow up on Octavian’s comment, Gareth Porter is the one who reported that Fallon called Petraeus an "ass-kissing little chickenshit."

    I would think he is probably talking here about a network of retired senior officers, mainly because the villain of his article is retired four-star general Jack Keane, who starred in Bob Woodward’s book as the eminence grise who sold Bush and Cheney on Petraeus and the surge.

    Except that he explicitly states that Keane’s network includes "senior active duty officers in the Pentagon." Bad news.

  62. 62
    Mike in NC says:

    @ Phoenix Woman:

    JFK nixed bombing Fidel, which apparently led LeMay to start grumbling about forcing JFK out of office.

    We get our share of dickhead generals like LeMay, as well as actual patriots like Smedley Butler.

  63. 63
    John Cole says:

    Is it possible that D-Chance is actually Jules Crittenden?

    Since both of them are too silly to figure out the problem in this story, it is not that the military brass might have different ideas and objections. That is all well and good. The problem is the bolded portion- the actively working to subvert official policy:

    A network of senior military officers is also reported to be preparing to support Petraeus and Odierno by mobilising public opinion against Obama’s decision.

    This really is not hard. Well, for those two, maybe.

  64. 64
    brian griffin says:

    while he was re-reading lincoln, hope he was studying maclellan.

  65. 65
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @Jules Crittenden » Novice In Chief:

    naturally is delighted and suddenly interested in blind military obedience to the führer.

    Mr. Critterdumb just used up all his Godwin points for this month.

    Dingdong over at Balloon-Juice

    I thinks it’s for you Cole.

  66. 66
    AlphaLiberal says:

    Thank you for saying this!

    I hope Obama busts their asses. He’s the CINC!

  67. 67
    JGabriel says:

    BOB:

    Those who believe that Islam is compatible with democracy in even the medium term are foolish.

    The governements of Turkey, Indonesia, and Bosnia all disagree.

    .

  68. 68
    wilfred says:

    Ordinarily I’d agree with removing Petraeus et al., but if leaving Iraq a second too soon means sacrificing all our blood and treasure and leaving behind an Islamo-terrorist-jihad mongering-narcoburqa-flight training center for people who hate our freedoms then I’d have to say Obama should resign and we should temporarily suspend everything until Petraeus comes back from Gaul, or wherever.

    There really are no other alternatives, especially when we are in the midst of THE GREATEST WORLD ECONOMIC CRISIS IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD.

    Because of oil prices and such.

  69. 69

    .
    @Emma Anne:

    Yeah. I’ve posted links to IPS stories on my blog in the past. I’m always a bit nervous when I can’t find a second or third source on a controversial story. But they seemed reliable, generally, and the tame corporate media still weren’t picking up these stories. Or they were refusing to run the other side of a story, going for the right-wing herd mentality far too often.

    IPS was started in Italy by an Italian journalist and an Argentine political scientist in the 1960’s. Their expressed purpose was to feature news from the Southern Hemisphere, and from poor countries in general that were neglected by wealthy Northern & Western nations’ governments & media. I think they’re really coming into their own as an alternative news service, with the growth of the Internet.

    To some extent, we all rely on blogs and satirical reviews of the news on TV, because the MSM are all just corporatista propaganda and gossip any more. But you still need good, honest, unbiased hard-working reporters in the field in every country to really know what’s going on before a crisis emerges, and behind the scenes afterwards. You need deep background and independent sources, not glib government hand-outs. IPS has been doing this for a long time. With the US print media dying or going corporate, like AP, it’s good to know that there are other sources still working for us.
    .

  70. 70
    JGabriel says:

    Jules Crittenden, Neo-Dong:

    [L]et’s stop and consider how Bush and Rumsfeld got raked over the coals for disagreeing with generals. Looks like Obama’s disagreeing with his own SecDef as well. You’d think he wouldn’t want to argue with success …

    And bang my head just exploded.

    .

  71. 71

    […] Inquiring minds want to know. […]

  72. 72
  73. 73
    larue says:

    The author of the article in question, Gareth Porter, is well known.

    He quotes TWO SOURCES WHO SPOKE WITH PARTICIPANTS AT THE MEETING.

    That’s the source, clear and simple.

    Is it reliable? Ask yourself, why would Gareth Porter, a reknowned journalist and investigative historian risk his street creds for something so VOLATILE as this?

    Mock it if you will, but this IS or could be, easily, tantamount to a treasonous affair.

    Should a chasm between the Military/Pentagon and the Office Of The President open up, and get deep enough, we’d have ourselves some SERIOUS situation at hand.

    This could very well be the beginning of ‘change’ in how our system works. Obama’s taking control.

    He’s gonna face a LOT of resistance.

    And keeping Petraeus and Gates on to let them run with the GOP values we just unelected may clear his way to make them whipping boy obstructionists, and make a PUBLIC spectacle of them to sway public opinion.

    Obama is a MASTER political craftsman. He’s kept some of the bad guys around to prove that he tried to work with them, but they continue to fail. Brilliant way to eliminate and discredit the opposition.

    But there are a LOT of MIC/Pentagon/Big Biz War Machine people who stand to lose a well developed way of life that benefits the few and has screwed the many.

    This could be the tip of change to come. And it could get wierd fast at ANY point.

    We are in for heady times, on many fronts. Economy, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, privatization of war machine and in general, who profits from what and how, in our nation.

    Keep ample popcorn at hand, it’s gonna get exciting sooner than later, I believe. And this story is one to watch, closely. True or not, it’s one to watch.

  74. 74
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    I’d be interested to see if Bacevich has anything to say on this.

  75. 75
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @morinao:

    I would think he is probably talking here about a network of retired senior officers

    Who, if they are drawing retirement pay, are subject to the same UCMJ "contempt toward officials" provisions as Petraeus or any other active duty officer.

    Slate

  76. 76
    BFR says:

    A network of senior military officers is also reported to be preparing to support Petraeus and Odierno by mobilising public opinion against Obama’s decision.

    BOL with that Army dudes. People fucking hate the war in Iraq. They haven’t figured that shit out yet? That’s the whole damn reason Obama got elected in the first place.

  77. 77

    There is a saying that the farther you get from Mecca, the better; and Indonesia, Bosnia, and Turkey are in the hinterlands. But nonetheless:

    Turkey was taken from Theocracy by Ataturk, a dictator. It’s been a few generations, and the law banishing headscarves has recently been lifted. I believe that the military recently had to step in to correct the popular vote.

    My BFF the New York Times presents a piece on Indonesian democracy. Non-Muslim women must wear headscarves at this point in their history.

    I do not consider Yugoslavia as a model civilization that we should embrace. Here is a warning graphic story of a Serbian prisoner being beheaded. Believer + Infidel + Proximity = Problem. The BBC story is confused, but I believe the headline to be right, and the body of the story to be wrong. The reporter’s name is not mentioned, but I have my suspicions. Bosnians do the beheading, Serbians do the shooting.

    Here is to hoping that my response to JGabriel is not stuck in moderation.

  78. 78
  79. 79
    Elie says:

    Larue —

    Somehow "grabbing popcorn" is not what I would want to do if this story is real and things get as "interesting" as you suggest.

    He is a very popular President on the lip of momentous times. We voted him in there and I want him to stay there. Generals who do not obey THE PEOPLE need their heads on pikes — a time worn, tried and true, effective method used throughout history…

    You seemed to relay a somewhat disengaged attitude towards events. Would you REALLY be reaching for popcorn as though this was some sort of entertainment opportunity or be ready to reach for something else?

    It is OUR country — not just Obama’s and I am definitely unwilling to concede the word "interesting" to those in our military who would indeed plot such things…if true.

  80. 80
    Bill H says:

    Who, if they are drawing retirement pay, are subject to the same UCMJ "contempt toward officials" provisions as Petraeus or any other active duty officer.

    Citation please.

  81. 81
    mak says:

    I’ve always assumed that Petraeus – who did betray his oath by doing the republicans’ dirty work before Congress — would be out sooner or later, and Obama’s naming Shinseki to the VA only underscored that belief. Problem was, Petraeus has been canonized not only by RedStaters, but the MSM as well, so shitcanning him on Day One would have seemed too blatantly political.

    Now that he’s internalized his press clippings, though, he seems to think he can make Obama blink and/or kiss his ass as Bushie did. Wrong.

    Once again, Obama appears to have rope-a-doped another rival into an untenable position. Unless he and Odierno get the 16 month plan up and running fast, they’ll both be gone (if they’re not already on their way out), with ample public support, since we don’t much care for insubordination from our military. Welcome back, Admiral Fallon.

    If this episode doesn’t ruin him, though, Petraeus will run as the republican in 2012.

  82. 82
    JimPortlandOR says:

    Those in the active military who had the convo with Obama do owe him their opinions, popular or not.

    But they have no right to speak with others outside the room and give indications they oppose the President’s views or orders.

    To go further and organize or participate in a network of people organizing against the CIC is insubordinate behavior at best (a court-martial offense, but likely not criminal) and a conspiracy to violate their oath and the Constitution at worse. Also a court-martial offense with potential criminal penalties.

    I hope Obama and Gates), if he’s really on Obama’s side, are seeking out through quiet investigation where this info is coming from, because it is very damaging to the country’s reputation and respect for the law and Constitution.

    Right or wrong, the President is the CIC and must be obeyed by the military. If he’s wrong, the Congress is the only body that can overrule him – through impeachment. Any colonels and generals who doubt Obama’s judgement and carry it further than expressing to Obama their opinion are subject to military justice.

  83. 83
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Bill H:

    See the Slate article I linked to, which contains the UCMJ cites and also a decent discussion of the issues.

    Or, here’s a link to the UCMJ itself. The part about retired military personnel is at Art. 2 (a) (4).

    UCMJ

  84. 84
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    Curious as to what Bacevich might say (see above), I came across this interesting October piece:

    Was Petraeus the [GWB] administration’s willing dupe? Or was he shrewdly pursuing his own game that just happened to coincide with the administration’s? Who exactly was playing whom?

    The question still to be determined is this: what role does Petraeus foresee himself playing as this deeply politicized war extends beyond the Bush presidency? Will he confine himself to rendering disinterested professional advice? Should Barack Obama win the election, will the apolitical soldier bow to the wishes of his new civilian master — despite Obama’s opposition to the war in which Petraeus built his reputation? We should hope so.

    Yet by claiming to be apolitical — someone who stands "above" mere politics — Petraeus might also be positioning himself to assert a role not only in implementing policy but in shaping policy to suit his own agenda, in Iraq and elsewhere.

    HuffPo

  85. 85
    OriGuy says:

    We get our share of dickhead generals like LeMay

    The inspiration for Buck Turgidson in Dr. Strangelove. Also George Wallace’s running mate in 1968, although he wasn’t a segregationist.

  86. 86
    TenguPhule says:

    Believer + Infidel + Proximity = Problem.

    Yeah, our Fundamentalist Christians only hang witches.

    And bomb abortion clinics.

    And assassinate doctors.

    And murder gays.

  87. 87

    Let us debate the numbers TenguPhule. I say that the religion that I am concerned about bagged 566 dead bodies last month.

    And the Fundamentalist Christians?

  88. 88
    Glocksman says:

    Several years ago, I read Four Stars, a book about the history of the (pre Goldwater-Nichols) Joint Chiefs of Staff.

    One chapter disclosed that in 1967, the entire Joint Chiefs almost resigned as a body in order to protest LBJ’s handling of Vietnam.

    In the end, CJCS Wheeler changed his mind and talked the others out of it because he feared it would undermine the principle of civilian control of the military.

  89. 89
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    Wow, only 556 alleged fatalities despite a billion or so believers in proximity to infidels all that time.

    And wow again, almost all those alleged fatalities were other Muslims, not infidels.

  90. 90
    JoyceH says:

    This is the result of both the media and Petraeus himself falling for BushCo spin. What really happened was that the Bush administration went general shopping until they found a general who would tell them exactly what they wanted to hear, then when they found one, they built him up into this infallible authority so they could claim they were ‘listening to the generals on the ground’, and answered every criticism with a referral to …{drum roll} …A Man Called Petraeus.

    As for the situation in Iraq deteriorating, it’s far more likely to deteriorate if we DO follow the generals’ recommendations, ignore the agreement we signed with the sovereign Iraqi government, and get out of our commitment to leave by simply ‘recategorizing’ combat troops as ‘support troops’. That will convince plenty of Iraqis that the US never intends to leave (something that many of them believe already), and then watch the bombings and the US casualties start increasing again. Right now things are relatively calm because they’re hoping and expecting that we’re going to leave.

  91. 91
    morinao says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals

    The Slate article says they just can’t use personally contemptuous language when they badmouth the President’s policies; politely phrased "adverse criticism" explicitly cannot be prosecuted.

    Even the famously vindictive Rumsfeld didn’t try to throw this book at his retired military critics.

    Anyway, it’s the active-duty officers who would be the problem, since they would be undermining a chain of command they are still a part of.

  92. 92
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @morinao:

    I understand. My point was that being retired is not necessarily a distinction in that case.

    And yes, the active duty guys have the whole respecting the command issue.

    PS, I also agree with your earlier point about Keane being the lynchpin. Ya think if he could be separated from the pack the whole thing might be neutralized?

  93. 93
    morinao says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals:

    I wonder if Keane has been too overtly political to be credible now? My impression is that his influence derived mainly from having a direct personal channel to Bush and Cheney, bypassing Casey, Mullen, and even Gates…a shadow Chairman. A lot of people thought Keane was out of line for offering military advice to the President in competition with the JCS. Now that he is on the outside again, I imagine the JCS might push back pretty hard to keep him from getting between them and the President again.

    Regarding lynchpins, I suppose it depends on who is pulling whose strings these days, Keane or Petraeus?

  94. 94
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @morinao:

    Regarding lynchpins, I suppose it depends on who is pulling whose strings these days, Keane or Petraeus?

    Good question. Maybe each would like folks to think it’s the other.

  95. 95
    demimondian says:

    @Brick Oven Bill: Wow. Very few people remember the on-going murders of "unbelievers" committed by the Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army. I’m surprised you thought of that; it is organized religious murder, but most Western Christians ignore it, as it makes us look like hypocrites.

    You didn’t mean the LRA? Well, OK, but it’s a bit of a stretch to talk about the essentially religious component of the civilian deaths in Gaza and Lebanon in the same language. I mean, yes, Jews did kill hundreds of Muslim civilians in both cases, but the right of self-defense applies.

    You didn’t mean that, either?

    What did you mean, then, Brick Oven Bigot?

  96. 96
    BruceK says:

    If General Petraeus pushes any further, does Obama have the right to essentially say, "Your opinion is noted, Lieutenant Petraeus"?

  97. 97
    liberal says:

    @demimondian:

    I mean, yes, Jews did kill hundreds of Muslim civilians in both cases, but the right of self-defense applies.

    Nope.

  98. 98
    Rick Taylor says:

    Just to mention, the Bush administration paved the way for this when it began elevating Petraeus, the President deprecating himself and saying he was doing what the generals wanted him to do. He had to sell it as their policy, because by then his own ratings were in the toilet. The way the right treated him was very weird; any criticism was off limits. This is just the culmination of that.

  99. 99
    Nannergrrl says:

    "Do you know what the chain of command is? It’s the chain I go get and beat you with ’til you understand who’s in ruttin’ command here."

    It would boggle my mind that any general, regardless of his high public approval ratings, would get so inflated an ego that he would disobey a direct order from POTUS. That. Is a hanging offense.

    Or firing squad. I forget which.

  100. 100

    […] Not that complex. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous […]

  101. 101
    GSD says:

    So in other words, it will soon be advantageous to the political right for there to be discord in Iraq.

    Wait till we hear about the terrible civilian death tolls under President Obama.

    Can anyone say Banana Republicans?

    -GSD

  102. 102
    Fascist Hyena says:

    Sure–Obama will fire Petraeus. Right after he has Bush arrested. Dream on, loons.

    Meantime: Guantanamo detainees held hostage, day fifteen.

  103. 103
    itsbenj says:

    seriously, this is treason. these clowns can either say "yes sir!" or they can be dismissed. this is NOT their call to make. we in the US will not look kindly upon a military coup against this president. as in, if there is some kind of military insurrection against the government premised on staying in Iraq, it will be ‘burnin’ & lootin’ time.

  104. 104
    Mr Furious says:

    Hyena,

    I absolutely believe Obama would fire Petraeus without hesitating. I also believe he will never arrest Bush…

    Generals get relieved all the time. How many guys were in charge in Iraq? If Petraeus crosses the line, he’s done. Bet on it. He thinks he’ll be a politician one day so he wants to see if he can hit a major league fastball—but he’s a AA player stepping in against Mariano Rivera.

  105. 105
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    From the article:

    The opening argument by the Petraeus-Odierno faction against Obama’s withdrawal policy was revealed the evening of the Jan. 21 meeting when retired Army Gen. Jack Keane, one of the authors of the Bush troop surge policy and a close political ally and mentor of Gen. Petraeus, appeared on the Lehrer News Hour to comment on Obama’s pledge on Iraq combat troop withdrawal.

    Keane, who had certainly been briefed by Petraeus on the outcome of the Oval Office meeting, argued that implementing such a withdrawal of combat troops would "increase the risk rather dramatically over the 16 months". He asserted that it would jeopardise the "stable political situation in Iraq" and called that risk "not acceptable".

    It is shocking to consider that Petraeus evidently cannot be trusted not to leak confidential, if not classified, information. "Briefing" someone who has no official position whatsoever, and who is little more than a political operative, on a meeting in the Oval Office with the President of the United States? A meeting laying out the details of American military policy in Iraq? Giving this information to a political hack to launch a media campaign on your behalf?

    Petraeus should be quite publicly investigated and reprimanded. By DoD.

  106. 106

    I hope Obama knows well that the only thing the military will disrespect more than a disliked higher-ranking officer is one who is disliked, and weak, who knuckles under to bullying.

    I hope he points out to them to joys of retirement, and how much nicer it can be to retire now, with a nice speech and photo op, instead of getting fired, when it turns out they’re not willing to fulfill their new roles under a new CinC.

  107. 107
    Fascist Hyena says:

    "Our hope — our prayer– is that this President will finally listen. Listen to the Generals."

    (Harry Reid, January 19, 2007)

    As for the children here talking about "treason," a quick peek at Article II, Section 3 of the US Constitution will provide a quick dose of adult guidance.

    This war is now Barack Obama’s to lose. Should he fire Petraeus, or should Petraeus resign over their differences, a debacle in Iraq would ensure a one-term presidency.

  108. 108
    Fascist Hyena says:

    "Generals get relieved all the time. " No question about it. Popular and wildly successful theatre commanders in wartime do not; the last time it happened was MacArthur, and what he did was absolutely beyond the pale. Nothing that Petraeus has said or done to date, including what is being reported by these anonymous sources, warrants his firing, and unless and until he crosses the president in public he will not be fired.

    Obama is extremely lucky to have him, and he knows it. (And Petraeus could very well tell Obama, in private, "I won").

  109. 109
    JM says:

    Dchance @27 "So much for that Obamamerica "listening to the commanders on the ground" thing"

    No you got it wrong. Obama was interviewed during the campaign and said while he would listen to the commanders and take their views into account, that the role of the President was to set the objective and the strategy and that’s what he intended to do.

    And it’s exactly what he’s done here – something that Bush couldn’t do in a lifetime.

    Meet the new boss, very different from the old boss.

  110. 110
  111. 111
    Fraud Guy says:

    Just overheard on Rachel Maddow a reporter state that Odierno "is preparing a plan for withdrawal" and is planning on making suggestions to Obama on quickly removing troops. Seems like some sort of disconnect out there.

  112. 112
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Fraud Guy:

    Here’s what Saturday’s NY Times had to say:

    On Wednesday, Mr. Obama visited the Pentagon for the first time since becoming president, and he seemed to be looking for an option that would let him stay true to his campaign promise, at least in theory, without alienating the generals. The White House indicated that Mr. Obama was open to alternatives to his 16-month time frame and emphasized that security was an important factor in his decision.

    “We’re no longer involved in a debate about whether, but how and when,” Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, said about a withdrawal from Iraq. “That’s a process the president wants to take seriously.”

    . . .

    Among those consulted by the president was Gen. Ray Odierno, the top commander in Iraq, who has developed a plan that would move slower than Mr. Obama’s campaign timetable, by pulling out two brigades over the next six months. In an interview in Iraq on Wednesday, General Odierno suggested that it might take the rest of the year to determine exactly when United States forces could be drawn down significantly.

  113. 113
    Kenneth E. Tucker says:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....02839.html

    From, ‘You’re Not Accountable, Jack.; WaPo story.

    "We’re going to be here for 50 years minimum,…"We’re going to do it anyway because we don’t have a choice," Keane said. "So the issue is: Get over it. Come to grips with it." The Army didn’t want that. "It wants to end a war and go home. But that’s not going to happen."

    Keane is a war monger with corporate ties (KKR and more) and back room agreements with Cheney and Bush AND all of them stand to benefit from the war continuing.

    Believe it.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Not that complex. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous […]

  2. […] Inquiring minds want to know. […]

  3. […] Dingdong over at Balloon-Juice naturally is delighted and suddenly interested in blind military obedience to the führer. So much for consensus-building. […]

  4. […] might do John Cole, despite distrusting the source, posts about Petraeus and Odierno: If this source is correct, and this is true, and if they can not follow orders, they can resign […]

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