Some might call this treason:
A network of senior military officers is also reported to be preparing to support Petraeus and Odierno by mobilizing public opinion against Obama’s decision [to abide by the promises he made to the people who elected him and require] the military leaders to come back quickly with a detailed 16-month plan [to withdraw from Iraq].
Just a reminder to the jingoistic war bloggers who think St. Petraeus is infallible, the people of this great land are sovereign, and they have spoken. Their elected representative is General Petraeus’s Commander, and he has spoken. This stuff is a damn sight closer to actually betraying our nation than anything the New York Times ever dreamed of doing.
What a horrible state of affairs that President Obama’s first major military challenge would come from within the ranks of our own troops. You really should read the whole article and see how political influences have infiltrated the command structure of the General Staff, already geared to undermine the President.
Keane, the Army Vice-Chief of Staff from 1999 to 2003, has ties to a network of active and retired four-star Army generals, and since Obama’s Jan. 21 order on the 16-month withdrawal plan, some of the retired four-star generals in that network have begun discussing a campaign to blame Obama’s troop withdrawal from Iraq for the ultimate collapse of the political “stability” that they expect to follow U.S. withdrawal, according to a military source familiar with the network’s plans.
The source says the network, which includes senior active duty officers in the Pentagon, will begin making the argument to journalists covering the Pentagon that Obama’s withdrawal policy risks an eventual collapse in Iraq. That would raise the political cost to Obama of sticking to his withdrawal policy. [my bold ~Mark]
The fact that they are conspiring openly enough that the press can track their mutinous mission and name the names speaks volumes about the arrogant disrespect they have for the will of the people they are charged to protect, the Constitution they swore to defend, and the command structure of civilian leadership over uniformed personnel.
Of course, in a more authoritarian regime, like Soviet Russia, North Korea, or the Bush Administration, Keane would be thrown in Gitmo as an enemy agitator and Petraeus and Odierno would be sacked. But not here, not anymore, and the conspirators are taking full advantage of a malleable press that would never question their counsel lest they risk the wrath of a modern day Caesar returning victoriously from Gaul, which is exactly what the Petreaus wing of the GOP wants to do.
Keane had operated on the assumption that a Democratic president would probably not take the political risk of rejecting Petraeus’s recommendation on the pace of troop withdrawal from Iraq. Woodward quotes Keane as telling Gates, “Let’s assume we have a Democratic administration and they want to pull this thing out quickly, and now they have to deal with General Petraeus and General Odierno. There will be a price to be paid to override them.” [again, my bold ~Mark]
MacArthur acted much the same way the generals are threatening today, commanded much the same deference from the press, and completely undermined his President. Truman’s conflict with MacArthur destroyed Harry’s popular appeal, for a while, but it also ended Mac’s political ambitions. I hope that both Obama and Petreaus will avoid a similarly costly show-down. Somehow I’ll bet that military folks will push the envelope, however, and Petraeus will kill his chances of being Sarah Palin’s running mate.
America won’t tolerate losers, especially sore ones — not two of them.
I also trust that Obama is as good or better politician than Petraeus is a general, and I’ve no doubt that Petraeus cannot match Obama in the political arena where he has no legions to command and Obama can unleash the many-million-mouthed dog. The old-timers at the Pentagon may sneer at Obama’s lack of military experience, but they really are in misunderestimating territory if they really believe they can outflank him politically by insisting on prolonging this deeply unpopular war.
I wonder if they even recognize Obama’s pronouncement that a “substantial number” of our troops would be home for the next Superbowl as the shot across their bow that it was. While the General was on the field in Tampa, flipping a coin, the President was speaking to tens of millions of Americans directly about living up to his promise.
Petraeus was visibly unhappy when he left the Oval Office, according to one of the sources. A White House staffer present at the meeting was quoted by the source as saying, “Petraeus made the mistake of thinking he was still dealing with George Bush instead of with Barack Obama.”
I guess Petraeus got his own version of “I won.”