Here comes the new boss; same as the old boss

It was announced today that President Bush will replace the top commander in Iraq, Gen. George Casey, Jr. with Army Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, who is currently commander of the Army’s Combined Arms Center at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.  In my opinion, one brilliant, intellectual soldier-statesman is being replaced by another intellectual whose accomplishments during previous tours in Iraq have been viewed by some with an almost religious devotion to post-modern warfighting theory while ignoring the true outcomes of his decisions.

The change of the top commander in Iraq was first publicized earlier this week by John Podhoretz in the New York Post.  According to Podhoretz the message the President was sending was that he:
…has lost confidence in the strategy and tactics designed and implemented by the generals running the war.  They have, as the Times put it, "become more fixated on withdrawal than victory."
Why would the President think that Petraeus would do anything differently than Casey?  Perhaps he and his advisors have been bamboozled with grand tales of Petraeus’ pacification efforts in Mosul when he was commander of the 101st Airborne Division.  This and the other “engagement” effort in Fallujah by the US Marines are so steeped in myth and legend that normally reasoned military commentators such as Ralph Peters blindly promote these events as brilliantly executed plans on the cutting edge of counter-insurgency theory.

In reality, the Mosul experiment was an exercise in bartering with the enemy.  Placing stability over the requirement to hunt down the remnants of Iraq’s Army, Petraeus placed Saddam - era General and former high - level Baathist, Mahmud Muhammad al - Maris, in charge of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps [ICDC] units guarding the border in the vicinity of Mosul.  Later, the security situation in Mosul had deteriorated so badly that major combat operations were undertaken at the end of 2004 to restore order in the rebellious city.  The Fallujah experiment was just as disastrous.

Under Casey, this technique of essentially co-opting high ranking Sunnis with bribes of power and position continued in 2005 despite opposition from fellow officers who were forced to halt key offensive operations as part of these deals.

The end result of these fiascos for Petraeus was a stint at the Army’s “think tank” at Ft. Leavenworth, and a chance to make headlines by writing yet another field manual on counter-insurgency.  That’s all we needed was intellectual rationalization for not killing the enemy, and another 200-plus page manual that Soldiers can stack on top of the other twenty or so manuals  on the subject.

It could be that the culture has changed within the ranks of our military hierarchy, and that Gen. Petraeus will become the tough leader focused on victory that we so desperately need.  But I’m not holding my breath.
It was announced today that President Bush will replace the top commander in Iraq, Gen. George Casey, Jr. with Army Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, who is currently commander of the Army’s Combined Arms Center at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.  In my opinion, one brilliant, intellectual soldier-statesman is being replaced by another intellectual whose accomplishments during previous tours in Iraq have been viewed by some with an almost religious devotion to post-modern warfighting theory while ignoring the true outcomes of his decisions.

The change of the top commander in Iraq was first publicized earlier this week by John Podhoretz in the New York Post.  According to Podhoretz the message the President was sending was that he:
…has lost confidence in the strategy and tactics designed and implemented by the generals running the war.  They have, as the Times put it, "become more fixated on withdrawal than victory."
Why would the President think that Petraeus would do anything differently than Casey?  Perhaps he and his advisors have been bamboozled with grand tales of Petraeus’ pacification efforts in Mosul when he was commander of the 101st Airborne Division.  This and the other “engagement” effort in Fallujah by the US Marines are so steeped in myth and legend that normally reasoned military commentators such as Ralph Peters blindly promote these events as brilliantly executed plans on the cutting edge of counter-insurgency theory.

In reality, the Mosul experiment was an exercise in bartering with the enemy.  Placing stability over the requirement to hunt down the remnants of Iraq’s Army, Petraeus placed Saddam - era General and former high - level Baathist, Mahmud Muhammad al - Maris, in charge of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps [ICDC] units guarding the border in the vicinity of Mosul.  Later, the security situation in Mosul had deteriorated so badly that major combat operations were undertaken at the end of 2004 to restore order in the rebellious city.  The Fallujah experiment was just as disastrous.

Under Casey, this technique of essentially co-opting high ranking Sunnis with bribes of power and position continued in 2005 despite opposition from fellow officers who were forced to halt key offensive operations as part of these deals.

The end result of these fiascos for Petraeus was a stint at the Army’s “think tank” at Ft. Leavenworth, and a chance to make headlines by writing yet another field manual on counter-insurgency.  That’s all we needed was intellectual rationalization for not killing the enemy, and another 200-plus page manual that Soldiers can stack on top of the other twenty or so manuals  on the subject.

It could be that the culture has changed within the ranks of our military hierarchy, and that Gen. Petraeus will become the tough leader focused on victory that we so desperately need.  But I’m not holding my breath.