The Military

Amid the Rancor, Partisan Consensus Emerges on Iraq

The USA Today headline coverage of Petraeus's statement says it all: "Parties Disagree on Timing of Troop Withdrawal." The debate over Iraq has now wound down into a matter of tens of thousands of troops and a few months one way or the other.

General Betray Us?

My friend John Feehery touched on this earlier today, but just astounds me with their shrill rhetoric and inflammatory nonsense. In case you haven’t seen it (and please don’t do them the favor), MoveOn took out an ad in The New York Times this morning in advance of Gen. David Petraeus’s testimony before the House of Representatives today. 


God help the skeptic. We are vilified as troublemakers whose suspicions about our institutions are unpatriotic and subversive. We should show some respect, dammit.

Like respect for our military leaders. The ones, for instance, who managed to lose track of some nuclear armed missiles, only to find they were attached to bombers flying over the United States. There were enough "to destroy several cities," and the mistake, which we've always been assured "can't happen," did happen. No one knows why. 

Bring Troops Home by Christmas and Bring More Home Next Year

While they are more or less public and direct, here are some of those who now oppose a continuation of the Iraq escalation and favor a reduction of American troops in Iraq starting this year and continuing into next year:

  • Gen. Peter Pace and a strong majority of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with Pace now quoted as believing we should withdraw about half our troops during 2008.

  • GOP Sens. John Warner (Va.) and Richard Lugar (Ind.), with Warner now wanting to withdraw 5,000 troops by Christmas.

  • A majority of high-level officials throughout the military and intelligence communities.

  • Secretary of Defense Bob Gates.


Selective Disservice

Quick. Let's review the choices. What can be done to prevent our all-volunteer armed forces from being "stretched and stressed" beyond the breaking point? 

Protesters at the Gate

Last week, America honored the 62nd anniversary of V-J Day. While I celebrated the anniversary from Alaska, one of the battlegrounds of that terrible war, I received an e-mail from a friend of mine who is on active military duty. He informed me that a regular part of his commute to the military base where he works is being greeted at the main gate by protesters. Waving rainbow flags, banging on drums, and chanting, their message invariably demands immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq, an end to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, and a seeming passionate desire for the U.S. Air Force to fund its bomber acquisitions solely through the use of bake sales. Last week, the protesters rolled out a new message: The U.S. should be condemned for dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 

Close Guantanamo Bay?

Listening in to the president’s news conference this morning, I couldn’t help but wonder what the highly educated members of the White House Press Corps propose we do with the terrorists currently being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. To recap, the Guantanamo Bay facility in Cuba houses terrorists and enemy combatants who have been captured on the battlefield in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Despite the fact that these prisoners are given prayer rugs to practice their faith, three square meals a day and treatment better than the American soldiers who are guarding them, a mantra persists in the media that we should close Guantanamo. Mind you, not one allegation of torture has been proven and captured terrorists have admitted that they are trained to allege torture at the hands of their American “captors.”  

Is Pat Tillman a Hero?

In this video, Armstrong Williams discusses the Pat Tillman investigation, and how he thinks the public should not sensationalize the death of a soldier.


Yeasayers, Naysayers

There is one White House unit, at least, that is top-notch. The crackerjack quick-response team acted with lightning speed to flood our BlackBerrys with a mass e-mail this week. They made damned sure we knew that two think-tankers were, uh, thinking that the situation in Iraq had become a bit less dire. It was reminiscent of a country music lyric: "I've been down so much, down seems like up to me."

Sen. Reid Is Right About Gen. Petraeus

In a democracy it is extremely unhealthy to put any commander in the position of being the de facto commander in chief for credibility.

It is true, the president's credibility is in tatters with a majority of the American people and world opinion doubting the truthfulness of his word. No war policy can be sustained when an overwhelming majority of the nation has lost confidence in the war and in the integrity of the commander in chief.

This is not merely obvious, or my opinion. This is what Republicans have told the president and what the strong majority of Senators and members of the House, in both parties, believe.

No general should be asked to substitute his name for credibility that can only be held by the commander in chief. No general should be used as a political shield, a political football, a public relations talking point, or a lobbyist in chief.