Thursday, September 13, 2007

Bush listens to the General--General "ass-kissing little chickenshit"

That's right, "an ass-kissing little chickenshit." Any moment, the wing-o-sphere will be ringing out with vicious condemnations of Admiral Fallon and the Navy he represents for "subverting the army as an institution," just as it has with attacks on MoveOn for questioning Petraeus's credibility in being tasked to deliver a report on the success of a strategy he came up with.

I don't know whether to credit the Right on this by observing that the inability to distinguish valid criticism of an individual from treasonous attack on the institution the individual represents, is merely an outgrowth of the "Great Man" theory of history that conservatives seem to incline towards, or whether to just chalk it up to typical, mindless, winger bullshit.

I'm sure Sexy Retard will help me decide.


Highlights:

WASHINGTON, Sep 12 (IPS) - In sharp contrast to the lionisation of Gen. David Petraeus by members of the U.S. Congress during his testimony this week, Petraeus's superior, Admiral William Fallon, chief of the Central Command (CENTCOM), derided Petraeus as a sycophant during their first meeting in Baghdad last March, according to Pentagon sources familiar with reports of the meeting.

Fallon told Petraeus that he considered him to be "an ass-kissing little chickenshit" and added, "I hate people like that", the sources say. That remark reportedly came after Petraeus began the meeting by making remarks that Fallon interpreted as trying to ingratiate himself with a superior.

That extraordinarily contentious start of Fallon's mission to Baghdad led to more meetings marked by acute tension between the two commanders. Fallon went on develop his own alternative to Petraeus's recommendation for continued high levels of U.S. troops in Iraq during the summer.

The enmity between the two commanders became public knowledge when the Washington Post reported Sep. 9 on intense conflict within the administration over Iraq. The story quoted a senior official as saying that referring to "bad relations" between them is "the understatement of the century".

Fallon's derision toward Petraeus reflected both the CENTCOM commander's personal distaste for Petraeus's style of operating and their fundamental policy differences over Iraq, according to the sources.

3 Comments:

Blogger sexyretard said...

Jeff,

Surely the confusion on the part of the right (not being able to distinguish between critiism of the individual and rejection of an entire institution) is no different from those who would say that criticizing Michael Vick and OJ Simpson is inherently racist or opposing abortion is the same as hating women. Of course many on the right are espousing this simplistic kind of thinking.......

At the same time, there is absolutely nothing in this Fallon's explanation that is either necessarily so (military leaders are just as political as politicians) or necessarily pertinent. Let's say that Petraeus has kissed ass--that is unfortunately the way into the door of tenure at colleges and standing in political parties local and state, and I reckon the military is little exception. Do you really think that when Pelosi and Hoyer worked together for another, they were the egotists they are today?

Oh no, kind sir, I'm quite sure they said please and thank you to people they found repulsive. I have every reason to believe that Fallon did as well, at one time or another. Perhaps he is even doing it, now, to elected Democrats.

So Petraeus acted in a manner that Fallon interpreted as kissing ass. So what? Even if true, that has no bearing whatsoever on the question of the success or lack thereof of the current war in Iraq. The left needn't bother impuning the motives of Bush and Petraeus; if indeed the two men's assessment of the war is inaccurate, then just say so and share with the class why the congressional democrats know better as to what is really happening (I don't exclude that from possibility, incidentally).

Conversely, maybe Fallon brings the homeless dinner every night and knows EXACTLY what he is doing. None of the seventh grade squabbling between military leaders has anything to do with the wisdom of any given action at any given time. If Fallon is acting immaturely (or if Petraeus is), that has no bearing on who is actually right. Unethical, brown-nosing or immoral men can be right or wrong in any given situation.

1:13 PM  
Blogger sexyretard said...

If Petraeus said that the war is a mistake but troops should be sent in anyway, I might call THAT foul, like, say, arguing that we are destroying the world with overconsumption, while, you know....

I'm also not surprised that military leaders with big egos who are always soluted by others do not get along. There is so much testosterone going through their veins that I'm surprised they didn't have a "mine's bigger than yours" contest rightg on the steps of the Capitol.

6:21 AM  
Blogger International House of Pedantics said...

I watched a few minutes of Petraeus Senate testimony. The moments I was had Patraeus sitting politely while Sentators droned on asking SEVEN MINUTE questions while primping for the local news.

Then I saw Petraeus last night interviewed on Charlie Rose. My sense of Petraeus from that (where he did actually get to speak at length) is that he is a very talented political creature. And this makes perfect sense as you don't get your fourth star without being a politician.

And I got the sense that he understands the politics in Iraq and he understands he has an almost impossible mission. He is threading the needle trying to align constituencies to get everyone to move enough in the direction he needs to have a slight chance of success (or at least getting out with his political life).

He has to deal with the White House and their rose colored political lens. He has to deal with Congress that their not so rosy political lens (and in both cases the lenses are political as everyone involved is as interested in future elections and legacies as they are in getting Iraq done right.)

Then, Petraeus has to deal with military leadership. I am sure he gets lots of pushback the rest of us don't see. The soldiers are overworked, undertained, undersupplied, and being put at risk for a war they all (well most) know we shouldn't be in. Their objections have some legitimacy; their politics is very nasty.

And then we get to the Iraqis and it gets really complicated. Petraeus has a Prime Minister who is making calculated decisions in order to keep power. His actions are not always aligned with Petraeus's needs, but he is the government. And, of course there are the Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish factions. And that is a plural number of factions for each constituency - all with their own power-bases, their own agendas, and their own sense of propriety.

Then we get the Turks, the Pakistanis, the Syrians, the Iranians, the Israelis, the Sauds, and a few other international factions. All of those nations hold multiple sub-groups making conflicting demands on Petraeus.

So... yeah, maybe he appears to be a synchophant. More likely, I think, is that he has enough fights, a strong ego, and no reason to stand up to windbags without just cause.

6:52 PM  

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