Blogged already, but worth a reprise:
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 policy context of Fallon's extraordinarily abrasive treatment of his subordinate was Petraeus's agreement in February to serve as front man for the George W. Bush administration's effort to sell its policy of increasing U.S. troop strength in Iraq to Congress.
In a highly unusual political role for an officer who had not yet taken command of a war, Petraeus was installed in the office of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, in early February just before the Senate debated Bush's troop increase. According to a report in The Washington Post Feb. 7, senators were then approached on the floor and invited to go McConnell's office to hear Petraeus make the case for the surge policy.
Fallon was strongly opposed to Petraeus's role as pitch man for the surge policy in Iraq adopted by Bush in December as putting his own interests ahead of a sound military posture in the Middle East and Southwest Asia -- the area for which Fallon's CENTCOM is responsible.
Listen to the commanders! But only if they suck up to Bush and the neocon's conceits and fantasies.
Update: Two more retired generals -- Lt. Gen. Robert Gard and Brig. Gen. John Johns -- join the call to withdraw.
The series of recent reports on the situation in Iraq add up to only one clear conclusion: while there has been some limited success in recent months, there is little if any prospect of resolving the insurgency anytime in the next decade, if not longer.
Therefore, it is our urgent recommendation that all U.S. forces be withdrawn from Iraq in an orderly but expeditious manner.
Those who argue that the United States should not leave Iraq any time soon, nor set a deadline for beginning to withdraw, point to potential disasters if the United States pulls out before Iraqi forces demonstrate the ability to maintain adequate security.
In point of fact, however, the situation in Iraq already is a disaster, both for the American military and for Iraqi civilians. Moreover, continued engagement in Iraq's civil war distracts the United States from our more urgent missions in Afghanistan and enhanced homeland security, stretches the U.S. military to the breaking point, inflicts psychological scars on returning veterans and breaks up their families, causes mounting American casualties, increases the drain on the U.S. treasury, and erodes our stature in the world.