As reported by Nancy Youssef this evening for McClatchy:
WASHINGTON — In a sign that top commanders are divided over what course to pursue in Iraq, the Pentagon said Wednesday that it won't make a single, unified recommendation to President Bush during next month's strategy assessment, but instead will allow top commanders to make individual presentations.
"Consensus is not the goal of the process," Geoff Morrell, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters. "If there are differences, the president will hear them."
Military analysts called the move unusual for an institution that ordinarily does not air its differences in public, especially while its troops are deployed in combat.
So much for the Petraeus Report. That’s the sound of America’s largest department collectively throwing its hands up in exasperation, shaking its head, and saying, "You deal with it, tough guy. We’re done with your asinine war. Have fun facing the American public."
Youssef went on to report:
"The professional military guys are going to the non-professional military guys and saying 'Resolve this,'" said Jeffrey White, a military analyst for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "That's what it sounds like."
White said it suggests that the military commanders want to be able to distance themselves from Iraq strategy by making it clear that whatever course is followed is the president's decision, not what commanders agreed on.
That bears repeating: The military commanders want to be able to distance themselves from Iraq strategy by making it clear that whatever course is followed is the president’s decision. This can be translated as: "Here, George. Hold this."
Morrell said the commanders will make their presentations to Bush at around the same time that Petraeus appears before Congress to assess progress in Iraq in mid September.
Morrell said that those making presentations to the president would include Marine Gen. Peter Pace, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. William Fallon, the commander of U.S. Central Command, which has responsibility for U.S. military actions in the Middle East, Army Gen. George Casey, the chief of staff of the Army, and Petraeus. In addition, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates will share his opinion with the president.
They’re pulling out the rug from beneath Petraeus before he’s even made his pitch. This is the Defense Department saying that while Commander Guy may have found one guy to hold the line on the surge, one guy is all he has.
Miers. Bartlett. Rove. Gonzales. The Defense Department.
Fresh out of friends.
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