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April 23, 2008

Impressions on Military Shifts
Posted by Shawn Brimley

In addition to Ilan's good points, today's shifts highlight four things to me:

First, it clearly reflects a desire for some continuity in Iraq over the presidential transition – this is a good thing. With Ambassador Crocker retiring in early 2009, this will ensure that at least the top military commander in Iraq will stay consistent through the transition. Wartime transitions are inherently dangerous, and I'm glad Gates and Co. are thinking this through.

Second, this may be interpreted by some as a blow to the institutional Army, as Gates seems to have clearly weighed in on the debate between MNF-I and the Services on resources. With Chiarelli (Petraeus' key aide) replacing Cody as Vice-Chief of the Army, it sends a clear signal that the requests of field commanders will be favorably received (this really isn't news as Odierno was previously slotted for Vice-Chief before Admiral Fallon's resignation shifted things).

Third and related, it likely further reflects Gates' growing frustration with the Services (manifested in his comments this week to the Air Force), that there is not enough urgency from force providers.

Finally, it signals that those in the Army who are very forward-leaning on COIN innovation and adaptation will be rewarded, which is also a very good sign. See here for articles in Military Review by Petraeus and Chiarelli.

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Comments

Gates criticism of the Air Force maybe a way for him to curry favor in a potential John McCain presidency. Elen Ratner, on the Thom Hartmann show, says that since John McCain is an ex-naval aviator he has an hatred towards the Air Force and by criticizing it, Gates hopes to keep his job. Also even though the Army seems to be adopting more COIN tactics that won't really help the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan since they are primarily political problems that cannot be solved militarily.

The Petraeus article wouldn't load for me. Anyhow, I'm sure that all those Semites, Arabs and Persians in the Middle East are just thrilled that General Petraeus, ass-kisser supreme, will be looking out for them. Perhaps the Repub VP nod will go to him if Lieberman declines.

The Petraeus article wouldn't load for me. Anyhow, I'm sure that all those Semites, Arabs and Persians in the Middle East are just thrilled that General Petraeus, ass-kisser supreme, will be looking out for them. Perhaps the Repub VP nod will go to him if Lieberman declines.

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