Monday, January 15, 2007

Petraeus is in Charge

Interesting to note that Lt. Gen. Petraeus is calling the shots on the new troop surge, and his advice is being followed over that of Gen. Casey.

From the NY Times:

The new strategy required more American forces, and the generals initially had different views as to how large the American troop reinforcement should be.

Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the top American commander in Iraq, and Gen. John P. Abazaid, the leader of the United States Central Command, who have long argued that sending too many troops would put off the day when the Iraqis would take responsibility for their own security, initially had a more modest approach. According to a senior administration official, they thought two additional American combat brigades would be sufficient for Baghdad. A third would be held in reserve in Kuwait and two more would be on call in the United States.

But Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, whom Mr. Bush has selected to replace General Casey, wanted to ensure that he had enough troops to carry out what by all accounts will be an extremely challenging mission. He sought a commitment that all five combat brigades would be sent.

Mr. Bush opted for the larger commitment. Five brigades are to be sent to improve security in the greater Baghdad area — an increase of about 17,500 troops that will double the American force involved in security operations there.

Nice to see that the new approach appears to be more than window dressing.

Update 1: A pretty good explanation of the strategy and it's ramifications from Hugh Hewitt's site.

Update 2: and for local coverage from the other side. Keep in mind that this was posted before Bush's speech.

And yes, I realize that I am way behind, I still have some other dated articles coming in addition to my hopeful roundup of the Lisa James Luncheon tomorrow.

3 comments:

sirocco said...

Well, Gen. Petreus had some leverage Gen. Casey did not -- Petreus could have refused the position unless he was provided what he felt he needed.

Mind you, _if_ we are going to have a "surge", it should be as big a surge as possible. Half-measures have turned out well over half-badly so far.

I am sure I am not the only one who gains the impression (fair or not) that our President, to some degree, simply went around looking for candidates to replace Casey until he found one who would support his pre-made decision to escalate, whether that's truly the best idea or not ... kind of like how intel has been cherry-picked in teh past ... or science ...

Framer said...

I have never gotten that Bush was a micro-manager, in fact I believe that the opposite is demonstrably true. It also seems that whenever Bush policy meets the State Department or any other entrenched bureaucracy, trouble ensues, due to the very fact that these departments are allowed to act at cross purposes. There is certainly not much of an iron fist involved in "putting people in line."

That being said, I believe that the Casey doctrine has not been very successful post shooting war (as should have been obvious in hindsight, as Frank has pointed out), and Petraeus, in the areas that he has been involved in Iraq, has been. I would be inclined to follow his advice, especially in crunch time. There is now upside in Bush dictating war policy, and he knows it.

The more important part of "the surge" I believe will be the change of the rules of engagement. We have already done things in the past week that were not allowed under the previous rules. If Iran and Syria wish to participate, we should adjust accordingly.

sirocco said...

I agree changes needed to be made, and by all accounts Petreus is a bright, innovative guy who has been successful on a local scale in the past.

I'm not automatically against an escalation ... I lean against it in it's current state though. If we are going to do it anyway, I'd like to do it right (something I've said in the past) ... which to my mind means a lot more troops, a draft if necessary, and the recognition this is a multi-year commitment which requires sacrifices amongst all Americans.