Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The "War President" Vs. The Generals

President Bush has been saying all along that he is conducting the Iraq war per the recommendations of his Generals on the ground.

There is one big caveat. The Generals had better not advocate strategies that conflict with the big picture at the White House.

The Bush administration is split over the idea of a surge in troops to Iraq, with White House officials aggressively promoting the concept over the unanimous disagreement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to U.S. officials familiar with the intense debate.

Sending 15,000 to 30,000 more troops for a mission of possibly six to eight months is one of the central proposals on the table of the White House policy review to reverse the steady deterioration in Iraq. The option is being discussed as an element in a range of bigger packages, the officials said.

But the Joint Chiefs think the White House, after a month of talks, still does not have a defined mission and is latching on to the surge idea in part because of limited alternatives, despite warnings about the potential disadvantages for the military, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the White House review is not public.

As recently as Nov. 15, Gen. John Abizaid, head of the U.S. Central Command told the Senate Armed Services Committee that U.S. commanders are opposed to sending more troops because a surge would only have a limited effect and would result in further strains on an already overstretched military.

Obviously President Bush understands the situation better.


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