Bush is for his generals before he’s against them

Bush has a developed a pattern of using, then abusing military leaders. See, Bush himself never, ever bears any responsibility for the failure in Iraq. It’s not his fault. Ever. Dan Froomkin explains:

President Bush says that he should be trusted on military issues because he listens to his commanders. But he has a tendency to celebrate his generals when they’re providing him political cover — then stick a knife in their backs when they’re no longer of any use to him.

Last week, Bush rejected any blame for the chaos that ensued in Iraq after the March 2003 invasion. So whose fault was it? Bush pointed the finger at Gen. Tommy Franks, the Central Command chief at the time. “My primary question to General Franks was, do you have what it takes to succeed? And do you have what it takes to succeed after you succeed in removing Saddam Hussein? And his answer was, yes,” Bush said.

That’s the same Tommy Franks to whom Bush awarded a Medal of Freedom in 2004.

And when virtually all of Bush military line of command, including the entire Joint Chiefs of Staff, opposed his “surge” proposal late last year, Bush responded not by listening, but by removing the top two commanders responsible for Iraq and replacing them with more amenable leaders, including Army Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus.

Petraeus, as it happens, wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post just five weeks before the 2004 election describing what he called “reasons for optimism” in Iraq. Now Petraeus is Bush’s “main man.” Maybe he should be watching his back.

Thomas E. Ricks writes in Sunday’s Washington Post: “Almost every time President Bush has defended his new strategy in Iraq this year, he has invoked the name of the top commander, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus.

“Speaking in Cleveland on Tuesday, Bush called Petraeus his ‘main man’ — a ‘smart, capable man who gives me his candid advice.’ And on Thursday, as the president sought to stave off a revolt among congressional Republicans, he said he wanted ‘to wait to see what David has to say. I trust David Petraeus, his judgment.'”

Yet Ricks continues: “Some of Petraeus’s military comrades worry that the general is being set up by the Bush administration as a scapegoat if conditions in Iraq fail to improve,” he writes. “‘The danger is that Petraeus will now be painted as failing to live up to expectations and become the fall guy for the administration,’ one retired four-star officer said. . . .


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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