The American Military Cleans Up Again

Copyright 2007
Friday, January 19, 2007; 9:01 PM

A Red Line abandoned, an Admiral looking to the future, the smartest general around who's going to save the day.The change in American military leadership, from Rumsfeld on down, is also meant to put maximum pressure on the Democratic Congress and the American people. Announced before President Bush unveils his "plan" for Iraq this week, the message is clear: how can you not give the new team a chance?It is a brilliant move, if indeed that is the intended goal.I say intended because though we blithely assign viewpoints and positions to the generals -Abizaid against more, Petraeus for more troops - we do not really know what they counsel in private, nor what their true views are.Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus may indeed do a fine job, and in the end he may be credited with getting the U.S. military out of Iraq, victory or not.But I take the assignments of Casey and Fallon (and McConnell) as more indicative of a bigger move afoot. What we are witnessing is the real triumph of the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group: It is the reassertion of the power of the Washington over ideology, where the sanctity of institutions is shown to be more important than Iraq.The American military might not have been able to win the unconventional war in Iraq, but they are positioning themselves nicely to ensure that they win the post-war battle.

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