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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Listen To The Commanders, Unless...

General John Abizaid, the "on the ground commander" in Iraq found out today that all the talk running up to the election about listening to the commanders was just standard election time talk.

Abizaid wasn't pulling punches, admits there are problems, but doesn't see either a huge influx of troops, or a timetable for withdrawl as the answer in Iraq. Which of course got the folks who (think they) know better up in arms.

His opening statement to the House wasn't what Democrats wanted to hear:
"At this stage in the campaign, we'll need flexibility to manage our force and to help manage the Iraqi force," Abizaid said. "Force caps and specific timetables limit that flexibility. We must also remember that our enemies have a vote in this fight. The enemy watches not only what we do on the ground, but what we say and do here at home."

Something else was said that doesn't get any air time here in the US, and I'm sure tweaked a few of the folks on capital hill.
(from AP) Alluding to Washington's partisan battles over Iraq, Abizaid said that when he visits the U.S. capital he senses a "despair" that does not exist in Iraq when he visits with Iraqi officials or with American troops and their commanders.

A lot of milbloggers and others have written on the web about that fact, but evidently it's not something that the Hill gang get to hear enough, and should hear more.

Here's my 2 cents worth to DC, for the last year you've been bitching GWB hasn't listened to his commanders enough. Well, they just spoke to Congress, now, are you going to listen?

Senator McCain, while you are right, folks here are tired of the status quo, the truth is that doesn't mean that what Abizaid thinks should be done is wrong. Quite honestly you more than most in Congress should understand that mixing political expediency with military operation has never been a winning combination.

Senator Clinton and Rep. Levin, while you are both experienced lawmakers, you aren't the folks I want making decisions for the military. Leave that to the Generals please.

And to everyone on Capital Hill, you need to learn something about leadership. Sometimes leadership is listening to those below you and making changes. Sometimes it's listening to your peers and making changes. And, more times than not, leadership is explaining to your peers, superiors, and the folks below you in the ranks why things are going to be how they are going to be, and telling them to get over it. I understand that is a concept pretty much 180 degrees at odds with being a politician, but it's the way life works in the real world of the military, where people die because of stupid political decisions.

Abizaid showed leadership today, standing in front of his superiors, the civilian leadership of the country, and telling you that you are wrong. The question is, do you folks on capital hill understand leadership, and will you take in anything he said?

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Blogger shoprat said...

Of the generals who were critical of our President's policies, I wonder how many got their stars from Slick Willy.

7:48 PM  
Blogger Attesa said...

Heya, CP, when you get a chance, would you please email me at akrache@gmail.com? Thanks. :)

8:01 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Shoprat, I don't think that's a relevant as some people think. Only few (of the hundred or so) senior and flag officers I worked with were political in nature.

They had political opinions, but nearly all seemed to understand that being political was a death sentence amongst the peers for all but a handful of very skilled people.

5:11 AM  

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