Friday, February 5, 2010

Accountability begins in the White House

According to the Washington Post, military commanders are facing harsher penalties in combat failures. This is an awful catch-22 for military officers leading troops in the field. Our military is under-resourced and Obama has been slow to provide more troops because of naive campaign rhetoric and a need to appease the peace at any cost left. It should be noted, and not forgotten, that General David McKiernan was fired from command in Afghanistan for breaking with conventional wisdom and asking for more troops - a move that was politically insensitive, exactly what Generals are supposed to be. McKiernan was the first casualty of the White House's effort to shift blame from the Commander-in-Chief to the Commanders in the field. The saddest part of all of this is the role that  Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has played. Gates began in the Bush Administration with a strong and independent, "I don't care who's President attitude." He has since lost that independence and has done an about face on several major defense policy matters, i.e. the Next Generation Bomber, and has sat by while the President blamed the military for failures that are a result of executive dithering. His behavior is unfortunate and I believe his legacy will be tarnished as going from junk yard dog to lap dog.

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