Archive for the ‘Generals’ Category

U.S. Military Adjusts Toward Confidence in Obama

November 30, 2008

Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, went unarmed into his first meeting with the new commander in chief — no aides, no PowerPoint presentation, no briefing books. Summoned nine days ago to President-elect Barack Obama‘s Chicago transition office, Mullen showed up with just a pad, a pen and a desire to take the measure of his incoming boss. 


By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 30, 2008; Page A01

Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen speaks with The Associated ... 
Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen speaks with The Associated Press during an interview at the Pentagon, Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

There was little talk of exiting Iraq or beefing up the U.S. force in Afghanistan; the one-on-one, 45-minute conversation ranged from the personal to the philosophical. Mullen came away with what he wanted: a view of the next president as a non-ideological pragmatist who was willing to both listen and lead. After the meeting, the chairman “felt very good, very positive,” according to Mullen spokesman Capt. John Kirby.

As Obama prepares to announce his national security team tomorrow, he faces a military that has long mistrusted Democrats and is particularly wary of a young, intellectual leader with no experience in uniform, who once called Iraq a “dumb” war. Military leaders have all heard his pledge to withdraw most combat forces from Iraq within 16 months — sooner than commanders on the ground have recommended — and his implied criticism of the Afghanistan war effort during the Bush administration.

But so far, Obama appears to be going out of his way to reassure them that he will do nothing rash and will seek their advice, even while making clear that he may not always take it. He has demonstrated an ability to speak the lingo, talk about “mission plans” and “tasking,” and to differentiate between strategy and tactics, a distinction Republican nominee John McCain accused him of misunderstanding during the campaign.

Obama has been careful to separate his criticism of Bush policy from his praise of the military’s valor and performance, while Michelle Obama‘s public expressions of concern for military families have gone over well. But most important, according to several senior officers and civilian Pentagon officials who would speak about their incoming leader only on the condition of anonymity, is the expectation of renewed respect for the chain of command and greater realism about U.S. military goals and capabilities, which many found lacking during the Bush years.

“Open and serious debate versus ideological certitude will be a great relief to the military leaders,” said retired Maj. Gen. William L. Nash of the Council on Foreign Relations. Senior officers are aware that few in their ranks voiced misgivings over the Iraq war, but they counter that they were not encouraged to do so by the Bush White House or the Pentagon under Donald H. Rumsfeld.

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How will military greet Obama?

November 9, 2008

Barack Obama will enter the White House without any military experience and with a playbook that emphasizes diplomacy, behind a president who waged two wars and presided over some of the largest-ever defense budget increases. 

So, how will President Obama be received at the Pentagon? Much depends on his first moves. 

One of his senior security advisers, former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.), said even though the president-elect has experience on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he’ll need a strong defense team that works together well. 

“He will have to pay a lot of attention to a secretary of defense and the close advisers to the secretary,” Hamilton said. “The whole military, national security establishment will be watching that with care.” 

And since the military is trained to follow orders, insiders say it is receptive to the change of command. 

The military needs to be ready to offer its advice while scrupulously avoiding any attempt to shape the agenda, said a senior defense official familiar with the transition. “It is to everyone’s benefit to shorten the learning curve for whoever is coming in,” he said, especially because this is the first wartime transition since 1968.

From Politico

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Russia Moves to Reduce “Bloat” In Military, Especially Hierarchy

October 14, 2008

Moscow is moving to reduce what it calls “bloat” in its military forces, especially among the Generals and Admirals of the hierarchy.

A man looks at a newly installed Topol RS-12M mobile missile ... 
A man looks at a newly installed Topol RS-12M mobile missile on display at the Artillery Museum in St Petersburg October 14, 2008. Russia’s defence minister announced on Tuesday he is to slash the number of generals and officers in a drive to streamline the bloated armed forces, local news agencies reported. Russia has increased military spending as part of an effort to re-establish itself as a global power, but the new cash has not delivered radical improvements — a failure analysts put down to corruption and inefficiency.REUTERS/ Alexander Demianchuk (RUSSIA)

Thailand: Banned Book Indicates “Fascist-Like” Regime

January 11, 2008

The (Australia)
January 11, 2008

Thailand’s banning of a rare “warts and all” biography of revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej could risk an eventual explosion of pent-up political tension, an academic says.

“Banning books is usually something we associate with fascist and repressive regimes,” Australian anthropologist Annette Hamilton told a seminar on the book The King Never Smiles at an international Thai studies conference in Bangkok on Thursday.

“When silence is enforced for a long time, noise – when it comes – is deafening.”

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Muhammad reports: Some In Pakistan Applaud Mrs. Bhutto’s Death; Some Mourn

December 27, 2007

Dear John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Dear Sir,

Whole Pakistan has plunged into complete choas after the killing of PPP Chairperson Benazir Bhutto in Rawalpindi. The reaction is very severe in various parts of the country including the tribal areas.

Presently the terrorists have been celeberating the killing of great leader of Pakistan as she was the last hurdle in their way.

What will be the future of Pakistan? No one knows as there is complete confusion all over the country.

The death of Benazir Bhutto, the last hope of people of Pakistan has been received with great shock and terror. At the moment there is terror everywhere. The administration is also confused as they do not know how to control the situation.

Dear Sir, please remember us in your prayers and good wishes. We have been needing your good wishes and sympathies and help. At the moment I am in Peshawar, the capital of North West Frontier Province where the situation is out of control as loud voices of firing can be heard from everywhere.

Again thank you very much,

Yours sincerely,

Muhammad Khurshid
Khar, Bajaur Agency,Tribal Areas Pakistan

Petraeus Helping Pick New Generals

November 17, 2007

By  Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 17, 2007; Page A01

The Army has summoned the top U.S. commander in Iraq back to Washington to preside over a board that will pick some of the next generation of Army leaders, an unusual decision that officials say represents a vote of confidence in Gen. David H. Petraeus‘s conduct of the war, as well as the Army counterinsurgency doctrine he helped rewrite.

The Army has long been criticized for rewarding conventional military thinking and experience in traditional combat operations, and current and former defense officials have pointed to Petraeus’s involvement in the promotion board process this month as a sign of the Army’s commitment to encouraging innovation and rewarding skills beyond the battlefield.

Some junior and midlevel officers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan have been particularly outspoken in their criticisms, saying the Army’s current leadership lacks a hands-on understanding of today’s conflicts and has not listened to feedback from younger personnel.

Gen. David Petraeus was called the

Gen. David Petraeus was called the “archetype” for new Army leaders. (Maya Alleruzzo – AP)

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Amateur experts

September 15, 2007

Thomas Sowell
September 15, 2007

Sometimes I feel as if I must be one of the few people left in America who is not a military expert. For example, all sorts of politicians have been talking about all sorts of ways we ought to “redeploy” our troops. The closest I ever came to deploying troops was marching a company of Marines to the mess hall for chow.

But people who have never put on a uniform are confident they know how our troops should be redeployed. Maybe this is one of the fruits of the “self-esteem” taught in our schools instead of education.

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Generals: Troops need to stay in Iraq

July 21, 2007

By ROBERT BURNS and LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press

BAGHDAD – U.S. military commanders said Friday the troop buildup in Iraq must be maintained until at least next summer and they may need as long as two years to ensure parts of the country are stable.

The point
was driven home by Gen. James Conway, commandant of the Marine Corps, who said in an address Friday at the National Press Club that a premature withdrawal could fuel Islamic extremists, spread terrorism and force the U.S. back into the fight.

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