During the Iraq war, the Central Command (CENTCOM) head — who leads U.S. operations in the entire Middle East region — and the Multinational Force Commander (MNF) have regularly testified together about the course of the war in Iraq.
Former-MNF Commander Gen. George Casey and his CENTCOM Commander Gen. John Abizaid constantly briefed Congress about the situation in Iraq and its regional effects. In at least four public hearings after Casey took office in 2004, the pair testified together:
Senate Armed Services [6/23/05]
House Armed Services [6/23/05]
House Armed Services [9/29/05]
Senate Armed Services [9/29/05]
In January, President Bush replaced Abizaid and Casey, who were “surge” skeptics, with Adm. William Fallon and Gen. David Petraeus. This week, Petraeus — in the first public hearings since taking on his new role — delivered his Iraq assessment to great media fanfare. But where was his boss, Admiral Fallon? Inter-Press Service suggests animosity between the two might be one reason for Fallon’s absence:
Fallon told Petraeus [in March] that he considered him to be “an ass-kissing little chickensh*t” and added, “I hate people like that”, the sources say. That remark reportedly came after Petraeus began the meeting by making remarks that Fallon interpreted as trying to ingratiate himself with a superior.
The Washington Post reported this weekend that there is an internal military debate, described as “Armageddon,” brewing between Petraeus and Fallon because the two men have “profoundly different views of the U.S. role in Iraq.”
Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) announced today that he will be asking Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) to call Fallon to testify on “his views on the region.” Webb decried the lack of independence in Petraeus’s reporting, observing that there are “a lot of control factors going on that haven’t been visible” from the one-sided testimony of Petraeus:
WEBB: [T]here’s something of a kabuki going on right now. You know, the Petraeus report was brought in. On the one hand they’re calling it independent; on the other, General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker, from my understanding, gave a one-hour exclusive interview to Fox News after their first day of testimony. [...]
So it was a very narrow and focused two days of hearings…we need to hear from people like Admiral Fallon and others to get a sense of how the region is in play. … He was, by many accounts, questioning keeping these troop levels this high. [...]
So I’m going to be recommending to Senator Levin that we get Admiral Fallon in and get his views on the region.