The Politico leaked word today that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) was critical of outgoing Joint Chiefs chairman Gen. Peter Pace and Iraq commander Gen. David Petraeus during a conference call Tuesday. Reid reportedly called Pace “incompetent.”
Within hours, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) released a statement charging that Reid’s remarks were “incredibly disappointing” and “highly inappropriate.”
McCain’s outrage is pure hypocrisy. Last February, when Gen. George Casey stepped down as the top U.S. commander in Iraq and was nominated as Army chief of staff. McCain was highly critical of his appointment, going so far as to issue an “extremely rare public reprimand” to Casey during a Senate hearing:
While there are very pressing questions about the future of the Army, you will, of course, in this hearing be asked to review the mistakes in American strategy in Iraq during your command, how the previous Iraq strategy was formulated, why it failed, and why it was not changed sooner, and the lessons that were learned…And you’ll need to explain why your assessment of the situation in Iraq has differed so radically from that of most observers and why your predictions of future success have been so unrealistically rosy.
Apparently only John McCain gets to have an opinion on high-ranking military officials.