Lots of personnel moves in the national security department. John Negroponte is out as Director of National Intelligence and in as Deputy Secretary of State. Harriet Miers will no longer be in charge of explaining why torture is legal. What’s more, David Petraeus won’t be taking my advice and will instead assume command in Iraq where the world will get to see his counterinsurgency theories fail. Zalmay Khalilzad will be out as ambassador in Baghdad and move to Turtle Bay instead (John Bolton, I guess, will spend more time with his family).
Khalilzad’s replacement will be Ryan Crocker, a career foreign service officer with an interesting resumé. At the moment, he’s ambassador to Pakistan. During the late Clinton years, however, he was ambassador to Syria and he was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs during the early Bush/Powell years. With Crocker and Petraeus leading the team in Iraq, I don’t think it will any longer be viable to claim that the mission is failing because it’s being run by hacks and know-nothings; the mission will fail because the mission is impossible. Last, in a break with precedent Bush will put a Navy officer, Admiral William Fallon in charge of Central Command.