One of the odd manifestations of America’s new enthusiasm for imperialism is, I suppose, that the capital is now full of gossip and intrigue regarding which generals will be assigned to which posts.
Meanwhile, because of the way these terms play out it’s worth noting that dealing with the inherited brass is would be a substantial challenge for a new Democratic president. Since these are theoretically apolitical jobs, a new president can’t just come in and clean house. But since the Bush administration will have been in charge for eight years most of which have been occupied by a politically controversial war, many top generals are now de facto political figures. If whoever’s running CENTCOM (and this may well be General Petraeus) of MNF-Iraq (or both) in January 2009 disagrees with the new president’s preferred Iraq policy, those people will be in a position to make life awkward for the new president. This is a concrete area where I do put some stock in the Clinton/experience argument, as she seems less likely to get rolled, though at the same time I have more doubts that her policy judgment would be the same as mine.