I wrote a Current yesterday on Admiral Fallon’s resignation, mostly focused on Iran. Now, though, it looks more like Iraq was the main issue with David Petraeus wanting to do a small-scale “de-surge” and then pause indefinitely, while Fallon, his commanding officer, wanted to withdraw troops more aggressively. But Bush agreed with Petraeus and so that’s what you get.
This goes back to what I was saying yesterday about civilian control and double-standards. The military is a big organization and, of course, top officers disagree about stuff. Bush, because he’s a Republican and because he’s a hawk, has been able to get away with portraying “accepting the advice of officers who agree with Bush” as a form of letting policies be determined by commanders on the ground rather than politicians in Washington. A Democrat, by contrast, isn’t going to get any benefit of the doubt from the press, isn’t going to get any benefit of the doubt from the officers, and isn’t even going to be able to count on the support of his own party’s members of congress.