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Top U.S. General Will Step Down

Posted on Dec 20, 2006

Gen. John Abizaid, head of U.S. Central Command and the military chief of the Iraq fiasco, will retire in March. Though officials say Abizaid tendered his retirement before Rumsfeld was pushed out, his departure will allow Defense Secretary Robert Gates and President Bush more flexibility in their Iraq makeover, as Abizaid has been a dogged opponent of increasing troop levels.

Los Angeles Times:

Abizaid has been the primary architect of U.S. military strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan since becoming head of the U.S. Central Command more than three years ago. He has strenuously resisted calls to increase troop levels to quell rising violence in Baghdad, arguing it would increase Iraqi dependence on Americans.

But a growing number of current and former officers have embraced the idea, some of whom have briefed President Bush as part of his monthlong review of Iraq policy, and the White House is believed to be considering the move.

“If you’re going to change the strategy, in fairness to [Abizaid], let him go,” said a former senior Pentagon official who has worked closely with the general. “He’s given it all he’s got, in terms of personal sacrifice.”

Abizaid’s planned departure clears the way for new Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to recommend his own commander, a decision current and former Defense officials say is nearly as important as the new administration strategy expected to be unveiled by Bush in January.

These officials said Gates faces a clear choice between generals who have agreed with Abizaid’s push to quickly hand over security responsibilities to Iraqi forces and a small but increasingly influential coterie of officers backing a more aggressive U.S.-led counterinsurgency campaign.

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By DennisD, December 21, 2006 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment
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The “Sway Forward” continues in D.C. - getting rid of any and all voices of dissent. It hasn’t taken Gates long to show that he’s nothing more than another Bu$h hand puppet. Now playing at the theater of the absurd on the Potomac “NEOCON’S REVENGE or: How we learned to stop brooding and love this war”. The saddest part is that the people responsible will all golden parachute out in the end. Like the sweepers following the elephants at the circus, the American taxpayer will be held “accountable” for both the human and material cost of this debacle. It’s just another re-run of a bad history lesson that we’ve all seen before.

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By Bill Vogt, December 21, 2006 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment
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It doesn’t take a history professor to recognize the parallells with Viet Nam in this ‘war’. Everything which has happened in Iraq could easily have been predicted just by following the script in Viet Nam.  Now, the idiot-in-chief will ramp up the soldiers, many more Iraqis and Americans will die, and we will wind up worse than before we started, as we will be evacuating the last people while the Iraqis are storming the gates of the Green Zone.

There will, of course, be a bloodbath, as ‘Coalition’ collaborators are then put to the sword, much like what happened in Viet Nam and France following the German’s occupation. We are just in the process of providing them with many more collaborators to kill once we decide (as we surely will) to cut and run.

Does anyone study history anymore, or is American Idol more important to Americans? I suspect the latter.

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By rae2, December 21, 2006 at 10:05 am Link to this comment
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If this guy gets any more “awards” he’ll need to hire an EXTERIOR decorator! He looks as if he’s been an explosion in a salad factory!

Does he know he looks more ridiculous than a Philippino traffic cop whose uniforms, at least in past, had so much gold braid, brass buttons and other do-dads, the wearer could hardly get out of his chair!

In my opinion, the more you SHOW OR TALK ABOUT how great you are, or have been, the LESS GREAT YOU REALLY ARE in spite of whatever accomplishments are to your credit. But he’s American… and Americans have never been big on humble or humility.

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By jkoch, December 21, 2006 at 7:34 am Link to this comment
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Abizaid has been on the AEI-PNAC neocon hit list for over a year.  They have itched to see him get the boot because he refused to send masses of US troops into Iraq’s streets to do what Iraqis cannot or will not do themselves.  Abizaid knew this was impossible.  The neocons, on the other hand, know nothing, and listen less, but are seething with anger and shame over the falure to pacify Iraq and prepare the field to invade Iran.  M. O’Hanlon, K. Pollack, Eliot Cohen, and F.W. Kagan now see the chance to have Gates appoint an Owen Thursday to lead US grunts to don their armor and launch a “do or die” whack-a-mole campaign, slated to begin by June, just as Iraq becomes a furnace.  Perhaps best to pull Gen. Keane from retirment, give him a two pearl-handled pistols, and let him personnally lead the 24/7 seize, hold, and build strategy that yielded such wonderful results in ... Neverland.

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By rabblerowzer, December 21, 2006 at 4:17 am Link to this comment
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EDITORIAL Los Angelos Times
Uncle Sam needs more
Bush’s call for a larger military is the right thing to do, even if the president’s reasons miss the mark.

“The U.S. remains the world’s sole superpower, but the nation no longer has enough men and women under arms to shoulder its responsibilities. By that we don’t mean ill-conceived adventures like the war in Iraq, but the preparedness to react to unforeseen crises. One reason the armed forces are too small is that the *Pentagon’s military-industrial complex favors spending money on costly gadgetry, some of it unnecessary, over such prosaic things as a foot soldier’s pay. But the scary truth is that with roughly 150,000 troops tied down in Iraq, the U.S. is hardly in a position to react effectively to a major crisis elsewhere.

*Make that “the Military-Industrial-Congressional (Pork) complex favors spending money on costly gadgetry, some of it unnecessary, over such prosaic things as a foot soldier’s pay.”

Forget trickle-down economics. Our troops are the first to sacrifice, and the first to be sacrificed.

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By vet240, December 20, 2006 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment
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I think all retiring Generals should have to do three tours in Iraq at no higher than the rank of Major, assigned to combat units, boots on the ground. Give’m a taste.

Presidents wouldn’t be any help. All the KP duties are done by high dollar contractors!

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By TAO Walker, December 20, 2006 at 9:25 pm Link to this comment
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Continuing to call the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq a “war” is like calling what happens on a “game farm” a hunt.  And for a lot of the same reasons.  The problem, of course, is that calling it that puts those engaged in it into a “war” frame-of-mind.  Granted, “the violent suppression of armed resistance to foreign military occupation, the attempted installation of a puppet government, and corporate theft of valuable national resources” could get a little cumbersome at times.  Even so, it would at least have the virtue of being a much more honest characterization of what’s actually happening “on the ground” in Iraq.
So even if the Pentagon can break-free somewhat from its “conventional”-ist tendencies, just being the ‘drug-of-choice’ for what supposedly ails Iraq means the military will have to go on pretending it’s in a real war, because otherwise it has no plausible business being there at all.  Talk about being strung-up by your own ‘petard.’
But what the hell….once you’re trapped on the ‘wrong’ side of the looking glass anyhow, just about anything you say WILL be taken down and used against you in a kangaroo court of last resort.  So thoroughly ensnared in the neo-con pipe-dream, it is guaranteed that the now only almost “broken” army will be wrecked beyond repair by the time America’s imperialist delusions reach their pre-ordained bitter end.
Yet, gaggles of professional experts will go on talking about it all as if the whole crazy scheme is quite normal and makes perfect sense.  Which it probably does in that hot-house environment where most of them do their ‘thinking.’ 
It really doesn’t matter which general commands the military portion of America’s rape-and-pillage operation in Iraq….or how much make-up the politicians and their corporate sponsors’ trained pundits plaster over the ugly face of what they’re doing to the people there.  Eventually it’ll all come out in-the-wash…..which might come in the form of war-crimes trials for those who “gave the orders.”

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By Rodney Matthews, December 20, 2006 at 5:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What else is new? If you swallow your principles, suck up to the powers that be,become loyal to the Bush Adminstration while losing the respect of the soldiers you are suppose to lead,as well as your moral authority, then you can have a career as a general in the military. However,if you are a man of integrity,commands and demands respect,is loyal to your soldiers instead of your career, then it’s time to leave the military. That’s the decision many generals have to make in order to serve under this adminstration, You have to ignore this lies, distortions,unnecessary deaths, bad planning,looting of U.S treasury and loss of the moral authority that once made our country great. It’s a tough decision to make especially you are close to earning a pension or leaving early and getting nothing. The men who are eligible to leave bail out as soon as they can. The rest either quit or continuing serving, looking the other way, remaining silent, and singing god bless america because america can do no wrong. Those who continue serve under these conditions must have a hard time looking at themselves in the mirror,but that the delimma they are left with for serving for such immoral ,dispicable people as Bush,Cheney,Rumsfeld,and Rice.

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