The Pentagon has had it with picking up the slack from civilian agencies in Iraq, grumbling its concerns to the president and even Congress. The military has been forced to fill jobs that otherwise would be performed by civilians, mainly from the State Department, which, unlike the Army, can’t force people to work under the nightmarish conditions it helped to create.
New York Times:
Senior military officers, including members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have told President Bush and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates that the new Iraq strategy could fail unless more civilian agencies step forward quickly to carry out plans for reconstruction and political development.
The complaints reflect fresh tensions between the Pentagon and the State Department over personnel demands that have fallen most heavily on the military. But they also draw on a deeper reservoir of concerns among officers who have warned that a military buildup alone cannot solve Iraq’s problems, and who now fear that the military will bear a disproportionate burden if Mr. Bush’s strategy falls short.
Among particular complaints, the officers cited a request from the office of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that military personnel temporarily fill more than one-third of 350 new State Department jobs in Iraq that are to be created under the new strategy.
At a Senate hearing on Tuesday, Mr. Gates made clear that he shared the officers’ concerns, telling senators, “If you were troubled by the memo, that was mild compared to my reaction when I saw it.”
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