Sunday, September 09, 2007

Who Calls The Shots?

Frederick W. Kagan, writing in National Review:

As the debate over Iraq progresses, however, we must keep constantly in mind the perspective that the various generals bring to bear on the problem. The chiefs would be remiss if they did not advise the president and secretary of defense about the strains that this war — like all significant wars — put on the armed services. The commanders in the field would be failing in their task if they did not provide honest advice about what forces they need to win. The ultimate burden of decision falls upon the president. He must evaluate the relative danger of withholding necessary forces from commanders engaged in an important struggle against the damage that keeping more forces deployed for longer is doing to the military.

Read the rest, and take note of Kagan's tone. Not derisive, hostile, or condescending. The piece calmly and methodically lays out the command structure of the U.S. military, and then puts it in the context of the war.

This is a military historian writing, not a pandering partisan. Kagan writes in response to growing reports among the media that a battle is brewing between the war generals and the joint chiefs.

However, much like everyone forgot the surge legislation required the White House to prepare the report to Congress, war critics have selective amnesia when it comes to the chain of command.

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