Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Pentagon Throws Petraeus Under The Bus.

Check out these conflicting stories about the Turkish military bombing the Kurds in northern Iraq.

First, The Guardian reports that General Petraeus first learned about the attacks as they were happening:
State Department and Defense Department officials in Washington and Baghdad said top U.S. commanders in Iraq didn't know about the incursion until the first of two waves of Turkish planes were already on their way - either crossing the border or already over it.

The Turkish military did not inform the American military as quickly as had been agreed. That meant the U.S. had to rush to clear air space for the incursion, two defense officials and a State Department official said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

One Washington official said the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, was angered by the development. Another said American diplomats complained to the Turks about it.
There may well be a fine reason that General Petraeus was not warned about the coming incursion: The Iraqi government would freak out at having Turkey invading Iraqi territory, and General Petraeus has to work with those folks to try to get this quagmire on firmer ground. If Petraeus could come out expressing shock and dismay at the Turkish incursion it would make his job a lot easier... IF it is really true that Turkey just hauled off and went to battle without telling us. Which, as it turns out, is a mighty big if. Check out this article by Raw Story:
Turkey informed the United States well in advance before launching weekend air raids into northern Iraq against Kurdish rebel bases, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

"We had ample notification of the air strikes by the Turkish Air Force against PKK (Kurdish separatist group) positions in northern Iraq," spokesman Geoff Morrell said, confirming for the first time that Washington knew of Ankara's plans.

"It was communicated to us through the Ankara coordination center, this has been opened for some months now, in which you have Turkish personnel along with US military personnel working to share intelligence."

He told reporters the coordination had been "adequate" and said the Pentagon had nothing to complain about.
So we have two possibilities. Petraeus was warned. He was just acting like he was caught by surprise in order to maintain a better relationship with the locals. I don't like this particular possibility because of the lessons learned by us fevered liberals during the moveon N.Y. Times ad debacle. General Petraeus' motives and outstanding integrity must needs lead to the ultimate conclusion that he was entirely honest in this instance, lest in questioning his motives we open ourselves to condemnation as un-American dimwits and loudmouthed louts.

Which leads to the other possibility, which must be true if Petraeus' honor is to be maintained. The Pentagon was notified but did not forward that information to their Iraqi commander.

I tend to believe this possibility, and not just in a liberal knee jerk reaction to stop a moveon ad debacle repeat. But because this explanation would be so symbolic of the way things in Iraq have been handled since day one of the invasion. The thought that the top commander in Iraq would be kept out of the loop on the military incursion of Iraq by Turkey just boggles the mind. What sort of inane idiocy, what hapless cronyism, what bumbling moron brought this latest embarrassment to the fore? Exactly who is responsible for making sure that our forces in Iraq do not get into a hot shooting war with our Nato allies from Turkey? How could they have overlooked giving this crucial piece of information to the top American General in Iraq? They thought it would be a good idea if Petraeus were awakened by some breathless aide in the middle of the night with tales of radar blips descending from Turkey in an unannounced campaign into Iraq?

Once the person responsible for this bumbling affair is brought to light, the President will almost certainly give them a medal and a promotion.

By letting this happen the Pentagon really threw Petraeus under the proverbial bus. He is sputtering about proper notification and anger at the provocation... and then the Pentagon tells the world that they were notified. It makes Petraeus seem like he's out of the loop at the very least and can not help but weaken his position with the locals.

I eagerly await the honorable defense of General Petraeus by the same loud mouthed right wing koolaid drinkers who so loudly decried Move On about the Times ad. I have the feeling the I will be eagerly awaiting for quite a while.

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