Monday, January 21, 2008

Petraeus For NATO?

By Cernig

There's a New York Times report this morning that Saint-General Petraeus is being considered for the job of Supreme Allied Commander at NATO.
A senior Pentagon official said that it was weighing “a next assignment for Petraeus” and that the NATO post was a possibility. “He deserves one and that has also always been a highly prestigious position,” the official said. “So he is a candidate for that job, but there have been no final decisions and nothing on the timing.”
There follows much hot air from the NYT about Saint Pet being too needed in Iraq to be sent elsewhere, indicative of just how much the Very Serious person set has built Bush's favorite up as God's Own Answer to all that ails that nation. It's bullsh*t of course. The VSP's never mention Petraeus' abyssmal performance as overseer of training and equipping the Iraqi security forces, during which billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of weapons went missing leaving several senior officers indicted for corruption and even one of Petraeus' own aides under investigation.

Still, I'm inclined to agree with James Joyner - who works for the Atlantic Council - that Petraeus to NATO as a pure publicity move would signal that the U.S. wants NATO to repurpose itself away from the fight for the Fulda Gap and put public pressure on the other members to accelerate that process. It would also help to thrust Afghanistan back into the American public consciousness - something that really needs to be done before defeat is snatched from the jaws of victory there. That's a good move in itself, I feel, and stands aside from any actual consideration of whether Petraeus would be any good at the job.

As to the next commander in Iraq, Gate's senior aide Chiarelli would seem to be the obvious choice right now if the Pentagon is serious about it's newfound counterinsurgency paradigm, but I would suggest Colonel H.R. McMaster. He pioneered many of the Surge tactics Saint Pet has gotten credit for at Tal Afar in 2005 and knows more about effective COIN at the sharp end than Petraeus ever will. But because of his view that senior officers have a constitutional duty to speak out when the civilian leadership f**ks up, he's been passed over for promotion to Brig. General twice. He's the best commander MNF-I will never have.

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