You Ever Wonder Why the Generals Don't Ask For More Troops?

by James Glaser
October 10, 2006

How many times have you heard the President say that whatever the Generals in the field ask for, he will do his best to get it for them? When a reporter asks if we need more troops in Iraq, George Bush says, that is up to the Generals in the field.

There is a reason that Generals don't ask for more troops, and it isn't because they wouldn't like more troops or know what to do with them. The reason is, the Generals in Iraq, like their jobs, they like their careers, and they want to finish that career on a high note. They know George Bush, for political reasons doesn't want more troops in Iraq. They also know, if they cross the President and request the troops they really need to win in Iraq, they will be coming home faster than some of the wounded.

"The Navy lawyer who led a successful Supreme Court challenge of the Bush administration's military tribunals for detainees at Guantanamo Bay has been passed over for promotion and will have to leave the Military," The Miami Herald reported Sunday.

The Associated Press reports, "Lt. Cmdr Charles Swift, 44, will retire in March or April under the military's "up or out" promotion system. Swift said last week he was notified he would not be promoted to commander."

"Charlie has obviously done an exceptional job, a really extraordinary job," said Marine Col. Dwight Sullivan, the Pentagon's chief counsel for Military Commissions. He added it was "quite a coincidence" that Swift was passed over for promotion "within two weeks of the Supreme Court Opinion."

What George Bush and the Pentagon did to Charlie Swift, was a warning to every career officer who was even thinking about thinking for himself or herself.

It doesn't matter if you want more troops, or better equipment for the troops you have. Those Generals in Iraq know the score. They know it doesn't matter that they could save the lives and limbs of their troops, they know it doesn't matter that they know what is right and what is wrong with George Bush's war in Iraq, and it surely doesn't matter what they say up the chain of command, because chain of command reports are kept secret. Those Generals know that if they really want the troops and equipment to do the job in Iraq, they will have to sacrifice their careers and go public with their requests. That would get the troops and equipment to Iraq, but every General knows, whoever goes public with those requests, would no longer be leading troops in Iraq. That General would be replaced, and so far no General has had the guts to speak up for the men and women serving under him.

George Bush knows how to handle those serving under him. You might say he hit two birds with one stone. Lt Cmdr Charles Swift put his job above his career, and it cost him. So George Bush got rid of a fine Navy lawyer who wouldn't play ball with the White House, and he served up a warning to every other officer in our military: Either you play it our way, or you are finished in your career.

Free JavaScripts provided
by The JavaScript Source

BACK to the 2006 Politics Columns.