It Is Official, They Had No Plan

by James Glaser
November 14, 2006

When a Marine Corps officer becomes the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, that is it, he has made it to the top. There is no higher position for a Marine. General Mike Hagee will end his term as Commandant next Monday. He was put in charge of the Marines two months before George Bush attacked Iraq, and every two months since then he has made a personal visit to his troops at the front. The man knows what has happened every step of the way in this war.

David Martin, of CBS News, interviewed General Hagee this week and asked what the story was about our military failure in securing Iraq.

    Unfortunately, Hagee's comments only deepen the mystery. He says he was deeply concerned about who would take charge of major Iraqi cities, like Najaf, as the Marines pushed through them on their way to Baghdad.

    Hagee says he asked his boss again and again who would take charge of those cities. He wanted to know what the plan was for Phase IV—military terminology for the phase that follows the end of major combat operations. Phase IV is, in other words, what comes after "mission accomplished." Hagee says that he sent his questions up the chain of command, as they say in the military—and never heard back.

When you are Commandant of the Marine Corps, and you send a question up the "chain of command," you are asking your question to the Secretary of Defense, or the President of the United States, who is the Commander-in-Chief. Those two are the only people who are "up" the chain from where the Commandant of the Marine Corps sits.

The Commandant of the Marine Corps is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. So, if the Joint Chiefs have no answer, and the Secretary of Defense and the President won't or can't tell one of their top Generals what the plan is, then there is no plan.

Thousands of young Americans have died, tens of thousands have been wounded in a war that had no plan.

Free JavaScripts provided
by The JavaScript Source

BACK to the 2006 Politics Columns.