Mullen Over Pace
Adm Mike Mullen will replace Gen Peter Pace as Chairman of the JCS. John Kerry accuses the administration of trying to avoid a showdown over Iraq policy. "It is a sad state of affairs when this Administration withdraws a general they believe is qualified simply to avoid having to publicly defend their failed Iraq policy," Kerry said. Mullen was quoted in the Honolulu Star Phoenix as saying "I honestly believe this is the most dangerous time in my life. ... The enemy now is basically evil and fundamentally hates everything we are – the democratic principles for which we stand ... This war is going to go on for a long time. It’s a generational war. Chris Dodd disagrees. "His view that this is a 'generational war' will not do anything to change course in Iraq. If we want to bring an end to our involvement in this civil war, we must do more than simply replace personnel -- we must replace President Bush's failed policy. Today's move underscores the need for Congress to speak with clarity and adopt a firm, enforceable deadline for the redeployment of combat troops out of Iraq."
Both sides of the aisle will try to spin this in their own way. My own reaction is that Kerry is somewhat disappointed that they are not going be able to trigger their rhetorical Claymore mines on a Pace who is not going to enter the prepared Kill Zone. Instead they will get Mullen. Mullen's narrative, if the news quotes are any indication, would broaden the discussion beyond the borders of Iraq and bring in such factors as Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Pakistan, Afganistan, the al-Qaeda cells in Europe and in the USA into the discussion. And as Senator Dodd rightly fears, that will shift the ground from under the "need for Congress to speak with clarity and adopt a firm, enforceable deadline for the redeployment of combat troops out of Iraq."