Saturday, June 09, 2007

Pace Out ! Mullins in ! Watch Out Iran

Pace out- Pace gets the boot, Navy to command -This has never happened before during a war in the US. Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced Friday he has recommended Adm. Mike Mullen, currently chief of naval operations, to become the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

US. Defense Secretary Robert Gates with Bush

Does anyone like the surge?
(hat tip to Carpetbagger blog:

With Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Mullen replacing Gen. Peter Pace as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Wall Street Journal noticed an interesting trend among top military officials.

Adm. Mullen, like many of his four-star colleagues on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was skeptical of the decision to send additional U.S. troops into Iraq.

This comes on the heels of Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute’s admission that he, too, registered his opposition to the president’s surge policy.

And that came on the heels of Defense Secretary Robert Gates expressing his own opposition to the surge.

In other words, Bush will have a chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a “war czar,” and a Pentagon chief — arguably the three most important war-related posts in Washington — who are at least skeptical of the central strategy underlying the president’s Iraq policy.


John Kerry

John Kerry today issued the following statement on the announcement that Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will be replaced rather than reappointed. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said this afternoon that he would recommend Adm. Mike Mullen to replace Pace.

“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,” Senator Kerry said. “Congress has an obligation to ask tough questions about Iraq, and the architects of this war have an obligation to answer them openly and honestly. We will continue to hold this Administration accountable on Iraq. The next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff must tell Congress and the American people the truth about this war.”

Is Mike Mullen replacing Pace because of his support for a strike against Iran?

Nico Pitney, posting originally on Think Progress Blog, shares some insights on pace's replacement, Mike Mullen

Some insight on Mullen can be gained from a speech he gave to sailors in Pearl Harbor in Feb. 2007:

In his opening remarks, Mullen, a Vietnam War veteran, told Pearl Harbor sailors: "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."

From a Feb. 2006 interview with Mullen:

You use the term 'Long War', and it's important to understand that and really grab this issue because it is going to be around for a significant amount of time. I call it generational. That said, there are still traditional capabilities that are very much required.

When [Adm. William J. Fallon] was appointed in January to lead CentCom, analysts noted the choice of a Navy officer reflected "a greater emphasis on countering Iranian power, a mission that relies heavily on naval forces and combat airpower to project American influence in the Persian Gulf." In announcing the nomination of Mullen this afternoon, CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr said that Mullen "watches Iran closely."

What did Pace do to get the boot?

So far, there are several reasons why pace was replaced that are floating around... Larry Johnson is convinced that he was axed for the supporting letter he wrote concerning scooter Libby... most disturbing was the opinion offered by leveymg at daily kos, that Pace was shown the door for opposing an attack on iran, a view which seems to square with mullen's quotes above... after reading that, i searched back to my post on the article in the new yorker from its april 2006 edition written by seymour hersh... remember, what he was writing about took place well over a year ago...

The Bush Administration, while publicly advocating diplomacy in order to stop Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon, has increased clandestine activities inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major air attack. Current and former American military and intelligence officials said that Air Force planning groups are drawing up lists of targets, and teams of American combat troops have been ordered into Iran, under cover, to collect targeting data and to establish contact with anti-government ethnic-minority groups.


A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was “absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb” if it is not stopped. He said that the President believes that he must do “what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do,” and “that saving Iran is going to be his legacy.”


“The planning is enormous,” the former senior intelligence official said, referring to the activity at the U.S. Central Command headquarters, in Florida; the Joint Warfare Analysis Center, in Virginia; and the U.S. Strategic Command, in Nebraska. “Space assets, SLBMs”—submarine-launched ballistic missiles—“tactical air, and sabotage, coöperation from the Turks and the Russians.” He added that the plans include “significant air attacks on their countermeasures and anti-aircraft missiles—a huge takedown.” He depicted the planning as hectic, and far beyond the contingency work that is routinely done. “These are operational plans,” the former official said.


One of the military’s initial option plans, as presented to the White House by the Pentagon this winter, calls for the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites.

all of this led to an astounding revelation by Hersh...

The attention given to the nuclear option has created serious misgivings inside the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he added, and some officers have talked about resigning. Late this winter, the Joint Chiefs of Staff sought to remove the nuclear option from the evolving war plans for Iran—without success, the former intelligence official said. “The White House said, ‘Why are you challenging this? The option came from you.’”

that brings us to just this past February where possible resignations were again in the news, this as reported by the Times of London...

Some of America’s most senior military commanders are prepared to resign if the White House orders a military strike against Iran, according to highly placed defence and intelligence sources.

Tension in the Gulf region has raised fears that an attack on Iran is becoming increasingly likely before President George Bush leaves office. The Sunday Times has learnt that up to five generals and admirals are willing to resign rather than approve what they consider would be a reckless attack.


A generals’ revolt on such a scale would be unprecedented. “American generals usually stay and fight until they get fired,” said a Pentagon source.

Is George Bush, once again, stacking the ideological deck?

As a U.S. Marine officer in the Gulf War, Ritter served as a ballistic missile advisor to General H. Norman Schwarzkopf and then became a high-up UN weapons inspector in Iraq until 1998. Now he is a vociferous, controversial critic of the Bush II administration and the Iraq War. In his latest expose, Ritter trains his inspector's eyes on Iran, meticulously analyzing the rhetoric about Tehran beginning with the first Bush presidency when Dick Cheney was secretary of defense, then skeptically parsing the protracted, politically tangled wrangling over Iran's nuclear program, and vehemently objecting to what he sees as excessive American alignment with Israel. The most interesting figure to emerge from Ritter's flinty yet invaluable inquiry is John Bolton, current U.S. ambassador to the UN and a neo-con instrumental in pushing for regime changes in the Middle East "at any cost." In closing, Ritter offers shrewd observations about why things have cooled off regarding Iran as the midterm elections loom and cautions that war with Iran would be catastrophic and must be averted. Donna Seaman
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