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January 08, 2007

Bush's Strategy Change

Michael Barone foresees a bitter battle over Iraq in the coming session of Congress. Looking at the Democratic side, he confirms the obvious: there is a significant portion of the party who want nothing more than to mimic the actions of their congressional predecessors from 1975, and pull the funding of the Iraq forces. As far as the Republicans go, Barone says that George W. Bush does not consider the election results a mandate to withdraw, but rather an expression of voters' dissatisfaction with the results of the Republicans' war strategy. And Barone notes that Bush is considering changes:

Since the success of the major military operations in May 2003, he has delegated power to appointees he trusts and has mostly ratified their plans. Far from micromanaging the military, he and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld seem to have approved pretty much everything that Centcom head Gen. John Abizaid and the rotating military commanders in Iraq have proposed. They seem not to have taken the advice of military historian Eliot Cohen in his book "Supreme Command" that wartime commanders in chief should constantly question, probe, prod and, yes, even overrule their generals, as Lincoln, Clemenceau, Churchill and Ben Gurion did.

Emphasis mine. Cohen is right: Delegation is fine and necessary trait in a leader, but one thing you cannot delegate is responsibility. The commander-in-chief must still do just that--command.

Posted on January 8, 2007 10:22 AM

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