Posted by: sean | September 8, 2006

Chain of command in Iraq

Via the Plank, The Hill reports that Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), the vice chairman of the Armed Services panel and chairman of the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee, is introducing a bill to cut the civilian leadership (read: Bush and Rumsfeld) out of the loop for deciding when troops should withdraw from Iraq. His resolution would make it the generals’ decision, thus making the decision a military one and not a political one, he says.

The resolution would express the sense of the House that military commanders should put in place a system of criteria to assess the capability of Iraqi security forces. Once those criteria are met, the mission in Iraq would be considered complete and the president could begin withdrawing troops.

Weldon is one of the foremost Republican military experts in the House, and he is considered to have a good chance of succeeding Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) as chairman of the Armed Services Committee at the end of 2008 should Republicans keep control of the lower chamber.

This obviously brings up issues of the chain of command, since the military is always answerable to civilian leadership. If there is really this much question as to the president’s judgement and that of his cabinet, it seems like the logical thing to do would be to get rid of the president, not set a precedent for changing the basic structure of the chain of command.

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