Managing for Peace

52nd Infantry Regiment Teaches the Peace SignYesterday, President Obama announced planned changes to his security team. CIA Director Leon Panetta will be nominated for Secretary of Defense. General David Petraeus, now head of operations in Afghanistan will be nominated to run the CIA. Lt. General John Allen will replace Petraeus in Afghanistan. Ryan Crocker will be nominated to be the next US ambassador to Afghanistan.Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, a holdover from the Bush administration kept around to protect Obama from typical first-term weak-on-the-military attacks by the opposing party, is stepping down and will likely enter the revolving door into the defense industry boardroom – or several of them.

There is nothing unusual in changes. The President is running for reelection and it is smart politics to announce changes prior to the campaign. The President continues to manage government well. None of the changes will be abrupt. Gates will step down June 30 and Panetta, assuming confirmation, will take over July 1st. All are non-controversial defense insiders and should get an easy confirmation and even a few Republican votes.

Nothing unusual, except for why Obama’s really doing it — Obama’s planning to end the war in Afghanistan, and with it, cut back on military spending. You didn’t hear it here first. Obama has been saying it for two years. He could not do it with the team he had. He can do it with the new team.

Gates, has been dead-set against Pentagon budget cuts, now he won’t have to make them. Petraeus has an unfinished job and wasn’t about to tell the President to draw down troops or tarnish his reputation or ego. Now he can continue fighting in Afghanistan using the CIA and trust Allen to be a good soldier. Panetta will do what he’s always done — manage well and make the Commander-in-Chief look good. Ryan Crocker, with his experience in Iraq and Pakistan is the person to manage Karzai and his corrupt government. This is the team to end the war before election day 2012. You did hear that here first.

Things could change, but it seems perfectly aligned to happen. We’ve been at war since 2003. The men and women in service deserve to come home. Our reserve units need to be retooled. Our allies are tired and have had enough. Voters stopped paying attention when they lost their jobs and their homes.

So what’s next? How will the corporate side of our military react? Just how much clout do their lobbyists for war have? Will our private contractor army stand down? Will the neocons give up on invading Iran until after the election? How will Israel react to the idea that we would not be actively making enemies on their behalf? Could Libya or Syria heat up and be next? Have the oil sheiks enough guns, tanks and jets to fight off revolution without us?

It is all part of the plan. The political plan. If America is truly ready for peace, as defined by good poll numbers for Obama fall a year from now, we’ll finally have peace. If not, well, whatever it takes to get elected. Please tell your pollster you are ready for peace when they call.

4 thoughts on “Managing for Peace

  1. Will Cantrell

    What you write makes complete sense to me, Lee. I too have had the sense that Gates did not want to reduce Pentagon spending, even though more and more of the GOP endorsed the idea as they continue to harp on the budget deficit and government spending. I think that these managment changes –shifts really – are deft ones by Obama and show – at least to me –that he has more savvy than would be expected with a young POTUS with only 2-plus years of experience.

    And I think that the plan works to … unless we are “still and deeply” mired in Libya during the upcoming Presidential campaign season. Good piece. Will

    1. Monica Smith

      You forget that he’s got Biden. I only met Joe Biden once while we were waiting for a sudden rain-storm to pass and let the outdoor festivities commence. Joe told me flat out there would be no permanent bases in Iraq. He didn’t say none were planned; he said there would be none. Obama never really committed to getting out of Iraq until close to the end when Bush had already been forced to accept a new SOFA. Staying in Afghanistan longer was sort of a consolation price to the war-mongers. As a permanent location for monitoring assets to “stabilize the region,” it obviously doesn’t work, mainly because of interference from the mountains, I suspect.
      Anyway, what you’ve also left out of your assessment is the role of Congress. The Capitol Hill gang have got us all convinced that they’re just doing the bidding of the corporations — corporations which, as a matter of fact, could be making all kinds of hardware to rebuild the U.S. instead of knocking other people’s cities down. The reality, I’m increasingly convinced, is that contracts for military goods and services are being used by Congress critters as carrots and sticks to extort votes and insure their own longevity in Congress. Corporations don’t vote and by the size of their monetary “contributions” you can tell that the money is just a token to demonstrate their fealty and keep their friends in communications happy. What the corporations are expected to deliver, and why unions are under attack, is the votes of their employees, workers faced with a choice to vote right or be out of work if the contracts are not renewed.
      In report after report the Pentagon has come forward and said the equipment being ordered and delivered isn’t needed. Meanwhile, our homegrown electronics industry is increasing dependent on selling stuff to the military and the education industry (for surveillance and projection and tracking) that’s never compatible and which puts them out of synch with what the rest of the globe is using. Protectionism is debilitating.

      1. Lee Leslie Post author

        Monica, Joe is never far from my thoughts, and I actually believe him -- at least to the extent their administration is involved. Axelrod as much as confirmed that today on Meet the Press. I also don’t believe the Pentagon would back permanent bases in Iraq. We already have the installations they want and protecting the supply lines is drain and a downer.
        Admittedly, this post was a softball -- more a straight line setting up your response. Peace as we knew it may have been redefined for a long time to come. With bases stretching around the world, our owning the world’s satellites and drones, our subs always ready somewhere to pop off a round of cruise missiles, homeland security focusing here and in every country in the world, our defense contractors spread out to every congressional district -- peace won’t ever seem as quiet. Nor will the peace dividends be as great. Only when the deficit hawks join the peace movement, will there be real change.


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