Sunday, June 10, 2007

Is Mullen Gates' "Broom" at the Pentagon? [Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter] Pace is the first Joint Chiefs Chairman not to be renominated for a second term since the military was centralized under the joint chiefs position 21 years ago. The selection of [Navy Adm. Mike] Mullen (shown on the right) also marks the first time in 21 years that both the head of the Joint Chiefs and the CentCom Commander, Adm. William Fallon, have been Navy officers. …

When 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.”

LSB: This doesn't foreshadow anything good. Two of the top military leaders - and Cheney - with their eyes on Iran? How can this spell anything but trouble?

Update Nico at Think Progress: The foreign policy feud in the White House, at the end of it, is between those who have realized that attacking Iran right now is insane and would rather wait for a better time and opportunity as opposed to the neocons who want to start that fight as soon as possible no matter what the state of the American military and are going out of their way to manufacture excuses for such an attack.

Update Cernig, The Newshoggers: Although Pace famously derailled the neocon narrative on Iran after the Baghdad Briefing, he was soon pulled back on message - and over the years he has definitely been a consistent Rumsfield-appointed yes-man for most of the neocon misadventure. Further, his belief that gays are, by definition, immoral wasn't going to go unquestioned in any re-confirmation hearings. Like many in the Bush administration ranks, his loyalty to the message was always the important thing.

It seems plain to me that Mullen is being brought forward, in part, to clean house for Gates and consolidate his position at Defense by sweeping out all the old Rumsfield hangovers. That won't please Cheney, who was always the closest to Rummie in White house circles as the two of them headed the neocon cabal.

Perhaps significantly, Gates also recently appointed a Navy man as the new head of Centcom - and that Admiral went on to say that an attack on Iran would not happen on his watch.

Does anyone else get the impression that the real feud in the Bush administration in coming days won't be the much publicized Cheney-Rice spat but instead a Cheney-Gates one?

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