Last December, in my post, “Obama purges U.S. Command, Part 1,” I wrote:
Within two months after the Benghazi attack, four senior U.S. military officers were purged:
- Gen. Carter Ham, on October 18.
- Adm. Charles Gaouette, on October 27.
- Gen. David Petraeus, on November 9.
- Gen. John Allen, on November 13.
Ostensibly, Petraeus’ “retirement” and Allen’s suspended promotion are due to both men’s moral conduct. But surely we are not so naive as to think that Petraeus and Allen are the only U.S. military officers who’ve ever committed adultery or written flirtatious email. As for Ham’s “retirement” and Gaouette’s “temporary re-assignment” (reassignment to what?), there is not even a whisper that either man’s morals or personal conduct is at issue.
So what should we make of all this? Is it all just coincidence or something more sinister?
Ann Barnhardt, in her blog of Nov. 13, 2012, didn’t hesitate to call the purges, Obama’s “night of the long knives” — a reference to the last step in Hitler’s quest for total, dictatorial power. On June 30, 1934, the Fuhrer purged the German military of any factions that were in any way autonomous and not 100% loyal to him.
Now add to the above list of four, Marine Corps General James Mattis (above), who has served in the U.S. military for 40 years and is widely revered by rank-and-file Marines for his blunt talk and leadership.
Three weeks after the purge of Gen. Allen came news that four-star Gen. Mattis was told to vacate his office several months earlier than planned, in March 2013, that is, this month. On Dec. 6, 2012, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that Mattis would be replaced by Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, the vice chief of staff for the Army, subject of course to Senate confirmation.
Gen. James Mattis, 62, is only the head of the most important command of the entire U.S. military — that of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM).
Before replacing David Petraeus on August 11, 2010, as Commander of CENTCOM, Mattis previously had commanded United States Joint Forces Command from November 9, 2007 to August 2010; served concurrently as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation from November 9, 2007 to September 8, 2009; and commanded I Marine Expeditionary Force, United States Marine Forces Central Command, and 1st Marine Division during the Iraq War.
The United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) is a theater-level Unified Combatant Command of the U.S. Department of Defense, established in 1983. Its area of responsibility includes countries in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, most notably Afghanistan and Iraq. CENTCOM has been the main American presence in many military operations, including the Persian Gulf War, the War in Afghanistan (2001–present), and the Iraq War. Forces from CENTCOM currently are deployed primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan in combat roles and have bases in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Pakistan, and central Asia in support roles.
Writing for Foreign Policy on Jan. 18, 2013, self-described “fan of President Obama” Thomas E. Ricks claims that the “word on the national security street is that General James Mattis is being given the bum’s rush out of his job as commander of Central Command” because he rubbed civilian officials the wrong way” on the Obama regime’s policy toward Iran.
Reportedly, “tough-minded realist “Mattis “pushed the civilians … hard on considering the second- and third-order consequences of military action against Iran” with questions such as: What do you do with Iran once the nuclear issue is resolved and it remains a foe? What do you do if Iran then develops conventional capabilities that could make it hazardous for U.S. Navy ships to operate in the Persian Gulf?
But Mattis’ questions and plea for prudence were “not welcomed” by the White House.
Obama-fan Thomas Ricks points out that, in dismissing Gen. Mattis, “The message the Obama Administration is sending, intentionally or not, is that it doesn’t like tough, smart, skeptical generals who speak candidly to their civilian superiors. In fact, that is exactly what it (and every administration) should want. Had we had more back in 2003, we might not have made the colossal mistake of invading Iraq. [...] But I am at the point where I don’t trust his national security team. They strike me as politicized, defensive and narrow. These are people who will not recognize it when they screw up, and will treat as enemies anyone who tells them they are doing that. And that is how things like Vietnam get repeated.”
Ricks also warns that the Obama regime “now have dissed the two Marine generals who are culture heroes in today’s Corps: Mattis and Anthony Zinni. The Marines have long memories.”
Today’s Drudge Report is replete with ominous headlines about Iran:
WAR DRUMS: KERRY WARNS IRAN ON BRINK...
'Challenging moment with great risks'...
Obama 'not bluffing' over military threat...
Netanyahu: 'Red line'...
TOP GENERAL: Nuclear Iran will trigger arms race in Middle East...
Kissinger: Nuke crisis close...
Changing the leadership of CENTCOM just as the confrontation with Iran heats up is not just bad timing, but rash and imprudent.
See also “Obama purges US military command (Part 2),” Dec. 4, 2012.