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WP, pg1: Joint Chiefs Chairman "Very Positive" After Meeting With Obama; Bush years "lacking"

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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-30-08 03:56 PM
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WP, pg1: Joint Chiefs Chairman "Very Positive" After Meeting With Obama; Bush years "lacking"
Joint Chiefs Chairman 'Very Positive' After Meeting With Obama
By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 30, 2008; A01

Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, went unarmed into his first meeting with the new commander in chief -- no aides, no PowerPoint presentation, no briefing books. Summoned nine days ago to President-elect Barack Obama's Chicago transition office, Mullen showed up with just a pad, a pen and a desire to take the measure of his incoming boss.

There was little talk of exiting Iraq or beefing up the U.S. force in Afghanistan; the one-on-one, 45-minute conversation ranged from the personal to the philosophical. Mullen came away with what he wanted: a view of the next president as a non-ideological pragmatist who was willing to both listen and lead. After the meeting, the chairman "felt very good, very positive," according to Mullen spokesman Capt. John Kirby.

As Obama prepares to announce his national security team tomorrow, he faces a military that has long mistrusted Democrats and is particularly wary of a young, intellectual leader with no experience in uniform, who once called Iraq a "dumb" war. Military leaders have all heard his pledge to withdraw most combat forces from Iraq within 16 months -- sooner than commanders on the ground have recommended -- and his implied criticism of the Afghanistan war effort during the Bush administration.

But so far, Obama appears to be going out of his way to reassure them that he will do nothing rash and will seek their advice, even while making clear that he may not always take it. He has demonstrated an ability to speak the lingo, talk about "mission plans" and "tasking," and to differentiate between strategy and tactics, a distinction Republican nominee John McCain accused him of misunderstanding during the campaign.

Obama has been careful to separate his criticism of Bush policy from his praise of the military's valor and performance, while Michelle Obama's public expressions of concern for military families have gone over well. But most important, according to several senior officers and civilian Pentagon officials who would speak about their incoming leader only on the condition of anonymity, is the expectation of renewed respect for the chain of command and greater realism about U.S. military goals and capabilities, which many found lacking during the Bush years.

"Open and serious debate versus ideological certitude will be a great relief to the military leaders," said retired Maj. Gen. William L. Nash of the Council on Foreign Relations. Senior officers are aware that few in their ranks voiced misgivings over the Iraq war, but they counter that they were not encouraged to do so by the Bush White House or the Pentagon under Donald H. Rumsfeld. "The joke was that when you leave a meeting, everybody is supposed to drink the Kool-Aid," Nash said. "In the Bush administration, you had to drink the Kool-Aid before you got to go to the meeting."...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-30-08 03:58 PM
Response to Original message
1. I didn't know the military has 'long mistrusted Democrats'.
Is this a proven fact, anyone?
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mckara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-30-08 04:26 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. Me Neither!
The article was probably written by someone who never served in the military and has bought in to that right-wing meme.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-30-08 06:51 PM
Response to Reply #1
12. If the Military DOES Distrust Democrats, It's Because They Bought the GOP Ad Campaigns
and not because they knew anything. The army has got to get over Vietnam. It wasn't winnable, and they were used, just like Iraq. At least in Iraq, they have an inkling. Not so much gungho attitude in this fiasco.
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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-30-08 04:03 PM
Response to Original message
2. I think the military will be glad to have a sane intelligent man in charge
for a change. Obama's ability to listen and ask intelligent questions has got to be a breath of fresh air to them.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-30-08 04:04 PM
Response to Original message
3. I'm surprised he was "summoned" to Chicago.
But the Bush years have been a nightmare to the military. They fought going to Iraq.

The Navy and Air force have been pared to bare bones.
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midnight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-30-08 04:17 PM
Response to Original message
4. Is this thought in anticipation of Obama's leadership"greater realism about
U.S. military goals and capabilities" a hope that these men and women serving will not be used to do multiple missions? I hope so. These military people are trained to do a great job, but they are not majic.
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-30-08 04:23 PM
Response to Original message
5. Ooops - misread - my bad - nevermind.
Edited on Sun Nov-30-08 04:28 PM by BlooInBloo
BlooInBloo, you ignorant slut!

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Ikonoklast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-30-08 04:30 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Yup. Mullen still wants to be Head Cheese
He serves at the discretion of the Chief Executive.

Period.
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-30-08 04:32 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. My misreading aside, I would have no problem sacking all of the top brass....
who didn't stand up to gw and his idiotic Iraq field trip.

I'm aware that Obama doesn't operate that way, of course.
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Ikonoklast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-30-08 04:40 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. I actually respect Admiral Mullen
I believe he was steadfast in turning the Bush Regime away from attacking Iran, or at least impeding their plans for a conflict using a false pretext.

He wasn't about to have his Navy be sitting ducks in the Gulf waiting for a disaster to happen, just so Cheney could have his war.
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Doctor_J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-30-08 04:41 PM
Response to Original message
10. Imagine that - having a smart, curious, and caring liberal is better than
a stupid, ignorant, mean chickenhawk who prances around in a soldier uniform. Who would have thought?
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-30-08 04:55 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. I don't think anybody could have anticipated that.
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