Petraeus to CENTCOM, Odierno to Iraq Chief
Presuming Senate confirmation, the top Iraq commanders are both moving up one slot, with David Petraeus taking over Central Command, and thus oversight of the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns, and Ray Odierno picking up a fourth star and the top job in Iraq.
Bush will nominate Petraeus to replace Navy Adm. William J. Fallon as chief of U.S. Central Command, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced Wednesday. The command’s area of responsibility features some of the most vexing military and foreign policy problems facing this administration and its successor — including Iran, Pakistan, Lebanon, parts of Africa and Afghanistan in addition to Iraq.
Petraeus would be succeeded at a pivotal time in Baghdad by Army Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, who was the No. 2 commander in Iraq for 15 months. He has been credited by many with deftly managing security gains that Petraeus told Congress this month have opened a pathway for potential political progress in the country.
The AP’s David Burns says the result is “keeping the U.S. on its war course and handing the next president a pair of combat-tested commanders who have relentlessly defended Bush’s strategies.” Then again, there was no chance that we were leaving the “war course,” so this just means that two incredibly competent men are receiving well-earned promotions.