General Petraeus To CENTCOM
General David Petraeus, who commanded the 2007-2008 turnaround in Iraq and oversaw the and directed the thus far successful offensive(s) against al-Qaeda there, has been named the next Commanding General at CENTCOM, announced by Secretary of Defense Gates today. (Note: Technically, it is a recommendation still requiring Congressional confirmation, but successful blocking opposition amounting to much more than additional anti-war political grandstanding is incredibly difficult to envision.)
Gates said he expected Petraeus to make the shift in late summer or early fall. The Pentagon chief also announced that Bush will nominate Army Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno to replace Petraeus in Baghdad.
Central Command oversees the wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan.
"I am honored to be nominated for this position and to have an opportunity to continue to serve with America's soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and civilians," Petraeus said in a brief statement from Baghdad.
At a hastily arranged Pentagon news conference, Gates said the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other problems in the Central Command area of responsibility, demand knowledge of how to fight counterinsurgencies as well as other unconventional conflicts."I don't know anybody in the U.S. military better qualified to lead that effort," he said, referring to Petraeus.
Neither do we, and we agree - even cheer - the decision.
There were some internally who sought to relegate MNF-I Commanding General David Petraeus - respectfully referred to by many Iraqis as Malik Daoud (King David) - to NATO command in Brussels. It was yet another (relatively quiet) battle won by arguably the most revered American military commander in over a generation.
CENTCOM command is both logical and necessary for continuity in Iraq to sustain gains there. This importance and its recognition can be seen in the simultaneous naming of Lt. Gen. Ray Ordierno - Petraus' second in command for the duration of Petraeus' tour as MNF-I CG - as his successor in Iraq command.