The US Department of Defense is considering moving the main architect of a troop “surge” strategy, General David Petraeus, out of Iraq and giving him a top NATO command job, The New York Times reported on its website late Sunday.
Citing an unnamed senior Pentagon official, the newspaper said the department was weighing “a next assignment for Petraeus,” now the top US military commander in Iraq, and that the job of NATO supreme commander was a possibility.
“He deserves one and that has also always been a highly prestigious position,” the report quotes the official as saying. “So he is a candidate for that job, but there have been no final decisions and nothing on the timing.”
Defense and legal experts issued two years worth of warnings to the Pentagon about its heavy reliance on Blackwater Worldwide and other private security firms in Iraq — and watched as the Defense Department continued to expand its use of the contractors, according to a new report.In a series of memos, letters and in-person meetings with high-level officials in the US and Iraq, critics had warned of a “lack of control” over the private guards, writes the the Washington Post‘s Steve Fainaru. But despite a growing number of incidents in which Blackwater employees allegedly shot and killed Iraqi civilians, the US government was slow to act.
“We set this thing up for failure from the beginning,” a retired Marine colonel who advised Iraqi military forces in 2004 told the Post. “We’re just sorting it out now…I still think, from a pure counterinsurgency standpoint, armed contractors are an inherently bad idea, because you cannot control the quality, you cannot control the action on the ground, but you’re held responsible for everything they do.”