Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Obama: twice rolled by his generals

I am told that General Odierno’s objections to the timing of the release of a new round of photos of detainees being abused in Iraq were decisive to President Obama’s decision Wednesday to reverse himself and decide against the release of those photos. I am surprised by Obama’s reversal. I wasn’t so taken aback in ...

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I am told that General Odierno's objections to the timing of the release of a new round of photos of detainees being abused in Iraq were decisive to President Obama's decision Wednesday to reverse himself and decide against the release of those photos.

I am surprised by Obama's reversal. I wasn't so taken aback in February when he went along with his generals and abandoned his campaign promise to withdraw a brigade a month from Iraq this year, and instead endorsed a plan that kept troop levels there pretty steady this year. But to get rolled twice -- well, he must think he is running up some pretty big chits with them. I know he is trying to do the right thing but at some point he is going to have to say, My way or the highway.

I am told that General Odierno’s objections to the timing of the release of a new round of photos of detainees being abused in Iraq were decisive to President Obama’s decision Wednesday to reverse himself and decide against the release of those photos.

I am surprised by Obama’s reversal. I wasn’t so taken aback in February when he went along with his generals and abandoned his campaign promise to withdraw a brigade a month from Iraq this year, and instead endorsed a plan that kept troop levels there pretty steady this year. But to get rolled twice — well, he must think he is running up some pretty big chits with them. I know he is trying to do the right thing but at some point he is going to have to say, My way or the highway.

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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