The new spokesman for the U.S. Military in Iraq is a Brigadier General (i.e., a one-star) named Kevin Bergner. As is typical with Bush Administration appointees, Bergner’s news from the front is filled with happy-happy/joy-joy talk, but even more so for him than most, as Digby points out in Salon and Dan Froomkin notes in the Washington Post.
Lots of journalists have noted that Bergner went straight from being a member of the White House’s national security staff to being the spokesman in Baghdad. But I’ve been wondering about his career trajectory, honestly. Let me ‘splain:
My Dad was a naval officer. The common wisdom in the Navy is that if you don’t make Captain by the time you hit 20 years, you should just go ahead and retire, because you’re not going to advance much more. In the Army, the equivalent is Colonel. To move from Colonel to General requires a Presidential nomination, and approval by the Senate.
So I got to wondering: how old was Colonel Bergner when he was tapped for Brigadier? And who was it who tapped him? What was his first assignment as a General?
Call me a crazy conspiracy nut, but here’s some interesting facts from the good General’s biography: he’s a graduate of Trinity College in San Antonio, Texas, Bush’s home state (and we know how much more comfortable Bush feels with friends from Texas). In May of 2003, as a full Colonel, he was assigned as the Deputy Director for Politico-Military Affairs (Middle East), J-5, The Joint Staff, in Washington, D.C. He was promoted to Brigadier General in November of 2004, in the middle of that time. He put in about a year in Iraq in 2005 as Deputy Commander of the Multi-National Force-Northwest before heading back to Washington to become the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Iraq for the National Security Council at the White House.
So what have we? We have a Texan who was promoted to General by Bush, given his first highly-visible, political D.C. assignment by Bush, moved by to an even more visible assignment by Bush, and is now the military spokesman in Iraq. Who do you reckon his loyalty is to? The American people? Or the person who famously (and jealously) surrounds himself with loyal minions (and fires and punishes those who are disloyal), and is further responsible for his promotion and current position?
I know which answers gets my vote. How about you?