Endless Bummer!Hot, bald and stumpy Navy Rear Admiral Robert Harward is pulling a coup, thanks to our brave tribal leader George W. Bush. At the President's recommendation, he's jumping from one star to three-star vice admiral, a rare double promotion. How much enduring of freedom has Harward done to get such love from our beloved President? Why Harward, and not other SEALs such as crazed wrestler-governor Jesse Ventura or Vietnam killer of children and current New School president Bob Kerrey?

Harward, a graduate of the Tehran American High School in Iran, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1979—the year the Shah of Iran fled to Egypt. He did many military-type things (including a stint in Bosnia) and arrived in Afghanistan in late 2001. There he was put in charge of 2,800 staffers running the Navy's Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-South — even though, according to the CIA Factbook, Afghanistan is apparently a land-locked country.

harwardThe hallmark of his career is interagency cooperation, because now in the government everyone is pretty sure that everyone should know what everyone else is doing, even though they totally don't.

In 2002, he helped deliver Mullah Khairullah Kahirkhawa, a Taliban regional leader, to, it looks like, the Bagram Theater Internment Facility, where guards had a bad habit of beating people to death. (Kahirkhawa has since fallen off the map, though he may have been one of the thousands of people who has unsuccessfully sued Donnie Rumsfeld over crazy foreign ideas such as "right to a trial" and "not being disappeared.")

Then, right away, it was off to Iraq! There, briefly, he was in charge of all the many colorful SEALs, and also some folks from the Kuwaiti Navy, which is mostly composed of enormous pleasure-yachts.

But hark! In late 2003, he was summoned to the office of our nation's honcho! There Bush & Co. made him the "Director of Strategy and Defense Issues" for the National Security Council.

What was he responsible for there ? Nuclear counterterrorism, among other things — which means preventing terrorists from having WMDs and also those frightening aluminum tubes that cost $17.50 each and that were the wrong size, shape and weight to be used in an uranium centrifuge and that were therefore not being used in Saddam Hussein's Secret Awesome Nuclear Program that did not actually exist no matter how many times Dick Cheney (and John Kerry!) said it did. So basically his job was to make sure Cheney didn't have things to lie about anymore maybe.

um, boys!

He was also a fellow in the shadowy RAND think tank, which is an organization promoting Objectivist thought in the Middle East.

In April of 2005, just 18 months after he got that job, he was assigned to the National Counterterrorism Center, which was then about a year old. (It had been founded as the Terrorist Threat Integration Center in 2003.) His new job was to be the representative of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Senior Interagency Strategy Team.

That team is composed of members of the CIA, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, the Department of State —and the Treasury, which is in the mix because of their Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, which is responsible for their hilariously-named Executive Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes. (That's where Bin Laden goes for a home equity loan!)

Harward has been the deputy commanding general for operations of the Joint Special Operations Command and will now be its deputy commander. JSOC operates Power Geyser, which is (or was) a secret commando unit that protects the president and the government from terrorism — officially called "Counter-Terrorism Special Operations Support to Civil Agencies in the event of a domestic incident."

Power Geyser's twin op is Granite Shadow, which "posits domestic military operations, including intelligence collection and surveillance, unique rules of engagement regarding the use of lethal force, the use of experimental non-lethal weapons, and federal and military control of incident locations that are highly controversial and might border on the illegal," according to William Arkin in the Washington Post.

Fellow Navy SEAL, Admiral Eric Olson, is the head of United States Special Operations Command, which makes him Harward's boss at that outfit's component, JSOC. (Olson has just led Operation Enduring Freedom into Cuba and Venezuela, among other weird maybe-anti-terrorist activities.) The SEALs are taking over!

So in service to freedom and to extralegal secret op machinations on American soil, and for being the whispering boy between the Joint Chiefs and the intelligence heads of every U.S. outfit, Bob Harward gets a double promotion from George Bush. Soon enough he'll be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs!

One-star SEAL tapped for vice admiral [Navy Times]

Read Choire's new "Endless Bummer" column whenever he chooses to write it, right here on Wonkette! Write to Choire at his email address, here!


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