Unless a miracle occurs, and Congress tells him to stuff it.
But aside from that remote possibility, you’re right.
Until, as you say, they tell Bush something he doesn’t want to hear.
Since an instance of this happened just this last winter - the generals were largely agreed that we needed to start gradually reducing the number of American troops in Iraq, but Bush Decided otherwise, and found a general who agreed with him - it’s hard to disagree with this interpretation, I think. (Not that you are - just thinking of other participants in the thread here.)
Bush is, but the generals aren’t.
In the past, the generals reacted by lining up behind the Decider’s new policy. Once The Surge was the deal, the brass stopped suggesting that other choices might’ve been better.
And it’s clear that Petraeus will find reason, the week after next, to say that the Surge needs more time to finish its work, and even more clear that Bush will back him in this.
Yet the military is openly saying that they’re not giving him different options on how to continue the Surge, but different options altogether - with Petraeus apparently being the only high-ranking guy backing the Surge.
ISTM that they’re saying to Bush, “If you continue down this road, it will be over our strong objections. Short of resigning, we’re doing everything we can to say that we believe you should choose another course. If you don’t, don’t say we didn’t warn you.”
The generals have put down a marker, and not on the number that the President has placed his bet on. That’s pretty unusual in the middle of a war, I’d guess.
Now, there’s nothing Constitutionally wrong with a President choosing to overrule his generals. Lincoln did a bit of that, and a damned good thing that he did.
The difference, of course, is that Bush has proven himself to be a blithering incompetent with respect to anything and everything outside the realm of domestic politics, and watching him Decide what our military should do is like watching the SNL skits of Toonces, the cat who could drive a car.