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Friday, April 14, 2006

Rummy & Bush: Absolute Failures

Posted by on April 14 at 10:20 AM

Okay: This is big.

The widening circle of retired generals who have stepped forward to call for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s resignation is shaping up as an unusual outcry that could pose a significant challenge to Mr. Rumsfeld’s leadership, current and former generals said on Thursday…

“We need to continue to fight the global war on terror and keep it off our shores,” General Swannack said in a telephone interview. “But I do not believe Secretary Rumsfeld is the right person to fight that war based on his absolute failures in managing the war against Saddam in Iraq.”

…There were indications on Thursday that the concern about Mr. Rumsfeld, rooted in years of pent-up anger about his handling of the war, was sweeping aside the reticence of retired generals who took part in the Iraq war to criticize an enterprise in which they participated.

Remember Bush saying over and over again that he wasn’t listening to critics at home, but to his commanders in the field? Well, uh, gee. Maybe Bush was, ohidunno, lying? Regardless, it looks like he can’t hide behind that line of shit anymore.

You can read more about this rather stunning development at Americablog and Kos.

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As loathesome as Rumsfeld is, this is a bit worrisome development. Whatever happened to civilian control of the military?

Well they're not saying that either Rummy or Bush should be replaced with members of the military, they're just expressing their informed opinions, and dismantling the spindly leg Bush was standing on in his defense of Rummy's execrable performance.

Seven Days in May this ain't; I say good for them.

Bush is still ignoring them, because they aren't his generals in the field anymore, since they retired (were pushed out).

You have to understand Bush speak, and that Up is Down, and Black is White.

Rummy is toast - willl be gone in two weeks.

There in NO better group to push him out. None.

In that mindset of the militairy these men at mythic heros.

Zesus et al.....have spoken.

Great news....yes, Dan, VERY big.

I don't know if this will change things at all. The administration will just ignore it and paint their version of reality anyway. These once respectable warriors are now just American hating terrorist apologists. Just like the 60-some odd% of Americans who think the war is bullshit.

Sure was nice of those guys to stand up for what they believed in AFTER their pensions were secure.

If this is how they feel why didn't they stand up and say so at the time?

They may be right - really history is the best judge of that - but it doesn't say a whole lot about their character that they just said 'yes sir', did the job and then complained after the fact.

Put it another way - we (perhaps rightly) applaud young guys who have the guts to declare themselves COs but these guys are a-ok for doing what they know to be wrong?

In that mindset of the militairy these men at mythic heros.

They're just men and this former Marine knows that. I respect the rank and at least four general officers who served in the past twenty years have earned my admiration but .. mythic? Puh-lease.

Military men say "yes sir" because they have to. That's what being in the military is all about. For these guys to come out against Rummy is huge. But this is only partly about Iraq. Iraq is not the focal point of Rummy's tenure. The real subject here is the internal war in the Pentagon between Rummy's small-army technocrats and the tradionalists in the military who think that Rummy's philosophy is bunk.

Rummy believes that the military should be run like a modern business, with just-in-time supply lines, small flexible reactive units, gobs of networked computers, and aerial bombing. The shortcomings of this approach have been made very clear in Iraq. Supply lines get broken, small units get isolated, networks go down, bombs without ground troops are counterproductive.

From the point of view of these generals, Iraq was a proving ground for new ideas, and the new ideas failed horribly. This is independent of whether going after Iraq in the first place was a good idea or not. Generals don't make political decisions; they carry out orders. They did the best they could with what they had, but the plan -- and more importantly the entire philosophical underpinning of the plan, the neo-con idea -- was a bad one.

It doesn't have anything to do with how many people are or were against the war or want the troops home or whatever. That's not how generals think.

Military men say "yes sir" because they have to. That's what being in the military is all about.

Yes and no. No one is expected to say 'yes sir' to an illegal order. You are expected to provide input to your superiors right up to the point where the order is given. Then you say 'yes sir' and shut up and soldier. This is the way it works.

More, general officers have an obligation to stand up and put their career (or lives) at risk when it's important. There is a long tradition for doing this - Doolittle over airpower in the 20s, Sims fought the entire Naval establishment to create a modern Navy at the turn of the century. There were general officers who stood in the door over policy after Vietnam and paid for it.

That is why they make the big bucks - it's the price of admission for the privlege of bearing a general officer's flag.

If these guys saw problems during or before the war and didn't say anything ... they're no one I can respect. Nor should you.

Forty years of service, three or four stars - combat, Penta. service -

Brian, yes close to mythic in the metaphoric sense.

I have some perspective from the Navy. Close range to high
command - my point is they carry lot of influence adn will be taken very seriously. And more will show up as well.

Bush has all but destroyed the field army. God know what this means for the Navy.

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