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Posted: 4/14/2006 2:27:50 PM EST

Gutsy or is it backstabbing?


www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,191783,00.html

Bush Pledges Support For Rumsfeld
Friday, April 14, 2006

WASHINGTON — President Bush issued a strong statement of support for Donald Rumsfeld on Friday despite several calls for the defense secretary's resignation by six ex-generals this month.

When the president spoke to Rumsfeld earlier in the day about ongoing military operations in the War on Terror, Bush said he "reiterated my strong support for his leadership during this historic and challenging time for our nation."

"I have seen first-hand how Don relies upon our military commanders in the field and at the Pentagon to make decisions about how best to complete these missions," Bush said in a statement issued while he was spending Easter weekend at Camp David. "Secretary Rumsfeld's energetic and steady leadership is exactly what is needed at this critical period. He has my full support and deepest appreciation."

Some former top military generals say Rumsfeld has not been held accountable for failures in Iraq and ignores the advice of generals. Rumsfeld has no plans to step down, a senior Pentagon official said Friday.

"The fact that two or three or four retired people have different views, I respect their views," Rumsfeld said in an interview aired Friday on Al-Arabiya television, adding he intends to serve at the pleasure of the president. "But obviously if, out of thousands and thousands of admirals and generals, if every time two or three people disagreed we changed the secretary of defense of the United States, it would be like a merry-go-round."


Retired Maj. Gen. John Batiste, one of the men calling for Rumsfeld's ouster, on Friday denied that the slew of anti-Rumsfeld comments constitute a coordinated effort to get him fired, and called the recent series of critical statements "absolutely coincidental."

"I have not talked to the other generals," Batiste, interviewed from Rochester, N.Y., said on NBC"s "Today" show. Nevertheless, he said he thinks the clamor for Rumsfeld to step down is "happening for a reason."

Asked why he was focusing his criticism on Rumsfeld and not Bush, Batiste replied, "My focus is on the Department of Defense. It's what I know."

The White House backs Rumsfeld, saying Bush is confident in the top military leader's abilities.

"The Department of Defense has been tasked with many difficult missions," Bush said in his Friday statement. "Upon assuming office, I asked Don to transform the largest department in our government. That kind of change is hard, but our nation must have a military that is fully prepared to confront the dangerous threats of the 21st century. Don and our military commanders have also been tasked to take the fight to the enemy abroad on multiple fronts."

The concerns come as the White House sees its first big change in Bush's loyal staff with the departure of Chief of Staff Andy Card. White House Budget Director Joshua Bolten takes over the reins next week.

"The president believes Secretary Rumsfeld is doing a very fine job during a challenging period in our nation's history," Bush spokesman Scott McClellan said as two more retired generals called for the secretary's resignation Thursday, bringing the number this month to six.

Rumsfeld told reporters earlier this week that he's not surprised to hear criticism during a war.

"I think one ought to expect that when you're involved in something that's controversial as certainly this war is, one ought to expect that," Rumsfeld said.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, told FOX News that she finds the criticism by ex-generals "troubling."

"It is troubling and I think there are many facets to generals speaking out after they have retired," Hutchison said. "I think that the president has to make the decision and you don't dump someone because of a personality conflict, you dump someone if you don't have confidence in the direction the Pentagon is going, and the president needs to make that decision."

Military experts say the parade of recently retired military brass calling for Rumsfeld's resignation is troubling and threatens to undermine strong support that Bush has enjoyed among the officer corps and troops.

With public anti-war sentiment increasing, "the president and his team cannot afford to lose that support," said Kurt Campbell, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense.

Batiste, who commanded the 1st Infantry Division forces in Iraq, said he declined an opportunity to get a promotion to the rank of lieutenant general and return to the country as the No. 2 U.S. military officer because he could not accept Rumsfeld's tough management style.

He said he doesn't think Rumsfeld has been sufficiently accountable for the plan that led to the invasion of Iraq and the ouster of Saddam Hussein, although he also said that "we have no option but to succeed in Iraq."

"I support civilian control (of the military) completely," Batiste told interviewers on CBS's "The Early Show."

But, he added, "we went to war with a flawed plan that didn't account for the hard work to build the peace after we took down the regime. We also served under a secretary of defense who didn't understand leadership, who was abusive, who was arrogant, and who didn't build a strong team."

Retired Army Major Gen. John Riggs told National Public Radio that Rumsfeld fostered an "atmosphere of arrogance." Retired Army Maj. Gen. Charles Swannack said he also has doubts of Rumsfeld's abilities to understand the principles of war.

"I really believe that we need a new secretary of defense because Secretary Rumsfeld carries way too much baggage with him. ... I think we need senior military leaders who understand the principles of war and apply them ruthlessly, and when the time comes, they need to call it like it is," Swannack said.

Another ex-general said Rumsfeld should be held accountable for failures in Iraq.

"He has shown himself incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically, and is far more than anyone responsible for what has happened to our important mission in Iraq. ... Mr. Rumsfeld must step down," said Retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton.

Earlier calls for Rumsfeld's replacement came from retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni and retired Marine Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold.

The defense secretary has been a lightning rod for criticism since the war began in March 2003.

He was blamed for committing too few U.S. troops and for underestimating the strength of the insurgency. He took heat in 2004 over the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at the U.S. Army-run Abu Ghraib prison, and for a brusque response he gave to an Army National Guard soldier in Kuwait who questioned him on inadequate armor.

Pentagon spokesman Eric Ruff said Thursday that Rumsfeld has not talked to the White House about resigning — and is not considering it.

"I don't know how many generals there have been in the last five years that have served in the United States Armed Services, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds," Rumsfeld said. "And there are several who have opinions, and there's nothing wrong with people having opinions."


Link Posted: 4/14/2006 2:29:09 PM EST
Kinda makes me think the 'United We Stand' phrase doesn't apply so much anymore.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 2:29:12 PM EST
Im not an ex-general so i'm not qualified to respond.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 2:31:44 PM EST
Trying to make a buck while they can.

Sell more books.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 2:32:54 PM EST
There are a lot of ex Generals who arent speaking out. It is all hype. Does it really suprise anyone that out of a sample of a few thousand (How many ex Generals there are out there) They can find a few to say ANYTHING. Statisticaly it is nothing. All the Generals who more or less see it the other way is not news. All the media needs is just one to say the opposite...now that is a story.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 2:33:55 PM EST
FWIW, a member of my family (a retired USMC Col) used to work with him. He said he was the most ignorant and arrogant bastard he'd ever seen.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 2:33:56 PM EST

Originally Posted By neshomamench:
There are a lot of ex Generals who arent speaking out. It is all hype. Does it really suprise anyone that out of a sample of a few thousand (How many ex Generals there are out there) They can find a few to say ANYTHING. Statisticaly it is nothing. All the Generals who more or less see it the other way is not news. All the media needs is just one to say the opposite...now that is a story.



So you think most of the others are backing Rumsfield?
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 2:33:57 PM EST
I've thought of Rumsfeld as a loser bitch ever since that "old Rumsfeld" shit with France...
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 2:34:36 PM EST
Try looking in this thread. Your answer may be there.

www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&f=75&t=453843
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 2:38:54 PM EST
This doesn't sway me at all. Unless I receive an unlawful order, I'm going to follow orders.

Until these generals can demonstrate that the Constitution was violated, I take their comments with a grain of salt.

It's the SecDef's job to carry out the will of the leader of the Executive branch. It's not the SecDef's job to carry out the will of his subordinates. If the generals don't like their orders they should step aside as conscientious objectors and let someone step in who will do the job with his all.

That being said, I think the war strategy was missing a properly articulated end state. That is the only stategic level mistake that I see here.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 2:42:09 PM EST
they must be wanted to run for the dem presidential nomination
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 2:49:06 PM EST
They're fully entitled to their opinions, right or wrong. Not that it will get them any points with ARFcom members...
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 2:58:02 PM EST
IMO-

Doing it when you are retired reeks of axe grinding and bitterness.

I don't like it, becasue it seems like they
are bucking for a CNN appearence fee.

If you have balls, do it while you are active,
like Kasvelli (sp) did.

Of course, he got the can.

But he has his dignaty.

If his advice was heeded, many lives would have been saved.

Too bad the retired Generals valued their careers over lives.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 3:00:51 PM EST

Originally Posted By Bubblehead597:
Try looking in this thread. Your answer may be there.

www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&f=75&t=453843



Just skimmed it (I'm at work still)...several interesting points...I agree that these guys should stay out of foreign policy for the most part but a few of the Generals are complaining that their plans and ideas on tactics and troop strength went ignored as well.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 3:01:11 PM EST
Until Steiner or Downing come out against Rummy, I think these fuckers should have a freeze put on their retirement pay.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 3:19:12 PM EST

Originally Posted By Bubblehead597:
Try looking in this thread. Your answer may be there.

www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&f=75&t=453843



Scary how the division between those of us in the military and the "neocon" (for lack of a better word) war hawks is so painfully clear in that thread.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 3:21:41 PM EST

Originally Posted By Goonboss:
IMO-

Doing it when you are retired reeks of axe grinding and bitterness.

I don't like it, becasue it seems like they
are bucking for a CNN appearence fee.

If you have balls, do it while you are active,
like Kasvelli (sp) did.

Of course, he got the can.

But he has his dignaty.

If his advice was heeded, many lives would have been saved.

Too bad the retired Generals valued their careers over lives.



I'm thinking the opposite: It is bad form to criticise your superiors when still in uniform. Ultimately, it is not a serviceman's job, even when wearing stars, to question the abilities of those appointed over him. Ony when retired should one be authorised to speak freely.

NTM
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 3:22:56 PM EST
They are senile. Doh.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 3:23:15 PM EST

Originally Posted By Goonboss:
IMO-

Doing it when you are retired reeks of axe grinding and bitterness.

I don't like it, becasue it seems like they
are bucking for a CNN appearence fee.

If you have balls, do it while you are active,
like Kasvelli (sp) did.

Of course, he got the can.

But he has his dignaty.

If his advice was heeded, many lives would have been saved.

Too bad the retired Generals valued their careers over lives.


Right there with you on this one.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 3:29:30 PM EST

Originally Posted By Manic_Moran:

Originally Posted By Goonboss:
IMO-

Doing it when you are retired reeks of axe grinding and bitterness.

I don't like it, becasue it seems like they
are bucking for a CNN appearence fee.

If you have balls, do it while you are active,
like Kasvelli (sp) did.

Of course, he got the can.

But he has his dignaty.

If his advice was heeded, many lives would have been saved.

Too bad the retired Generals valued their careers over lives.



I'm thinking the opposite: It is bad form to criticise your superiors when still in uniform. Ultimately, it is not a serviceman's job, even when wearing stars, to question the abilities of those appointed over him. Ony when retired should one be authorised to speak freely.

NTM


I have to strongly disagree. If you believe that a course of action is that wrong-headed you have to do something to make the greatest impact. See "Revolt of the Admirals."
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 3:31:01 PM EST

Originally Posted By walrus:
FWIW, a member of my family (a retired USMC Col) used to work with him. He said he was the most ignorant and arrogant bastard he'd ever seen.



Which one, Batiste or Rumsfeld?
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 3:33:55 PM EST

Originally Posted By dport:I have to strongly disagree. If you believe that a course of action is that wrong-headed you have to do something to make the greatest impact. See "Revolt of the Admirals."


Perhaps you have forgotten about what happend to GEN Shinseki?

Or maybe you forgot that the they pulled a guy out of retirement to serve as the Army Chief of Staff?

This is not new - we finally have people in a postiion to speak out.

Link Posted: 4/14/2006 3:37:05 PM EST
[Last Edit: 4/14/2006 3:38:08 PM EST by MTShawn]

Originally Posted By dport:

Originally Posted By Manic_Moran:

Originally Posted By Goonboss:
IMO-

Doing it when you are retired reeks of axe grinding and bitterness.

I don't like it, becasue it seems like they
are bucking for a CNN appearence fee.

If you have balls, do it while you are active,
like Kasvelli (sp) did.

Of course, he got the can.

But he has his dignaty.

If his advice was heeded, many lives would have been saved.

Too bad the retired Generals valued their careers over lives.



I'm thinking the opposite: It is bad form to criticise your superiors when still in uniform. Ultimately, it is not a serviceman's job, even when wearing stars, to question the abilities of those appointed over him. Ony when retired should one be authorised to speak freely.

NTM


I have to strongly disagree. If you believe that a course of action is that wrong-headed you have to do something to make the greatest impact. See "Revolt of the Admirals."



If these Generals went through the proper channels, within their respective branches, to make their concerns known in a professional manner and were rebuffed, then I don't have too much problem with them speaking out in public now. I agree with Manic here - you wash your dirty laundry at home when you are there - after you've left the nest, feel free to use the public laundromat.

I've briefed MG (RET) Swannack a couple of times, and sat through a lot more briefings with him present. I thought pretty highly of him. Seeing him come out and voice his issues has given me pause for reconsideration regarding Secretary Rumsfeld.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 3:40:24 PM EST

Originally Posted By Bohr_Adam:

Originally Posted By dport:I have to strongly disagree. If you believe that a course of action is that wrong-headed you have to do something to make the greatest impact. See "Revolt of the Admirals."


Perhaps you have forgotten about what happend to GEN Shinseki?

Or maybe you forgot that the they pulled a guy out of retirement to serve as the Army Chief of Staff?

This is not new - we finally have people in a postiion to speak out.



Which makes what these generals are doing all the more deplorable, IMO. There are flags that have sacrificed their careers to try to correct what they perceived to be a wrong. Imagine if a division commander publically retired/resigned/whatever either right before or better right after a deployment. What kind of statement would that make? I think it would make a damn big one. Instead it looks like these guys are making sure their VA benefits are all lined up before speaking out. By doing that it can dilute the message with the perception of axe grinding.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 3:40:58 PM EST

Originally Posted By Manic_Moran:

Originally Posted By Goonboss:
IMO-

Doing it when you are retired reeks of axe grinding and bitterness.

I don't like it, becasue it seems like they
are bucking for a CNN appearence fee.

If you have balls, do it while you are active,
like Kasvelli (sp) did.

Of course, he got the can.

But he has his dignaty.

If his advice was heeded, many lives would have been saved.

Too bad the retired Generals valued their careers over lives.



I'm thinking the opposite: It is bad form to criticise your superiors when still in uniform. Ultimately, it is not a serviceman's job, even when wearing stars, to question the abilities of those appointed over him. Ony when retired should one be authorised to speak freely.

NTM



It's not only bad form, its illegal under he UCMJ.


Article 88—Contempt toward officials

Text.

“Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”

Elements.

(1) That the accused was a commissioned officer of the United States armed forces;

(2) That the accused used certain words against an official or legislature named in the article;

(3) That by an act of the accused these words came to the knowledge of a person other than the accused; and

(4) That the words used were contemptuous, either in themselves or by virtue of the circumstances under which they were used.

Note: If the words were against a Governor or legislature, add the following element

(5) That the accused was then present in the State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession of the Governor or legislature concerned.

Explanation.

The official or legislature against whom the words are used must be occupying one of the offices or be one of the legislatures named in Article 88 at the time of the offense. Neither “Congress” nor “legislature” includes its members individually. “Governor” does not include “lieutenant governor.” It is immaterial whether the words are used against the official in an official or private capacity. If not personally contemptuous, ad-verse criticism of one of the officials or legislatures named in the article in the course of a political discussion, even though emphatically expressed, may not be charged as a violation of the article.

Similarly, expressions of opinion made in a purely private conversation should not rdinarily be charged. Giving broad circulation to a written publication containing contemptuous words of the kind made punishable by this article, or the utterance of contemptuous words of this kind in the presence of military subordinates, aggravates the offense. The truth or falsity of the statements is immaterial.



Of course it's possible to question the decisions of the civilian leaders in private, or in a very respectful manner without violating Article 88.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 3:42:24 PM EST

Originally Posted By MTShawn:
If these Generals went through the proper channels, within their respective branches, to make their concerns known in a professional manner and were rebuffed, then I don't have too much problem with them speaking out in public now. I agree with Manic here - you wash your dirty laundry at home when you are there - after you've left the nest, feel free to use the public laundromat.

I've briefed MG (RET) Swannack a couple of times, and sat through a lot more briefings with him present. I thought pretty highly of him. Seeing him come out and voice his issues has given me pause for reconsideration regarding Secretary Rumsfeld.


The problem is when you are in an organization whose bottom line is to obey orders you can't correct a what you believe to be wrong, you can only mitigate it to the best of your ability.

Generals, especially 3 and 4 stars, are political creatures, whether we want to admit to it or not.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 3:44:00 PM EST
Traitorous asshats. Loyalty is an admirable character trait, and these walking blowjobs have none.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 3:47:09 PM EST

Originally Posted By dport:

Originally Posted By Bohr_Adam:

Originally Posted By dport:I have to strongly disagree. If you believe that a course of action is that wrong-headed you have to do something to make the greatest impact. See "Revolt of the Admirals."


Perhaps you have forgotten about what happend to GEN Shinseki?

Or maybe you forgot that the they pulled a guy out of retirement to serve as the Army Chief of Staff?

This is not new - we finally have people in a postiion to speak out.



Which makes what these generals are doing all the more deplorable, IMO. There are flags that have sacrificed their careers to try to correct what they perceived to be a wrong. Imagine if a division commander publically retired/resigned/whatever either right before or better right after a deployment. What kind of statement would that make? I think it would make a damn big one. Instead it looks like these guys are making sure their VA benefits are all lined up before speaking out. By doing that it can dilute the message with the perception of axe grinding.



I disagree.

Folks senior to them spoke out and spoke out loudly, and were rebuffed. Read between the lines in GEN Franks' book and you will understand what it must have been like to be a planner leading up to OIF.

Make you point known, then drive on. To go any further puts your organization and your Soldiers at risk. You don't only have yourself to think about when you are still active.

If we had a press worth a shit, much more would have come out a long time ago.

The comment about VA benenfits is ludicrous - as even Generals who fuck their secretaries are allowed to retire with benefits.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 3:48:30 PM EST

Originally Posted By Arkansas_Rocketman:
Traitorous asshats. Loyalty is an admirable character trait, and these walking blowjobs have none.



I am sure your service record clearly shows you have a leg to stand on with your comments.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 3:48:40 PM EST

Originally Posted By Manic_Moran:

I'm thinking the opposite: It is bad form to criticise your superiors when still in uniform. Ultimately, it is not a serviceman's job, even when wearing stars, to question the abilities of those appointed over him. Ony when retired should one be authorised to speak freely.

NTM



Agreed. And this is exactly what I heard one of them say last night.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 3:57:06 PM EST
The following are my comments from the other thread I linked earlier. They apply now, with additional.

"They are all retired now, but they should still keep their yaps shut until it is over with. Imagine being stationed in Iraq (any of you can pipe in anytime), and beginning to hear all these former senior officers that kept telling YOU it is the right thing to do, duty, honor, etc, etc. now telling you that it is all wrong?

Gee, if anyone should be held accountable for morale that may start to slide, heres some good examples.

Totally irresponsible. They should be ashamed of themselves and stop accepting their rather lucrative retirement pay NOW.

I don't care if they are now retired, they still carry big weight with those they led just some months ago and should shut up about it until those soldiers are out of harms way. They are just adding to the liberal screeching about the entire situation. "

If the situation was so bloody bad in the beginning, it sure wasn't bad enough for them to call anyone on it then, so why not wait until we are out of there?

It is inexcusable.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 4:39:03 PM EST
Any fool can criticize and complain, and most do. I like this take on the latest favorite story of the Drive-By Media's:



Generals (and for the purpose of this argument let’s consider Rumsfeld a General) have a lot of reasons to disagree. But one of the things that separates Generals is the crude classification between fighting Generals and, for lack of a better term, more sensitive Generals.

In World War II, you had fighting Generals like MacArthur and Patton. One thing the fighting generals have in common is that they tend to be such hard men that they’re easy to consider brutish. We all know of Patton’s infamous lack of patience for soldiers suffering combat fatigue. Here’s a story about MacArthur in a similar vein: While in charge of operations on the Philippines, he awaited the Japanese forces that he knew would kill him. He also knew the invaders would kill his wife and toddler son. This didn’t bother him – they were a soldier’s wife and son and such things happen to a soldier’s family.

On the other hand, you have more sensitive Generals like World War II’s Bradley or the Civil War’s McClellan. Generals like this are always in their time easier to love because they take death more seriously. McClellan didn’t want to use his army because he feared needless death and destruction. He would often publicly scoff at the civilian leadership who with no apparent sense of guilt would command his soldiers into the Valley of Death.

One of the invidious legacies of the Vietnam War is that “body bag syndrome” made the armed forces much more hospitable terrain for sensitive generals. This syndrome reached its exegesis with the Powell Doctrine. Not only were the U.S. Armed Forces in the early 1990’s being run by a risk averse man, his dubious wisdom was practically enshrined into policy.

THE DISPUTE BETWEEN RUMSFELD AND THE RETIRED GENERALS began when Rumsfeld came to the Pentagon in 2001. Rumsfeld knew the U.S. armed forces were structured to battle a giant conventional military like China. He thought this unwise. From his first day as Secretary of Defense, Rumsfeld was talking about “asymmetrical warfare” as the great threat confronting our country. He wanted to transform the military. The Joint Chiefs scoffed; they wanted to keep preparing for Armageddon with China.

Prior to 9/11, it looked like Rumsfeld might be the first Bush cabinet member out the door, beating even the inept Paul O’Neil. But in stunning fashion, the 9/11 attacks proved Rumsfeld right. 19 guys with box cutters inflicted devastating damage on America; it was a horrific display of asymmetrical warfare, and one that brought home the nature of the immediate conflict (if not its terminology) to virtually every American.

Since then, we’ve been in constant state of war. The Bush administration considers itself to be racing the clock. Either we will remake (or devastate or annihilate) the Middle East before our malefactors cross the nuclear Rubicon, or the price we pay will be unspeakably high. This formulation means we’re at war and a war that we have to conclude successfully. It’s an existential challenge.

LITERALLY SINCE THE BEGINNING OF WARFARE, there has been a school of generals that has demanded more troops and more resources. They have instinctively pronounced every goal unattainable unless they received almost unlimited resources.

The names of most of these generals are lost to time. While most Americans have probably heard of George Patton and Ulysses S. Grant, comparatively few have heard of Omar Bradley and George McClellan. There’s an obvious reason why the sensitive risk-averse generals usually see their names lost to history – they seldom get anything done.

But their arguments are always persuasive at the time they’re making them. McClellan wouldn’t risk his army. As a consequence, he suffered far fewer casualties than Grant did. When he sought the presidency in 1864, McClellan ran as a man of peace who would seek an armistice with the confederacy. Were it not for surprising Union triumphs in the second half of 1864, he would have defeated Lincoln.

Similarly, the Generals criticizing Rumsfeld occupy the higher ground. They can hurl epithets like “reckless” and “indifference.” They can criticize the conduct of the war, without offering a viable alternative because they are the sympathetic ones wanting to save the lives of our soldiers and even the lives of the other guy’s soldiers.

Alas, if we had jammed Iraq with “several hundred thousand troops” as Rumsfeld’s military critics insist was necessary, it’s hard to imagine how that would have enhanced our strategic possibilities. But the argument is purely academic. There weren’t a half million men available for Iraq. Period.

So the decision comes down to one of policy. Either transforming (or subduing) the Middle East had to be done or it didn’t. If it had to be done, it would only (and will only) be accomplished by significant expenditures of blood and treasure.

And that brings us back to the inherent conflict between the fighting generals and the other guys. While the New York Times would like us to think the events of the past few days are unprecedented, Douglas MacArthur blasted the Truman administration from the floor of Congress and across the country. And MacCarthur had significantly more fame and prestige than the press’ current favorite half dozen generals combined. (Don’t hold your breath waiting for these six to get a ticker tape parade in New York attended by a quarter million people.)

Again, there’s nothing new under the sun. The pages of Thucydides are full of such stuff.

dbsoxblog.blogspot.com/2006_04_01_dbsoxblog_archive.html#114505359870756393
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 4:55:04 PM EST
So, after 8 years of the Klinton's promoting generals based on politics, they can only find, what, 4 or 5 that will speak out??? Like someone said, how many retired generals are there? 4-5 is pretty close to zero.

Merlin
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 5:00:04 PM EST

Originally Posted By Bohr_Adam:

Originally Posted By dport:I have to strongly disagree. If you believe that a course of action is that wrong-headed you have to do something to make the greatest impact. See "Revolt of the Admirals."


Perhaps you have forgotten about what happend to GEN Shinseki?

Or maybe you forgot that the they pulled a guy out of retirement to serve as the Army Chief of Staff?
This is not new - we finally have people in a postiion to speak out.




AFIK, this has never been done and it speaks volumes that no one wanted the job.

The mainstream press never caught on to it.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 5:04:31 PM EST
As a former soldier,

General (r) Shinseki has my admiration.

He knew what was going to be needed and, he
was not afraid to exerscise a thing us big boys
call "Leadership"

He had backbone.

Can't have that.

"Yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir!"

"Just following orders!"



Too bad there was an independant thinker that thought
of troops and mission first rather than thier careers.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 5:30:22 PM EST

Originally Posted By Bohr_Adam:
I disagree.

Folks senior to them spoke out and spoke out loudly, and were rebuffed. Read between the lines in GEN Franks' book and you will understand what it must have been like to be a planner leading up to OIF.


And what would have happened if CDRCENTCOM would have resigned right before OIF? Think that could have shaped public opinion. It could have swayed the Congress and given them a backbone to oppose the war.


Make you point known, then drive on. To go any further puts your organization and your Soldiers at risk.


If they really were opposed to the war what puts their soldiers more at risk? Taking action that could very well prevent the conflict in the first place or by trying to mitigate the losses. Granted the first option is all or nothing, but the payoff benefits the soldier more.


You don't only have yourself to think about when you are still active.


And if you believe a WAR, where people ARE going to get KILLED is unnecessary then how are you not thinking about your people if you come out publically against it?



If we had a press worth a shit, much more would have come out a long time ago.


No argument there.


The comment about VA benenfits is ludicrous - as even Generals who fuck their secretaries are allowed to retire with benefits.


No kidding. Could it be that my comment was meant to illustrate that the generals in question here are more concerned about their careers and benefits than truly stopping an unjust war. Do you think the admirals that spoke out in '49 or Mac in the 50s or the recent Army Chief of Staff didn't get their benefits? I'm sure they did. The difference is they spoke out about what they thought was wrong, did it publically, theoretically violated the UCMJ, and still got their benefits. The difference is in those examples they thought about what was right for their people and their nation first.

Now that being said, I think 6 or 7 generals speaking out now doesn't say much. Stormin' Norman spoke out after retirement about how he wasn't allowed to crush the Republican Guard. General think militarily, not necessarily politically, so there is always bound to be friction between the politicians and the generals.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 5:30:56 PM EST

Originally Posted By Bubblehead597:
If the situation was so bloody bad in the beginning, it sure wasn't bad enough for them to call anyone on it then, so why not wait until we are out of there?

It is inexcusable.


Amen.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 5:34:19 PM EST
Just as most employees think they're smarter than their bosses, the average General thinks he's smarter than the Secratary of Defense.


Par golf.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 5:51:33 PM EST

Originally Posted By Goonboss:
As a former soldier,

General (r) Shinseki has my admiration.

He knew what was going to be needed and, he
was not afraid to exerscise a thing us big boys
call "Leadership"

He had backbone.

Can't have that.

"Yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir!"

"Just following orders!"



Too bad there was an independant thinker that thought
of troops and mission first rather than thier careers.



You mean Shinseki, whose bold initiative for transforming the Army consisted of putting chinese-made black berets on every soldier? Please.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 6:03:03 PM EST
[Last Edit: 4/14/2006 6:03:36 PM EST by Goonboss]

Originally Posted By Nimrod1193:

Originally Posted By Goonboss:
As a former soldier,

General (r) Shinseki has my admiration.

He knew what was going to be needed and, he
was not afraid to exerscise a thing us big boys
call "Leadership"

He had backbone.

Can't have that.

"Yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir!"

"Just following orders!"



Too bad there was an independant thinker that thought
of troops and mission first rather than thier careers.



You mean Shinseki, whose bold initiative for transforming the Army consisted of putting chinese-made black berets on every soldier? Please.



You are showing your painfully apparent ignorance.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 6:09:18 PM EST
Goddamn berets....mine was made in Canada....Quebec to be more precise....goddamn French headgear. Oh well, it's obviously more important to have US soldiers look like a bunch of pussies than to spend the extra millions of dollars on training...

...Thank you for your inspiring leadership decisions Shinseki.


--and the flag on my shoulder is great to have to wear everywhere too..
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 9:25:38 PM EST
Imagine you're a pretty senior general. Maybe even the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Your political superior has come up with a 'great idea' which you think is a mistake.

Obviously, the first thing you do is tell them 'This is a mistake.'

He can either listen to you, or not. Its his perrogative as the superior.

You can threaten to resign, as has been suggested earlier. However, it seems that if the superior is willing to let you go over the issue, your mere resignation sure as heck isn't going to stop it. If you resign, perhaps your conscience will be clear. Perhaps it would be worse. After all, if the superior is willing to let you go over a difference such as that, who's to say that he won't pick someone to replace you who is more of a 'yes man', and perhaps less competent?

In that case, if 'this damned fool thing' is going to happen anyway, you can probably do more to minimize the negative effects by working at your office in the Pentagon or CENTCOM than you could sitting on the armchair in your house in retirement, watching the events unfold on TV.

NTM
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 10:23:26 PM EST

Originally Posted By Nimrod1193:
You mean Shinseki, whose bold initiative for transforming the Army consisted of putting chinese-made black berets on every soldier? Please.



Perhaps you've heard of a thing called the Stryker?

The beret was a relatively small - and admittedly annoying - change, but it was hardly part of his plan for "transformation."

Interestingly, those who credit Rumsfeld with foresight rarely credit GEN Shinseki with the same. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone driving around Iraq in an M1114 who wouldn't prefer a Stryker. The units that have primarily secured Mosul were nothing but light infantry just a few years ago.

FWIW, the "Chinese" berets were made in Hong Kong - by a company that has made berets for the Rangers, Airborne, Special Forces, and Air Force for years - the whole "China" thing was politics at its worst.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 10:33:25 PM EST

Originally Posted By raven:

Generals (and for the purpose of this argument let’s consider Rumsfeld a General)


I should have quit right there.

This is not a dispute over whether we shold have attacked, but HOW and WHEN we attacked. As we are now on year 4, many folks who may have hoped for the best despite their advice being ignored may be feeling the strong need to speak up - as possibly advice from the ground is still falling on deaf ears.

Are some of you honestly suggesting that the collapse of law and order and subsequent free reign of insurgent elements in many parts of Iraq didn't vindicate those who foresaw that possibility and argued for more troops?

Do you folks NOT see the contrast between this administrations reaction to the advice of the top military planners for this war in Iraq, compared to, say, the Gulf War?

I have heard and studied all of the Generals your blogger friend wrote about - I guarantee the Generals in question have as well. In fact, I'd hazard to guess they have forgotten more about military history, planning, and organization than the blogger has ever learned.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 10:50:59 PM EST

Originally Posted By Merlin:
So, after 8 years of the Klinton's promoting generals based on politics, they can only find, what, 4 or 5 that will speak out??? Like someone said, how many retired generals are there? 4-5 is pretty close to zero.

Merlin



How many retired since March of '03 and had jobs relating to the planning for the war?

The Army active component only has roughly 300 1 and 2 stars, and a grand total of 64 with 3 and 4 stars. So much for "thousands."

I'd bet the Marines have FAR fewer 3 and 4 stars.
Link Posted: 4/14/2006 11:01:39 PM EST
Rummy is a Neocon tool.

The generals are true American heros. I hope more speak out. I hope those still on active duty stay quiet so to survive to clean up the damage Rummy and his civilians have done.
Link Posted: 4/15/2006 12:46:01 AM EST
Rummy needs the boot. I don't care how many stars are on that boot.
Link Posted: 4/15/2006 3:08:39 AM EST

Originally Posted By piccolo:
Just as most employees think they're smarter than their bosses, the average General thinks he's smarter than the Secratary of Defense.


Par golf.



Maybe they are. The campaign plan focused almost solely on capturing Baghdad. There were never enough troops to secure the "thousands" of suspected WMD sites in the country that were justification for the war and that most, including me, believed existed in Iraq. The Secretary choose to ignore lot of historical data and plans that had been on the shelf, updated annually, for over 10 years that had specific guidance on the number and type of forces needed for post-conflict stabilization. Planning for phase IV operations counted heavily on the use of coalition forces to supplement US and British troops at the same time that the Secretary was coining the term "Old Europe"

I had beena great admirer of this Secretary of Defense for his transformation plan to drag the military, especially the Army, out of its cold war mindset. Afghanistan was a brilliant campaign, but he (Rumsfeld) tried to force the same type of plan for OIF and the natures of those two campaigns were and remain very different.

Secretary Rumsfeld is the most hands-on SecDef in my lifetime. He has a direct role in the successes and "others" of US military since 2001. I don't think that he has much time left as Secretary.
Link Posted: 4/17/2006 7:59:52 PM EST

Originally Posted By Nimrod1193:

Originally Posted By walrus:
FWIW, a member of my family (a retired USMC Col) used to work with him. He said he was the most ignorant and arrogant bastard he'd ever seen.



Which one, Batiste or Rumsfeld?



Rumsfeld.
Link Posted: 4/17/2006 8:29:20 PM EST
Based on what I read about him he's not someone that would strike a general as a...... a great man...... I'm not terribly impressed by him and his public presence is at times worse than Bush's (inability to speak clearly). I often find myself saying "WTF is he talking about". However, he's right on one front. Do you wait for the never ending 'need' for more troops, equipment, training, arms, fuel, time to be satisfied before you begin an operation that you feel needs attention right now? Where are we to materialize these troops that we don't have? His comment about going to war with the military you have struck me as tack-on. One can stand around all day long and and point to this or that and say "why no armor", "Why no vests", "Why not more troops", "Why not put troops here", "Why not put troops there". In the end though, no matter what you do they will be there pointing at something.

Perhaps they are right. But they don't get to make the calls, we elected a man who appointed his secretary and they report to him. They can have an opinion and so can everyone else, but the administration felt it was urgent to get involved now, not wait for years till recruiting was better and numbers were up. History, not ABC news will decide if that was the right call, and the opinions of these generals will be just that. I tend to believe them a touch but he was never a favorite of mine so my opinion doesn't change much.
Link Posted: 4/17/2006 9:17:42 PM EST
http://www.suntimes.com/output/otherviews/cst-edt-ref17.html


If Rumsfeld's so bad, why didn't generals resign?
April 17, 2006

BY THOMAS LIPSCOMB

There is a great furor over whether the opinions of a number of retired high-ranking officers should tip the balance in the ongoing debate over the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

But the question really isn't whether Rumsfeld should resign. He has already resigned several times and had President Bush tear up his letters of resignation. He clearly is taking responsibility for his actions on a continuing basis.

But now that a galaxy of flag officers are raining down on Rumsfeld demanding his resignation, no one seems to have bothered to ask which, if any, of these generals had ever submitted his own resignation in protest against the conduct of the Iraq war, or the bumpy transition we are locked in now. The demands for Rumsfeld's resignation began with Gen. Anthony Zinni.

Differences in policy between the Pentagon brass and its civilian leadership are nothing new. At the end of the Clinton administration there was a dinner at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York in honor of the Joint Chiefs off Staff that illustrates this well. Over the years the Council has morphed from a small but influential voice in international policy issues to a glorified Rotary Club for Park Avenue investment bankers and lawyers. The once acerbic off-the-record questioning that rattled many of its guests of honor has degenerated into a love fest hosted largely for star-struck millionaires.

After listening to subtle and not so subtle digs at national defense policy by the guests of honor and appreciative sniggers from the audience, I jotted a question down on the back of a card and passed it to former Secretary of the Navy John Lehman, who was at my table. ''If you have so many significant disagreements with national defense policy, what have you done about it?'' Lehman wrote back that if I asked that question, he'd buy me lunch, and passed it back to me with a smile. So I asked it.

''What do you expect us to do?'' a senior Marine general replied. ''Resign,'' I said. ''Cyrus Vance did. And he was [President Jimmy] Carter's secretary of state.'' ''You are questioning my cojones, and I am a Marine!'' the general shot back as the millionaire fan club gasped at my disrespect.

He was right. I was. I still am, his and any general officers who apparently decided discretion was the better part of a nice retirement parade with a medal or two and a couple of offers of board positions. At least Wesley Clark got himself fired and summarily retired as NATO commander in comparative disgrace for submarining the Balkans policies of his Oxford classmate President Bill Clinton and his defense secretary, William Cohen. Gen. Billy Mitchell is regarded by many as having saved American military aviation by accepting a court-martial and resigning from the service he loved because of his differences in policy with the federal government.

Retired military and civil servants are receiving ongoing retirement pay from American taxpayers. If they want to give the public the benefit of their experience in consideration of current policies, we are fortunate to get it. But policy differences are one matter and calls for a specific resignation are quite something else. As a book publishing executive for many years, I have always welcomed the opportunity to make a buck by publishing ''now it can be told revelations'' from those formerly in power. And timing those ''revelations'' to promote a forthcoming book is one of the oldest tricks in the trade.

But if Generals Gregory Newbold, John Batiste, Zinni and others have believed Rumsfeld's policies have been so dire that they are calling for his resignation, their opinions would have carried far more weight if they had stated them at some personal cost to themselves while on active service by resigning in protest. That action might have also carried some evidence of the courage Americans expect of the highest ranking officers of its uniformed services.


Thomas Lipscomb is senior fellow of the Annenberg Center for the Digital Future. He founded Times Books. tom@digitalfuture.org


********


Steve
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