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Posted: 4/10/2006 3:55:32 AM EDT

Time
April 17, 2006

Why Iraq Was A Mistake

A military insider sounds off against the war and the 'zealots' who pushed it

By Lieut. General Greg Newbold (ret.)

Two senior military officers are known to have challenged Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on the planning of the Iraq war. Army General Eric Shinseki publicly dissented and found himself marginalized. Marine Lieut. General Greg Newbold, the Pentagon's top operations officer, voiced his objections internally and then retired, in part out of opposition to the war. Here, for the first time, Newbold goes public with a full-throated critique:

In 1971, the rock group The Who released the antiwar anthem Won't Get Fooled Again. To most in my generation, the song conveyed a sense of betrayal by the nation's leaders, who had led our country into a costly and unnecessary war in Vietnam. To those of us who were truly counterculture--who became career members of the military during those rough times--the song conveyed a very different message. To us, its lyrics evoked a feeling that we must never again stand by quietly while those ignorant of and casual about war lead us into another one and then mismanage the conduct of it. Never again, we thought, would our military's senior leaders remain silent as American troops were marched off to an ill-considered engagement. It's 35 years later, and the judgment is in: the Who had it wrong. We have been fooled again.

From 2000 until October 2002, I was a Marine Corps lieutenant general and director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. After 9/11, I was a witness and therefore a party to the actions that led us to the invasion of Iraq--an unnecessary war. Inside the military family, I made no secret of my view that the zealots' rationale for war made no sense. And I think I was outspoken enough to make those senior to me uncomfortable. But I now regret that I did not more openly challenge those who were determined to invade a country whose actions were peripheral to the real threat--al-Qaeda. I retired from the military four months before the invasion, in part because of my opposition to those who had used 9/11's tragedy to hijack our security policy. Until now, I have resisted speaking out in public. I've been silent long enough.

I am driven to action now by the missteps and misjudgments of the White House and the Pentagon, and by my many painful visits to our military hospitals. In those places, I have been both inspired and shaken by the broken bodies but unbroken spirits of soldiers, Marines and corpsmen returning from this war. The cost of flawed leadership continues to be paid in blood. The willingness of our forces to shoulder such a load should make it a sacred obligation for civilian and military leaders to get our defense policy right. They must be absolutely sure that the commitment is for a cause as honorable as the sacrifice.

With the encouragement of some still in positions of military leadership, I offer a challenge to those still in uniform: a leader's responsibility is to give voice to those who can't--or don't have the opportunity to--speak. Enlisted members of the armed forces swear their oath to those appointed over them; an officer swears an oath not to a person but to the Constitution. The distinction is important.

Before the antiwar banners start to unfurl, however, let me make clear--I am not opposed to war. I would gladly have traded my general's stars for a captain's bars to lead our troops into Afghanistan to destroy the Taliban and al-Qaeda. And while I don't accept the stated rationale for invading Iraq, my view--at the moment--is that a precipitous withdrawal would be a mistake. It would send a signal, heard around the world, that would reinforce the jihadists' message that America can be defeated, and thus increase the chances of future conflicts. If, however, the Iraqis prove unable to govern, and there is open civil war, then I am prepared to change my position.

I will admit my own prejudice: my deep affection and respect are for those who volunteer to serve our nation and therefore shoulder, in those thin ranks, the nation's most sacred obligation of citizenship. To those of you who don't know, our country has never been served by a more competent and professional military. For that reason, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's recent statement that "we" made the "right strategic decisions" but made thousands of "tactical errors" is an outrage. It reflects an effort to obscure gross errors in strategy by shifting the blame for failure to those who have been resolute in fighting. The truth is, our forces are successful in spite of the strategic guidance they receive, not because of it.

What we are living with now is the consequences of successive policy failures. Some of the missteps include: the distortion of intelligence in the buildup to the war, McNamara-like micromanagement that kept our forces from having enough resources to do the job, the failure to retain and reconstitute the Iraqi military in time to help quell civil disorder, the initial denial that an insurgency was the heart of the opposition to occupation, alienation of allies who could have helped in a more robust way to rebuild Iraq, and the continuing failure of the other agencies of our government to commit assets to the same degree as the Defense Department. My sincere view is that the commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions--or bury the results.

Flaws in our civilians are one thing; the failure of the Pentagon's military leaders is quite another. Those are men who know the hard consequences of war but, with few exceptions, acted timidly when their voices urgently needed to be heard. When they knew the plan was flawed, saw intelligence distorted to justify a rationale for war, or witnessed arrogant micromanagement that at times crippled the military's effectiveness, many leaders who wore the uniform chose inaction. A few of the most senior officers actually supported the logic for war. Others were simply intimidated, while still others must have believed that the principle of obedience does not allow for respectful dissent. The consequence of the military's quiescence was that a fundamentally flawed plan was executed for an invented war, while pursuing the real enemy, al-Qaeda, became a secondary effort.

There have been exceptions, albeit uncommon, to the rule of silence among military leaders. Former Army Chief of Staff General Shinseki, when challenged to offer his professional opinion during prewar congressional testimony, suggested that more troops might be needed for the invasion's aftermath. The Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense castigated him in public and marginalized him in his remaining months in his post. Army General John Abizaid, head of Central Command, has been forceful in his views with appointed officials on strategy and micromanagement of the fight in Iraq--often with success. Marine Commandant General Mike Hagee steadfastly challenged plans to underfund, understaff and underequip his service as the Corps has struggled to sustain its fighting capability.

To be sure, the Bush Administration and senior military officials are not alone in their culpability. Members of Congress--from both parties--defaulted in fulfilling their constitutional responsibility for oversight. Many in the media saw the warning signs and heard cautionary tales before the invasion from wise observers like former Central Command chiefs Joe Hoar and Tony Zinni but gave insufficient weight to their views. These are the same news organizations that now downplay both the heroic and the constructive in Iraq.

So what is to be done? We need fresh ideas and fresh faces. That means, as a first step, replacing Rumsfeld and many others unwilling to fundamentally change their approach. The troops in the Middle East have performed their duty. Now we need people in Washington who can construct a unified strategy worthy of them. It is time to send a signal to our nation, our forces and the world that we are uncompromising on our security but are prepared to rethink how we achieve it. It is time for senior military leaders to discard caution in expressing their views and ensure that the President hears them clearly. And that we won't be fooled again.

Link Posted: 4/10/2006 4:42:31 AM EDT
Hi, I am Lt. General Newbold, and I would like to be the Secretary of Defense. (under the new Democrat President)
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 5:35:34 AM EDT


Time
April 17, 2006

Why Iraq Was A Mistake

A military insider sounds off against the war and the 'zealots' who pushed it
<snip>



Oh.

No wonder.
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 5:36:18 AM EDT

Originally Posted By phatmax:
Hi, I am Lt. General Newbold, and I would like to be the Secretary of Defense. (under the new Democrat President)



Yup. Somebody doesn't want their fourth star.
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 6:03:57 AM EDT
Remember, during the Clinton Admin a lot of lousy, limp-wristed Army, Navy and AF officers who had the right "PC" ideas were promoted over more deserving warriors.
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 6:05:47 AM EDT
I think this guy is a bit more than disgruntled. Fully gruntled in spades with a silver cluster sums it up nicely.
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 6:16:20 AM EDT
I tend to doubt anyone who waits years to speak up. It says a whole lot about exactly how 'important' it is that their 'timely message of protest' gets heard.

Political aspirations? One way or another I bet he is looking to expand his pension plan.
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 6:25:39 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/10/2006 6:27:18 AM EDT by thebeekeeper1]
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 6:28:10 AM EDT


With the encouragement of some still in positions of military leadership, I offer a challenge to those still in uniform: a leader's responsibility is to give voice to those who can't--or don't have the opportunity to--speak. Enlisted members of the armed forces swear their oath to those appointed over them; an officer swears an oath not to a person but to the Constitution. The distinction is important.

Before the antiwar banners start to unfurl ...


WTF? He wants officers to vocally support the anti-war movement?

Methinks that would not go over well.
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 6:41:33 AM EDT

Originally Posted By SmilingBandit:
Originally Posted By phatmax:
Hi, I am Lt. General Newbold, and I would like to be the Secretary of Defense. (under the new Democrat President)



Don't you know the "military" is just another social program to these people. I was "counter-culture" also. ("Mother Green" helped me see the light.)

It's funny. I wasn't mainstream then and I'm not mainstream now just on opposite ends of the spectrum.

It's going to be very interesting to follow this one!


Hessian-1
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 6:48:40 AM EDT
And this is why military members are forbidden from expressing their opinions. THis officer can be charged under the UCMJ, and I hope he is.

The damage to moral from an officer running his mouth in public is a huge problem.
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 7:21:01 AM EDT

Generals are generally policticians. Esp. those with 2 or more stars.

I have little respect for those that won't fight for what is right when they are in a position to change things for the better. Retiring and whining about it three or four years later? Sour grapes and a moral coward.

Thank you for your service....... now cash your d@mn retirement check and shut up.



Link Posted: 4/10/2006 7:29:25 AM EDT
He's a tool. I don't care what your rank or title is....it's the argument, the reasons, that count. And the affirmation "Iraq was an unnecessary war" is false, demonstrably so.

One, because Iraq DID HAVE connections to 'international terrorists', just because some were international in the sense of attacking us in Saudi Arabia and Israel doesn't mean they weren't 'bad guys' on par with Al Qaeda.

Two, because it DOES NOW APPEAR that Iraq DID have official level contacts with Al Qaeda and that certainly explains why the retreads who were beaten in Afghanistan showed up in Baghdad....

Three. because Iraq is the strategic linchpin of the entire region, bordering both Syria and Iran and butressing the SA penninsula.... having a solid presence there accomplishes two strategic goals: it gives us options with regard to the other AXIS OF EVIL regimes in the region we didn't have with just bases in Kuwait (where the feckless Dems want us to retreat to) and it allows us to 'drain the swamp' of Jihadis who pour into Iraq to fight and be killed by the best fighters in the world (as opposed to letting them attack us here at home and then clean up the mess with 100,000 NEW EMT and firemen as the DEMS propose we do).

Four, because Saddam was demonstrably NOT IN A BOX by the Oil for corruption scandal, the fact that all the other Security Council nations were on the take, that Russia, France, Germany, China and others were actively selling armaments to Saddam throughout the 1990's, in violation of all UN sanctions.... the fact that there existed TWO illegal oil pipelines to Syria, etc....
By not invading, Saddam would have gotten UN lifting of the sanctions in short order and then restarted his major weapon programs unchecked.

Five, there's no such thing in Muslim history (or world history) as ideological foes NOT cooperating with each other against a common foe.... WE COOPERATED WITH STALIN VS. HITLER... so only a complete tool would think that the 'secularist' Suni Saddam would never, ever, ever deal with the religious Wahabi Suni Osama to wage proxy war against the USA, or that Shiite Iran wouldn't gladly work with Wahabis to attack "the great satan".

Six, We are winning in Iraq despite all the agitprop and doom and gloom in the MSM - just as the economy is roaring ahead and is BETTER THAN THE 1990'S ECONOMY IN ALL ASPECTS, despite the constant drum beat of doom and gloom stories from the DEM controlled MSM. Now is not the time to claim defeat and pull out.


Link Posted: 4/10/2006 7:42:07 AM EDT

Originally Posted By SmilingBandit:

Yup. Somebody doesn't want their fourth star.



For the record, he retired from a job that would have virtually guaranteed a fourth star if he had stayed in.
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 8:22:30 AM EDT

Originally Posted By H46Driver:

Originally Posted By SmilingBandit:

Yup. Somebody doesn't want their fourth star.



For the record, he retired from a job that would have virtually guaranteed a fourth star if he had stayed in.



Well, he is a general officer, so reactivate his ass. That is the downside to being a lifer.
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 8:27:54 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Hydguy:

Originally Posted By H46Driver:

Originally Posted By SmilingBandit:

Yup. Somebody doesn't want their fourth star.



For the record, he retired from a job that would have virtually guaranteed a fourth star if he had stayed in.



Well, he is a general officer, so reactivate his ass. That is the downside to being a lifer.




It will never happen, sorry but The United States has gone limp
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 8:35:01 AM EDT
nothing about the southern border makes all of his arguments irrelevant.
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 8:46:36 AM EDT
I'm right and everyone else is wrong.
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 9:24:37 AM EDT

Originally Posted By thebeekeeper1:
For anyone born prior to about 1960 this speaks VOLUMES--


In 1971, the rock group The Who released the antiwar anthem Won't Get Fooled Again. To most in my generation, the song conveyed a sense of betrayal by the nation's leaders, who had led our country into a costly and unnecessary war in Vietnam. To those of us who were truly counterculture--




ETA: His business card must be interesting--"Hippy and part-time General of the Marines (Ret.)"



To those with basic reading comprehension what LtGen Newbold is saying is that the dominant culture was the hippy culture, falsely labelled as counter-culture. The true counter-culture of the time was that of the folks who volunteered for military service.

Then again I wasn't educated in a government school (K-12 at least).
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 9:55:53 AM EDT
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 9:57:48 AM EDT
I guess anyone that disagrees with the war is a hippy. How intelligent.
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 10:01:13 AM EDT
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 10:49:34 AM EDT

Originally Posted By thebeekeeper1:

Originally Posted By HKCapCane:
I guess anyone that disagrees with the war is a hippy. How intelligent.



Someone said that?


I'll say it!
"Anyone who disagrees with the war is a hippy!"
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 10:57:37 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/10/2006 11:46:35 AM EDT by Cincinnatus]

Originally Posted By H46Driver:

Originally Posted By SmilingBandit:

Yup. Somebody doesn't want their fourth star.



For the record, he retired from a job that would have virtually guaranteed a fourth star if he had stayed in.


Not a chance in Hell:

Newbold:

"....Inside the military family, I made no secret of my view that the zealots' rationale for war made no sense. And I think I was outspoken enough to make those senior to me uncomfortable."



Hence his bitterness.
And probably his decision to get out.
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 11:04:28 AM EDT

Originally Posted By thebeekeeper1:

Originally Posted By HKCapCane:
I guess anyone that disagrees with the war is a hippy. How intelligent.



Someone said that?

Nope. He's just a drama queen with nothing rational to add.
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 11:07:32 AM EDT
yesterday's radicals are today's establishment
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 11:28:22 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/10/2006 12:00:43 PM EDT by H46Driver]

Originally Posted By Cincinnatus:
For the record, he retired from a job that would have virtually guaranteed a fourth star if he had stayed in. Not a chance in Hell:





Why not? Of two other recent DJ3s, Gen Schwartz is CDRUSTRANSCOM and Gen Pace was VCJCS and is CJCS. Surely LtGen Conway will get his fourth star.

ETA - Gen Sheehan, also former DJ3 as a 3 star later became CINCUSACOM.

I wonder how many DJ3s in the post-Goldwater-Nichols era have not put on a fourth star.
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 11:28:35 AM EDT
thebeekeeper said,

"Dress blues or not, he is a hippy. "

Now, I dont think thebeekeeper has any personal experience on which to base this on so im assuming the fact that this guy is against the war is the reason thebeekeeper thinks he is a hippy.

Do you guys even bother reading the other posts before calling me a "drama queen"?
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 11:29:29 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Jame_Retief:
I tend to doubt anyone who waits years to speak up. It says a whole lot about exactly how 'important' it is that their 'timely message of protest' gets heard.

Political aspirations? One way or another I bet he is looking to expand his pension plan.



He has been speaking up since before March of '03.

I think many of you hawk types would be surprised to know how many he speaks for.

He is NOT saying we should leave Iraq, or saying any other current Democrat talking points about how we hsould handle this war, so I don't understand the political angle.

Link Posted: 4/10/2006 11:30:15 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/10/2006 11:31:20 AM EDT by Cincinnatus]

Originally Posted By H46Driver:

Originally Posted By Cincinnatus:
For the record, he retired from a job that would have virtually guaranteed a fourth star if he had stayed in. Not a chance in Hell:

[



Why not? Of two other recent DJ3s, Gen Schwartz is CDRUSTRANSCOM and Gen Pace was VCJCS and is CJCS. Surely LtGen Conway will get his fourth star.

I wonder how many DJ3s in the post-Goldwater-Nichols era have not put on a fourth star.



Edit your post, I didn't say that.
Use what I said.
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 11:31:46 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/10/2006 11:33:10 AM EDT by H46Driver]

Originally Posted By Cincinnatus:
Edit your post, I didn't say that.
Use what I said.



Already edited - misdeleted quote box. No intent to deceive. Get over it.
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 11:33:04 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/10/2006 11:46:04 AM EDT by Cincinnatus]

Originally Posted By H46Driver:

Originally Posted By Cincinnatus:

Originally Posted By H46Driver:

Originally Posted By Cincinnatus:
For the record, he retired from a job that would have virtually guaranteed a fourth star if he had stayed in. Not a chance in Hell:





Why not? Of two other recent DJ3s, Gen Schwartz is CDRUSTRANSCOM and Gen Pace was VCJCS and is CJCS. Surely LtGen Conway will get his fourth star.

I wonder how many DJ3s in the post-Goldwater-Nichols era have not put on a fourth star.



Edit your post, I didn't say that.
Use what I said.



Already edited - misdeleted quote box. No intent to deceive. Get over it.



Whether it is your intent or not is irrelevant.
It's STILL wrong.
I GAVE my reasons as to "why not".
You, for some reason, deleted them.

This is my post:


Originally Posted By H46Driver:

Originally Posted By SmilingBandit:

Yup. Somebody doesn't want their fourth star.



For the record, he retired from a job that would have virtually guaranteed a fourth star if he had stayed in.


Not a chance in Hell:

Newbold:

"....Inside the military family, I made no secret of my view that the zealots' rationale for war made no sense. And I think I was outspoken enough to make those senior to me uncomfortable."



Hence his bitterness.
And probably his decision to get out.
Link Posted: 4/10/2006 11:37:10 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Napoleon_Tanerite:
yesterday's radicals are today's establishment




Fookin A right! The aging hippies are in charge
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