Rumsfeld on the Spit
(guest blog by Taylor Marsh)
It began with the humiliation of General Shinseki.
"Rumsfeld has been contemptuous of the views of senior military officers since the day he walked in as secretary of defense. It’s about time they got sick and tired," Thomas E. White, the former Army secretary, said in a telephone interview on Thursday. Mr. White was forced out of his job by Mr. Rumsfeld in April of 2003. – More Retired Generals Call for Rumsfeld’s Resignation
Donald Rumsfeld deserves the heat he’s getting. That it’s coming from a line of retired generals means even more.
In the end, we found out that Colin Powell didn’t have what it took to lead, playing the "good soldier" to the end, hah. Today, however, it’s clear many in the military have simply had it with Rumsfeld’s weak and cowardly brand of "leadership," which has unfolded from a quick war win into a murderous civil war, with American honor and integrity one of the casualties. Of course, the commander in chief deserves most of the blame, if you’re a member of the Harry Truman club, where the buck stops with the boss. But the man who has been most responsible for implementing military policy in Iraq is none other than Donald "stuff happens" Rumsfeld.
Quite a few retired generals have had it and we may not have seen or heard the last of it.
The White House has dismissed the criticism, saying it merely reflects tensions over the war in Iraq. There was no indication that Mr. Rumsfeld was considering resigning.
"The president believes Secretary Rumsfeld is doing a very fine job during a challenging period in our nation’s history," the White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, told reporters on Thursday.
Among the retired generals who have called for Mr. Rumsfeld’s ouster, some have emphasized that they still believe it was right for the United States to invade Iraq. But a common thread in their complaints has been an assertion that Mr. Rumsfeld and his aides too often inserted themselves unnecessarily into military decisionmaking, often disregarding advice from military commanders.
The outcry also appears based in part on a coalescing of concern about the toll that the war is taking on American armed forces, with little sign, three years after the invasion, that United States troops will be able to withdraw in large numbers anytime soon.
Pentagon officials, while acknowledging that Mr. Rumsfeld’s forceful style has sometimes ruffled his military subordinates, played down the idea that he was overriding the advice of his military commanders or ignoring their views. (source)
Others would disagree.
There’s Lt. General Gregory Newbold, retired director of operations at the Pentagon’s military joint staff; Paul D. Eaton who served in Iraq and trained the Iraqi army; former general Anthony Zinni; and retired Army Maj. Gen. John Batiste; now Maj. Gen. Charles Swannack joins them.
That’s an impressive group, but you can’t forget the Fighting Dems either. Over 50 veterans of both the Iraq and Vietnam wars who are running as Democrats in 2006 because of the Iraq war.
Generals disapprove of the war, but the treatment of the military since Bush, Rummy and Deadeye have been in charge cannot be lost on the generals and other leaders in the U.S. military. There’s the body armor debacle. Over 30,000 soldiers, at last count, have come home with PTSD. But something rarely talked about, but very important, is the affect of the Bush administration’s policies on military families. Then to add insult to injury, there was the death of Pat Tillman, which had added grief on top of tragedy for a family already experiencing more than their share of pain.
Sure, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld shares the blame with many in the Bush administration, especially the boss, all of whom have shown such abject incompetence on Iraq that it should have led to their ouster in 2004 on that issue alone. But it didn’t. We can only hope that Rumsfeld is getting the message and does the right thing for this country, because it’s long past time for him to go.