Friday, April 14, 2006

Six Generals Say Rumsfeld Must Go

They waited. They waited for problems to be fixed. They waited for changes to be made. They waited five years. I can't emphasize that point enough. The generals waited five years. These are not hotheads. These are professionals who tried to respect the system.

For four long years, there have been many quarters calling for Rumsfeld's resignation.

No one has pushed harder for war in Iraq than Rumsfeld; Rumsfeld is the one who let Osama bin Laden get away in his rush to move our best troops to the Persian Gulf. That was four years ago. Afghanistan is a job left undone.

Rumsfeld should have stepped down after saying he knew where the weapons are in Iraq. That was three years ago.

Rumsfeld should have resigned or been fired after the disgraces of Abu Ghraib. That was two years.

The evidence is overwhelming that Rumsfeld is a Cold War fossil who has botched the occupation in Iraq every year of the last three years. Firing Rumsfeld may not put this country on the right track, but when Bush defends Rumsfeld, we know, the world knows, we're on the wrong track.

Look at the six generals calling for Rumsfeld's resignation. These are the kind of guys who are the nuts and bolts of America's success over the last two hundred years. Whether one agrees with the policies they have implemented or not, these are the kind of people who can do a rational analysis, who are driven by facts. They can tell you what can be done and can't be done. Business depends on exactly the same kind of people: people who can do a rational analysis and who are driven by facts. Science and medicine depends on exactly the same kind of people: people can look at the evidence, ask the right questions, and look again until the answers reveal themselves. These are not people driven by delusions or wishful thinking or ideological strait-jackets. They simply lay out the facts.

What happens then when the people in charge of policy are so driven by delusions of empire or power or politics that their policies become highly flawed? What happens when they repeatedly blunder without learning from their mistakes? What happens when those policies endanger our democracy or security? How deep a hole must an incompetent president and secretary of defense dig before the professionals who have sworn to uphold the constitution speak up?

The Bush Administration has committed strategic and tactical blunders in Iraq of such magnitude, it's astonishing the Republicans in Congress have not impeached these guys for sheer incompetence, not to mention violating the US Constitution.

Just because Republicans got good at running slick TV commercials and manipulating media doesn't mean Americans should buy their product. Their product isn't doing any of us much good. And these flawed leaders in the White House and Pentagon are talking about going to war with Iran.

Americablog has more information on the generals:
Among the six generals calling for Rumsfeld to resign:
--a former Secretary of the Army under Bush;
--former head of CENTCOM;
--the general who led our ground troops in Iraq; and
--general offered the #2 military job in Iraq.

These guys are HUGE. I really didn't realize exactly who they were until I re-read the articles.

Here's more from the New York Times:

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.

Maj. Gen. Charles H. Swannack Jr., who led troops on the ground in Iraq as recently as 2004 as the commander of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division, on Thursday became the fifth retired senior general in recent days to call publicly for Mr. Rumsfeld's ouster. Also Thursday, another retired Army general, Maj. Gen. John Riggs, joined in the fray.
Bush needs to do a lot of explaining instead of patting Rumsfeld on the back and telling him he's doing a heckuva job. If these generals can stand up for the good of the nation, then it's time for Congress to stand up for the good of the nation. It's time for major hearings designed to correct the problem rather than whitewashing the failures and recklessness of the Bush Administration.


Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

Having served in the military more than a dozen years, I know those generals would rather crawl across a parking lot full of broken glass than go public with a political stand, especially in a time of war. Doing any such thing goes so hard against their grain, it's amazing they spoke out.

A general (sorry, I can't recall the name) interviewed on one of the cable channels today said he's been involved with the Pentagon since he was a lieutenant and Johnson was president. He said the discontent goes far beyond the six retired generals who've spoken out. He said several hundred high-ranking officers are disgusted with Rumsfeld's arrogance and bungling, and have wanted him replaced for some time.

The thing that probably makes it nearly impossible for Bush to fire anyone for incompetence is that he'd be inviting the response, "Look who's talking!"

12:29 AM  
Blogger Terrell said...

I spent a while last night collecting a few brief comments from military leaders who have criticized Bush and/or Rumsfeld and posted them with pics of the officers on my site. It's astounding to see these men and their words in aggregate. Is there any precedent for this much opposition for a defense secretary (and therefore, I think, for his boss) from so many high ranking officers?

Great post.

8:10 AM  

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