Skip to comments.Why America's generals are out for revenge
Posted on 04/19/2006 1:20:33 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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Whatever merits the article may have, the Rumsfeld vs the Generals debate has become political, a stage where noise really starts to exceed signal.
We should save this and send it to the whining loser generals and 1 admiral on the wrong side of the war, the left wing democRat side.
An excellent London Times OPED without the lies and spin of our left wing mediots.
For your ping lists.
I have too much respect for the military to play on this whole: Decorated War Generals vs. Clean-Faced Politicians game.
I'd rather support our troops than play the blame game and deride their efforts.
I hope this can be resolved with minimum casualties and with some understanding that we're all Americans and not have the media fall into the hands of liberal mudslinging.
Who is the lone Admiral, if I may ask?
I had hope the heavies in the Senior Service would have kept their own counsel -- or resigned.
I have heard that Crowe is one of these Clintoon Perfumed Princes. His Clintoon kneepads were autographed by Bill and Hill several times in the 90's.
I don't think that soldiers should be doing the "social workish stuff". As nice a photo op painting a school may be, all of the reconstruction should be done by Iraqis. Kicking the foreign contractors out (who are also targets, putting an extra security burden on our troops) would probably help also.
Exactly right. What cheek!
Interesting about Tommy Franks actions!!!! VERY interesting!!
Nice you have opinons, too bad they are stupid ones.
Our military won the war in Viet Nam. The civilians lost the media war here in the US to the communists.
In WWII we had a Civil Affairs Division that took control and established order as the front line moved past. They vetted the locals to weed out Nazis, but otherwise used local officials to maintain order, establish a police force, and keep the cities running. It prevented anarchy and gangs from taking over. It's apparent this lesson was forgotten or ignored by the Pentagon. But it's also a job that cannot be done if you don't take a force large enough to provide for occupation duty.
The article mischaracterizes McMaster's book a bit from what I recall of it. McMaster laid a lot of blame on civilians, McNamara and Johnson in particular, but he faults the senior military for not speaking up against those two, whose strategy did so much to damage our ability to conduct the war. The only flag officer I recall who did speak up was Admiral US Grant Sharpe who wrote a sharply critical book when he retired.
You state the real issues well.
One of Rumsfeld's ideas is apparently to substitute helicopters and missiles for artillery like the Crusader. I read of one battle where this was put to the test as we moved toward Baghdad. Helicopters were sent against an entrenched Iraqi line, but got shot up without dislodging them. Field pieces were eventually brought up to greater effect. Sandstorms are also not a helicopter's friend, artillery is a good deal less impressed by bad weather.
There is a reason they are referred to as "ex" or "former" generals.
If they all felt so strongly about Rumsfeld's "mistakes" at the time, why didn't resign their commisions in protest? I suppose they didn't figure the lives of soldiers balanced the loss of their pay and pensions.
I have no respect for these guys. They should know better than to give the enemy this kind of propagand/morale boost. They got passed-over for that next star, and now they're on the hunt for Demorat speaking fees during the upcoming election.
OK you bonehead generals tell me why?
And that is not true, not now, not then. It could have been won if the civilian leadership had let the military do what it knows how to do.
That was a tactical decision made by on scene theater commanders. It's very doubtful that Rumsfeld had anything to do with that.
And those artillery pieces that were brought up to dislodge the enemy, were most likely Palidin howitzers, which the army has thousands in their inventory.
Rumsfeld made a Command decision not to buy Crusader howitzers believing that the 'cost-to-benefit' was not worth it - I agree.
These generals have made specious arguments against Rumsfeld.
The 155-mm M109 series, Self-propelled medium howitzers are highly mobile combat support weapons.
The Officers oath contains a phrase not contained in the Enlisted oath:
"that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God."
If they had mental reservations, resignation was the proper course.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR April 19, 2006
Zinni's dubious spin
As an addendum to Tony Blankley's excellent analysis of the apparent conspiracy by several retired generals to force the resignation of Donald H. Rumsfeld as secretary of defense ("Seven days in April," Op-Ed, yesterday), I wish to add my two cents.
I am troubled by the statements of retired U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Anthony Zinni. If news reports are accurate, I believe Gen. Zinni's recent declarations make him guilty of perjury as well as contempt of Congress.
In an interview on "Meet the Press," Gen. Zinni said, "And what bothered me [was that] ... I was hearing a depiction of the intelligence that didn't fit what I knew. There was no solid proof, that I ever saw, that Saddam [Hussein] had [weapons of mass destruction]."
In early 2000, Gen. Zinni told Congress, "Iraq remains the most significant near-term threat to U.S. interests in the Arabian Gulf region" and added, "Iraq probably is continuing clandestine nuclear research, [and] retains stocks of chemical and biological munitions ... Even if Baghdad reversed its course and surrendered all WMD capabilities, it retains scientific, technical and industrial infrastructure to replace agents and munitions within weeks or months."
Those two public statements by Gen. Zinni, one while on active duty and presumably under oath before Congress and the other after retiring from the military, are contradictory. Whom do you believe, Zinni 2000 or Zinni 2006?
What Gen. Zinni has succeeded in doing with his recent condemnations of Mr. Rumsfeld has been to bring discredit upon himself. He should be called to account, if not by Congress, then surely by the media.
RICHARD W. RESSLER North Olmsted, Ohio
I hope he's safe until Bush is out of office. Rummy belongs right where he is. The noise to get rid of him from the Democrats and Media proves it to me.
Besides, I like the guy's style.
Not quite. "Using recently declassified documents, newly opened manuscript collections, and the release of the official history of the [Joint Chiefs of Staff] during the Vietnam War," McMaster's disturbing narrative of dishonesty and intrigue casts the highest civilian and military officials of the government in a very unfavorable light. McMaster seeks to understand and explain "decisions that involved the United States in a war that it could not win at a politically acceptable level of commitment." It is an a ugly picture.
According to McMaster: "Under the National Security Act the Joint Chiefs of Staff were `principal military advisers to the president, the National Security Council, and the Secretary of Defense.'" However, McMaster writes, McNamara never had a good relationship with the Chiefs because they "were unable to respond to McNamara's demands fast enough, and their cumbersome administrative system exacerbated the administration's unfavorable opinion of them;" and "McNamara quickly lost patience with the Chiefs' unresponsiveness and squabbling." According to McMaster, although President Kennedy "was willing to send U.S. military `advisers' into South Vietnam and mount covert operations in North Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, he drew the line at U.S. combat units.
McMaster writes that November 1963, when both Ngo Dinh Diem and Kennedy were assassinated, "marked a turning point in the Vietnam War." According to McMaster: "McNamara soon established himself as the most indispensable member of Johnson's cabinet." McMaster writes: "McNamara believed that "military pressure would aim to convince Hanoi to stop supporting the Viet Cong." But the Chiefs warned that McNamara's plan "would be insufficient to `turn the tide' against the Viet Cong." In McMaster's view: "At the end of March, after the president had approved McNamara's strategy of graduated pressure, discontent within the Joint Chiefs of Staff bubbled to the surface." This may be McMaster's most damning criticism: "Each Chief's desire to further his own service's agenda hampered their collective ability to provide military advice... The Chiefs desperately needed a leader to bring them together."
However, the appointment of Army General Earle Wheeler as Chairman of the J.C.S. "was immensely unpopular with many Pentagon officers, particularly those outside the Army." According to McMaster: "Differences of opinion among the Chiefs stemmed, in part, from their institutional perspectives as heads of their services. It seemed that each service, rather than attempt to determine the true nature of the war and the source of the insurgency in South Vietnam, assumed that it alone had the capacity to win the war." By the summer of 1964, according to McMaster, the JCS had been reduced to serving "more as technicians for planners in the [Office of the Secretary of Defense] than as strategic thinkers and advisers in their own right."
" In 1964 and early 1965, President Johnson focused on getting elected and advancing his domestic agenda. On November 1, 1964, the Viet Cong attacked the American airfield at Bien Hoa. According to McMaster, Chairman of the JCS, General Earle "Wheeler reported to McNamara that the Chiefs believed that, if the United States did not take action against North Vietnam immediately, it should withdraw all forces from South Vietnam."
McMaster writes with brutal frankness: "On the first day of his four-year term, Johnson hid the truth about Vietnam for the sake of a domestic political agenda. McNamara assisted his dissembling." In late January 1965, according to McMaster, President Johnson "authorized the resumption of destroyer patrols in the Gulf of Tonkin" "[i]n hopes of provoking a North Vietnamese attack." According to McMaster: "In February 1965 President Johnson made decisions that transformed the conflict in Vietnam into an American war...[T]he president's decision, at the end of February, to introduce U.S. ground combat units into South Vietnam represented an irrevocable commitment to the war."
McMaster then makes this disturbing assertion: "Although the JCS thought that the president's policy was fundamentally flawed, their actions supported and reinforced it." This is the essence of McMaster's indictment of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: "The body charged with providing the president with military advice and responsible for strategic planning permitted the president to commit the United States to war without consideration of the likely costs and consequences." According to McMaster: "When the Chiefs endeavored to carry out the president's instructions [in April-May 1965], interservice differences over how to fight the war in Vietnam resurfaced.." As a result, McMaster writes: "American soldiers, airmen, and Marines went to war in Vietnam without strategy or direction."
According to McMaster: "The `five silent men' on the Joint Chiefs made possible the way the United States went to war in Vietnam." McMaster asserts: "The Joint Chiefs of Staff became accomplices in the president's deception and focused on a tactical task, killing the enemy. General Westmoreland's `strategy' of attrition in South Vietnam was, in essence, the absence of strategy." McMaster concludes: "The war in Vietnam...was lost in Washington, D.C., even before Americans assumed sole responsibility for the fighting in 1965 and before they realized the country was at war; indeed, even before the first American units were deployed."
Zinni is trying to position himself for a position in a Democrat administration, and the way to help his cause is to disparage the Bush presidency hoping it will help prevent Repubs winning in 08.
I despise general officers that have traded their integrity for personal gain - which seems to be an apparent case with Zinni.
I was really impressed with this article's clearity, non-biased view. There are no glaring defects as to what he had to say. PBS Jim Lehre Report yesterday had this General Kean, mentioned in this article, and he essentially did an excellant job of the facts. He made it clear Rummy had to depend on him and other top generals to form the final plan. And that it was not his plan, he only gave his approval of it.
George and I discussed this earlier in this thread.
Zinni is a liar like so many libs. For decades they have gotten by with any lie as long as it harms Republicans.
Now with the search capabilities of the internet, when they lie Zinni did, they are exposed as liars in a very short time.
"When we go up against the Chinese, or against Muslims with French/German/Japanese jammers and SAMs, we're going to find that light infantry has a very, very hard time, even if they're as good as our Special Forces are."
I see your comment and reasoning as an insult to our Navy Personnel and Air Force Personnel and a bs way to defend these rotten generals. The same bs as the old Admirals tried to use when we phased out our battleships and heavy cruisers.
Zinni and Gore both speak out of both sides of their mouths.
They think that it is enough to fool some of the people, some of the time.
Well, they do not fool us.
As for looting, there was ample looting before our troops even had a chance to establish local controls.
As for looting, there was ample looting, both by German civilians and occupation troops, before our more organized MP units even had a chance to establish local controls.
That line kind of sums it all up IMHO...
I'm sure it was a tactical decision. But there's no reason to dissociate Rumsfeld from the operation, other than it demonstrates a known problem with his intention of replacing artillery with air power.
Rumsfeld is not the first SecDef to emphasize a cost/benefit ratio. That was precisely what McNamara was known for, along with a goal for "modernization", and it's why some critics see Rumsfeld as McNamara redux.
Modernization isn't always what it's cracked up to be. There was once a decision to eliminate guns from fighter aircraft. After all there would be no more aerial dogfights. Until there were, and we needed guns and Top Gun training. Some generals are certain that in a future fight we will wish we had effective artillery, despite the fact that they won't ever be needed again, just like guns on fighters.
It's an excellent book.
The problems with the Crusader weapons system were that it was way over budget ,too large/heavy for the majority of the roads/tunnels/bridges in over 85% of Europe were it was supposed to be first deployed & that it is slower than the weapon that it was to replace . On the modern battle field that combination gets you killed.
A redesign reduced the weight of the Crusader from 60t to around 40t, and gave it a road speed of over 60 km/h. Recall that much of the same sort of criticism was aimed at the Main Battle Tank- too heavy, too expensive, unneccessary. But who would want to be without the Abrams today?
The Palladin is an older system. Crusader was designed with a new gun tube and advanced fire control to put a lot of metal on target in a big hurry. It can be reloaded and refueled faster. Something like it will eventually replace older pieces if we intend to retain our technological advantage on the battlefield.
FN-FAL .308s rule, btw.
Rumsfeld just didn't buy its replacement.
Do I recall correctly that it was Rumsfeld who scotched an entire Navy destroyer major phase saying that it would delay the important progress needed to get to the further ahead phase? I'm sure that step by the Sec'y enraged a number of Admirals and at least one major shipbuilder. Yet, it was a JUMP ahead 15 years instead of a STEP ahead 7 years.
"Our military won the war in Viet Nam. The civilians lost the media war here in the US to the communists."
From where I sit, I think you're dreamin if you're including Liberal Socialist Demonicrats in that description now-a-days!!! Nothing is sacred to these mindless extremist activists!!!
For that matter, I can't imagine the administration allowing a weapons system named "Crusader" to be deployed in Middle East. I'm not saying that's why it was killed. I just find the name ironic.
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