Skip to comments.Root Causes of Haditha
Posted on 06/14/2006 12:37:37 PM PDT by ParmyEdited on 06/14/2006 12:47:35 PM PDT by Admin Moderator. [history]
Root Causes of Haditha By Maj. Gen. John Batiste (retired) The Salt Lake Tribune
Friday 09 June 2006
There is a direct link between the alleged atrocities in Haditha and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. His poor decisions and bad judgment in 2003 and 2004 are the root causes for the prolonged challenge we now face. Haditha is but a symptom of a much bigger problem.
The secretary of defense got the war in Iraq terribly wrong, and he did not set the conditions for success. He rejected the existence of the insurgency, which was an absolute certainty, and sent America to war with insufficient resources to accomplish the mission. Remember that he alone is responsible for what happens or fails to happen in the Department of Defense. The news of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's demise is certainly good news, but we must remember the Zarqawi was but a cog in a very complex insurgency that the secretary of defense's plan allowed to take root, grow, and expand to what it is today. This is all about competency and accountability. This is all about what is good for our country.
I am a two-time combat veteran in Iraq with many years of experience in peace enforcement operations in Bosnia and Kosovo. My only motivation in speaking out is our great country, our incredible military and their terrific families. I left the military after 31 years of service despite a promising career and promotion in order to speak out, to turn the lights on in a very dark room. I am honor bound to continue to do so. I have been a lifelong Republican.
America went to war in Iraq with the secretary of defense's plan. He ignored the U.S. Central Command's deliberate planning and strategy, dismissed honest dissent, and browbeat subordinates to build his plan, which did not address the hard work to crush the insurgency, secure a post-Saddam Iraq, build the peace and set Iraq up for self-reliance. He refused to acknowledge and even ignored the potential for the insurgency.
Bottom line, his plan allowed the insurgency to take root and grow to where it is today. Our great military lost a critical window of opportunity to secure Iraq because of inadequate troop levels and the decision to stand down the Iraqi security forces.
In the early days of the campaign, we needed at least 380,000 coalition forces in addition to the Iraqi security forces to impose security and prevent the insurgency. We were undermanned by a factor of at least three and could not secure the country during a very crucial period.
To compensate for the shortage of troops, commanders were routinely forced to manage shortages and shift coalition and Iraqi security forces from other contentious areas to counter growing threats in places like An Najaf, Tal Afar, Samarra, Ramadi, Fallujah and others.
We were certainly successful in the short term, but the minute we completed the mission and redeployed forces back to where they came from, insurgents reoccupied the vacuum and the cycle repeated itself. In addition, forces returning to familiar territory found themselves fighting to reoccupy ground that had once been secure. I am reminded of the myth of Sisyphus.
This is no way to fight a counter-insurgency. The secretary of defense's plan did not set our military up for success. He squandered an opportunity early on to nip the insurgency in the bud. Haditha should not be a surprise to any of us. Our Army and Marine Corps remain under-resourced and overcommitted.
The secretary of defense's plan did not anticipate nor account for the insurgency, which was an absolute certainty and fully addressed in the U.S. Central Command's deliberate planning. Remember the Pentagon news conference in late October 2003. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff chose to use the word "insurgent" to describe the enemy in Iraq. The secretary of defense quickly corrected him and went out of his way to dismiss the word insurgent. Sadly, this was already seven months into the campaign and beyond the point of no return. The so-called "speed bumps on the way to Baghdad" would become our focus of main effort for years.
The secretary of defense's decision to stand down the Iraqi military resulted in uncontrollable chaos and the dismantling of the extensive Iraqi security force infrastructure that we are still working to rebuild today. This decision gave the insurgency an unlimited supply of manpower, weapons and ammunition.
Further, when Saddam's well-appointed military garrisons were abandoned, the Iraqi people looted them and carried away every brick, door and piece of glass. There was nothing left but concrete slabs all over Iraq. Chaos reigned.
The work to rebuild the Iraqi army and police became that much harder, and we have yet to recover. We are now into our fourth year with continued chaos, Haditha, Abu Ghraib, 2,477 dead and 17,869 wounded Americans, and up to $9 billion spent every month. We continue to bleed our national treasure in blood and dollars. It did not need to be this way. What should have been a deliberate victory is now a protracted challenge.
The secretary of defense does not understand the human dimension of warfare. The mission in Iraq is all about breaking the cycle of violence, building relationships and the hard work to change attitudes and give the Iraqi people alternatives to the insurgency. This requires boots on the ground in sufficient quantity to establish security, intimidate the insurgent, protect lines of communication and the oil infrastructure, train the Iraqi security forces, and control the borders. You cannot do this with precision bombs from 30,000 feet. This is tough, dangerous, and very personal work. Numbers count.
Based upon all the above, the secretary of defense is not a competent wartime leader. He knows everything, except "how to win." He surrounds himself with like-minded and compliant subordinates who do not grasp the importance of the principles of war, the complexities of Iraq, or the human dimension of warfare.
I wonder how many times in the last five years the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was permitted to give the president his unvarnished opinion, one on one, with no one else in the room? The 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act mandates that the chairman be, among other things, the "principal military adviser to the president." How can he render advice when overshadowed by a secretary of defense who knows everything and dominates all that he touches?
The American people deserve accountability and it is time for change. Without accountability, we cannot move forward. Move forward we must to win the war on terrorism. Our leaders are dodging their responsibilities. Our congressional oversight committees need to get engaged and start asking the tough questions. We all deserve a secretary of defense whose instinct and judgment we trust. Victory hangs in the balance.
Maj. Gen. John Batiste (retired) commanded the Army's First Infantry Division, both in Iraq and in Kosovo. Before that, he was the senior military assistant to then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. He's now president of Klein Steel Services in Rochester, NY.
This is a cheap shot. The investigations may prove it was simply misfortune. This general may or may not know better, but his has dishonored himself and his service by this nonsense.
He is right, there is a link between the "alleged atrocities" and the "failed policies". They are both apparently made up by enemies of our country.
Why am I not surprised?
I'd like to backhand this chump.
The root causes are islam and a traitorous press, which eagerly latches onto every Benedict Arnold it can find.
I believe that it was Rumsfeld who wanted our troops to also invade Syria.
This ex soldier seems to be a half bubble off.
I agree. To talk this way is to allow yourself to become a tool of the enemy.
In other words, this scummer begins with the assumption that the allegations are true.
Just wondering, is there a direct connection between Rumsfeld and the recent flattening of Zarqawi?? Or the new Irag govt.? How about to the president's succesful trip to bagdhad?
What son-of-a-%$@#% GENERAL starts with the assumption that our military members are cold-blooded killers?!
Did you mean to say chimp?
Yes. Retired Generals with too much time on their hands bloviating about a supposed problem when we don't have all the facts. How does one determine the root cause of a problem that may not even exist?
Chauncy here has already analyzed the root causes of Haditha. I'm so glad some people decided to hang on to their Magic Eight Ball....which is the only way he could analyze the root causes of an event that hasn't even been thoroughly investigated.
How can one establish a connection between something that he has a (possibly minority) opinion about and something that may not have even occured?
The root cause of articles like this is that too many idiots believe their agenda-driven falsehoods are valid because "they should be true".
Batiste's article reminds me of that bit. Rumsfeld is now responsible for anything arguably bad that happens anywhere.
It is a sad day when Generals retire and take cheap shots at their bosses. If they felt that strongly they should have made it known while on active duty and resigned in protest. They have no honor.
The term 'root causes of Haditha', presumes that there was a crime committed. If there wasn't, then the root cause of this incident in Haditha is no different than the root cause for any action in the theater of war.
There cannot be a direct link between two things when one never happened.
There cannot be a root cause of something that isn't.
Liberals love this line. I've never seen so many libs concerned about high government spending.
Nor have we for one minute in this WOT/Iraq tried to accomplish anything via the above manner -
Maj. Gen. (Ret. -thankfully!) John Batiste has had his poor little (clearly) fragile ego hurt and has completely dishonored himself over the past year or so -
The reality is in any conflict it is easy to second guess decisions that have been made - Even in the best of victories there are likely a number of things one would do different if given the chance (espeically knowing everything they know after the fact).
But the true reality remains SecDef Rumsfeld as led in taking the fight to our enemies. He has supported our fighting men and women 100% and that he has ruffled a few feathers (mainly in the old Big Green) so be it!
Gen. Batiste is completely off base and we are better off with him being (Ret) without question! (and sadly and apparently angrily Gen Batiste knows this as well).
One imagines that if the Marines are cleared over Haditha, Batiste will write an article stating Rumsfeld is NOT responsible.
How can you reveal the root cause of something you haven't even established as fact?
The guys a puke... I'd like to know what he's getting out of this.
Someone frag this F%^&*er.
How does what Donald Rumsfeld says and acts upon in the Pentagon translate into what is portrayed as a massacre far away in Iraq? So nearly as can be determined, Secretary Rumsfeld greatly deplores this manner of carrying out missions in the field.
And are the facts of what happened in Haditha even now known, or is this mere speculation and wishful thinking on the part of media whores with overactive imaginations?
So far as may be discerned from what has been made available so far, there may be multiple interpretations of the course of events. One entirely plausible explanation may be that the Marines involved were returning fire at snipers, when a number of innocent Iraqi women and children were thrust forward as human shields, and the snipers ducked away. Sure it doesn't look good, but in that case, the civilian casualties are collateral damage, and not victims of some zombie squad gone mad in the fog of war.
This is NOT My Lai.
Sorry!!!!! Mea Culpa!
This has never been a valid criticism. This "force structure" happens to be the same one that Saddam used to annihilate Shiite and Kurdish resistance at the end of the first Gulf war. Why would retaining the un-retainable be a good idea? Better reconstruct a loyal Iraqi military than simply start paying the tools of genocide with American dollars, I say. Too often, criticisms of Rumsfeld are of events or situations either no one could foresee or control, regardless of their hindsight. This view is reinforced by the lack of criticism now of current policies, that are working by the way, and the fact that NONE of the dissident generals ever suggested the mix of stratagems and tactics that is now proving to work. No one is clairvoyant here, least of all these retired, tired generals.
Here is their attempt to keep the non-atrocity at Haditha in the news and to continue the drumbeat for Rummy's head. They really have no shame and there are no limits to what they will do.
How stupid and idiotic are these people? It is exasperating!
Me, too. Although blacklisting Klein Steel Services also helps.
So, General, why didn't you do anything to stop the Albanian terrorists?
--- Maj. Gen. John Batiste
The author levels charges of war atrocities against the Marines, a very serious charge. Since it is such a serious charge, wouldnt it be prudent and indeed the just thing to do to wait until we have all the facts about what happened before making such damning assumptions? What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Shouldnt we wait until a full investigation (which is underway) is completed before making such charges? And yet, the author assumes the guilt of the Marines in question and uses that assumption to condemn the Secretary of Defense and the war in general. He proceeds to parrot the Lefts self-serving accusations of incompetence, bad planning and lies; all based on the assumption of guilt of the Haditha Marines.
But then, this really isnt about war atrocities, is it? No, this is about scoring political points. If there are political points to be scored against the real enemy (President Bush), what do the lives and reputations of a few Marines matter, right? The important thing is: getting Democrats elected. The Left can claim all they want that they support the troops but, when the Left is so eager to jump on allegations of wrong doing without knowing what really happened, their claims ring very hollow.
In all likelihood, this general would have done as Norman Schwarzkoft did, use an inordinantly large number of troops to secure victory.
The plans these generals have are:
A. Take the country
B. Overthrow the leader
C. Immediately come home
The guys who are the commanding generals now are the guys who were first leutenants in 68,69 and 70 in Vietnam. Their thinking is overly impregnated with the thought - Win and Leave.
We kept troops in Germany for 61 years (and counting). It is a little absurd to think we can take a country of 30,000,000 - 40,000,000 and then leave in a year.
This is 21st Centruy warfare. These generals need to learn to fight 21st century wars.
Very unfortunate that this doggie general chose to try and convict the Marines in the process of taking a shot at Rumsfeld. No matter how you feel about Rumsfeld, there is plenty of doubt in many minds that anything at all happened at Haditha than just a firefight. I doubt that a retired Army general would have access to any information indicating otherwise.
He should be ashamed.
I sent a similar message directly to the general at his new company:
Batiste was recently interviewed on PBS. During the discussion he argued that the Pentagon had introduced a climate of intimidation (which he did little to prove). He wanted mre troops in Iraq and was against the disbandment of the Iraqi military. However, despite his claim that he retired at a time when "I had a very promising career before me," the guy seems a 60 watt performer with a 100 watt mouth. I think we can be thankful he is out of the military.