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Rumsfeld's Role as War Strategist Under Scrutiny
Reuters ^ | 3-30-03 | By Will Dunham

Posted on 03/30/2003 5:49:20 AM PST by Oldeconomybuyer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's influence in crafting the plan for the Iraq war is facing scrutiny as it becomes apparent the campaign will not be as quick or easy as some U.S. leaders had predicted.

Some retired top brass are voicing in public an opinion harbored in private by some current top military officers -- that Rumsfeld's bold vision of a sleeker, high-tech military prompted him to take unnecessary risks in the size and nature of the force sent to topple Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

In addition, some experts -- even those who say they admire Rumsfeld -- say he has assumed too big a role in articulating U.S. foreign policy.

"At the end of the day the question arises: why would you do this operation with inadequate power?" retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who commanded an infantry division in the Gulf War and later headed all U.S. military forces in Latin America, told Reuters.

"Because you don't have time to get them there? But we did. Because you don't have the forces? But we did. Because you're trying to save money on a military operation that will be $200 billion before it's done?"

"Or is it because you have such a strong ideological view and you're so confident in your views that you disregard the vehement military advice from, particularly, Army generals who you don't think are very bright."

Rumsfeld has clashed with some top officers, particularly in the Army, during a tenure as defense secretary in which he has sought to reimpose strict civilian leadership over a uniformed military that some conservatives believed had run the show at the Pentagon during the Clinton administration.

The flash point has been his quest to bring what he calls "transformation" to the military. He has a vision of a military liberated from its Cold War past, with smaller, swifter forces, high-tech weapons, air power and special operations.

In developing a war plan to use in Iraq, Rumsfeld firmly rejected the advice of many top officers that he field a force more in line with the half-million troops used in the 1991 Gulf War. Rumsfeld favored a much smaller force. Analysts said Rumsfeld and war commander Gen. Tommy Franks reached a middle ground, fielding a force about half the size of the 1991 one.

"Rumsfeld basically cut in half what the Army said that it needed for the war. Basically, he has the view the Army is too big, too heavy, too cumbersome," said analyst Lawrence Korb of the Council on Foreign Relations, who served as assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration.

'A POWERFUL PERSONALITY'

Military analyst Jack Spencer of the Heritage Foundation said Rumsfeld is facing the huge task of bringing change to an institution, the military, that resists it mightily.

"In terms of how Rumsfeld has influenced everything, certainly he has demanded that war planners think outside the box a little bit, and come up with some new ways to conduct this mission," Spencer said.

"He's a powerful personality. And powerful personalities, you either love them or hate them. Not many people are indifferent to Rumsfeld," Spencer said.

Military analyst Daniel Goure of the Lexington Institute said one must look at the development of the war plan in the context of Rumsfeld's "transformation" quest.

"What we have now is a division between the military guys who want to say that once you've made the decision to go to war, you turn it all over to us: timing, numbers, whatever. The reality is that's not the way it works. It has never been the way it works," Goure said.

During a Pentagon briefing, Rumsfeld was asked whether his vision of a "transformed" military led him to authorize a force with insufficient troops and armor on the ground.

"First of all, I don't know how anyone outside of the government thinks they know what my views are," Rumsfeld said.

He said the war plan was approved by Franks, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Richard Myers, and President Bush. "And it is a good plan," Rumsfeld said.

"I can't manage what people -- civilians or retired military -- want to say. And if they go on and say it enough, people will begin to believe it. It may not be true, and it may reflect more of a misunderstanding of the situation than an analysis or an assessment of it."

Critics have pointed to a series of faulty assumptions they believe were made by the civilian leaders of Pentagon. Among these are: that the Iraqi military would collapse quickly once hostilities began; that there would be mass surrenders of Iraqi troops; that the "shock and awe" aerial bombardment would convince the Iraqis that resistance was futile; and that the Iraqi people would embrace invading Americans as liberators.

McCaffrey said some moves have been "just shocking," citing inadequate ground combat forces, inadequate security for supply lines, too little artillery and not using key military units.

"So I think we've got a viewpoint where he sees a vision for a new form of warfare. And what I told a senior defense official three months ago was, 'You know you may be right that these people will unravel. But if you're wrong, you're going to risk a political and military disaster."'

Analysts also said Rumsfeld may not be well-suited to articulate U.S. policy on international relations and the war.

"I have incredible respect for the man. But I think that he should have been banned from the Pentagon briefing room for the last year. Honestly. He is articulate. He is smart. And he likes it too much," Goure said. "I don't think that he is doing as good a job, partly because people, including the media, are bored with him, bored with his shtick."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; United Kingdom; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: chickenlittles; rummy; rumsfeld
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1 posted on 03/30/2003 5:49:20 AM PST by Oldeconomybuyer
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To: Oldeconomybuyer
Hit piece.

Liars and morons.
2 posted on 03/30/2003 5:50:22 AM PST by tomahawk
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To: Oldeconomybuyer
Where's the barf alert?
3 posted on 03/30/2003 5:51:31 AM PST by LarryM
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To: tomahawk
It's interesting to watch pack journalism at work. This is about the umteenth article about Rumsfeld's role in the planning and implementation of our war plan.
4 posted on 03/30/2003 5:52:01 AM PST by Oldeconomybuyer (Let's Roll)
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To: Oldeconomybuyer
Have you kept track of how many of these types of stories are out today?

5 posted on 03/30/2003 5:53:11 AM PST by Just mythoughts
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To: Oldeconomybuyer
It's interesting to watch pack journalism at work. This is about the umteenth article about Rumsfeld's role in the planning and implementation of our war plan.

It's likely to get much worse before it gets better...

6 posted on 03/30/2003 5:54:04 AM PST by AntiGuv ()
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To: Oldeconomybuyer
Rumsfeld's Reuters Role as War Strategist Correspondent Under Scrutiny
7 posted on 03/30/2003 5:54:39 AM PST by EggsAckley (A little more Shock and Awe, please. A little less Shuck and Jive.)
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To: Oldeconomybuyer
If it's Reuters criticising Rumsfeld, he must be spot on.

He's the new "Donald"
8 posted on 03/30/2003 5:55:31 AM PST by Blueflag
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To: Just mythoughts
rummy is getting under the rats skin
9 posted on 03/30/2003 5:56:41 AM PST by teokee
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To: Blueflag
They're just mad because their nice little office in Baghdad was put on the target list.

I say hit em again, there was way too much of it still standing.
10 posted on 03/30/2003 5:58:21 AM PST by EternalVigilance
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To: Oldeconomybuyer
Former, Retired, Press, they just hate to see someone suceed when they have failed.
11 posted on 03/30/2003 6:01:27 AM PST by gulfcoast6 (Never pass up the chance to keep you mouth shut.)
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To: Just mythoughts
Have you kept track of how many of these types of stories are out today?

 

Rumsfeld's Role as War Strategist Under Scrutiny
Reuters, UK - 12 minutes ago
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's influence in crafting
the plan for the Iraq war is facing scrutiny as it becomes apparent the ...

       Rumsfeld's war plan is hotly debated - Everett Herald
       Defense chief taking flak daily on war progress - Chicago Sun Times
       Prince and Subjects Were Let Down - Newsday
       The Globe and Mail - Hindustan Times - and more »

New Yorker Weekly: Rumsfeld 'Rejected War Planners' Advice
Voice of America - 4 hours ago
A published report says US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld rejected advice from
Pentagon military planners about the size and strength of the American ...

       Rumsfeld in the firing line - BBC
       Iran's UN ambassador critical of Rumsfeld strategy - ABC Online
       War planners at odd with Rumsfeld - Irib
       Melbourne Herald Sun

Rumsfeld's Imperious Style Turns Combative
New York Times - 15 hours ago
WASHINGTON, March 29 In the best of times, Donald H. Rumsfeld parried questions
from the Pentagon press corps in the same imperious way Professor Kingsfield ...

       A war of 'shock' turns complex - Boston Globe
       Hope and pray this Iraq war ends real soon - South Coast Today
       Syria rejects American charge - Toronto Star
 

12 posted on 03/30/2003 6:03:19 AM PST by Oldeconomybuyer (Let's Roll)
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To: EternalVigilance
McCaffrey commanded all the units in Latin America. Now that's a real hot bed of military activity!

Gettin Civilians in charge of the military is a good thing and I can't believe the Pentagon called the shots when Clinton was prez.

However, I do remember a lot of people pissed at Rummy because he only asked for half the money for defense that people thought he should as for.

13 posted on 03/30/2003 6:04:39 AM PST by Terry Mross
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To: Blueflag
Since Barry McCaffrey while retired, still holds the rank of General as he did not resign his commission, the DOD should recall him to active duty and start court martial proceedings against him under the UCMJ Article.

888. ART. 88. CONTEMPT TOWARD OFFICIALS
Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

That would cool some of these arm chair generals.
14 posted on 03/30/2003 6:05:06 AM PST by Wooly
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To: Oldeconomybuyer
Rumsfeld and the Bush administration have been allowed exactly zero mistakes in this war by the media and the Hollywood misfits....who in turn are anxious for another American failure.

This is just a repeat of how the Media and Hollywood lost the Vietnam war by carefully cultivating the public to aquire a loser's attitude.


15 posted on 03/30/2003 6:05:11 AM PST by rmvh
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To: Oldeconomybuyer
Reuters vs. Rumsfeld

Oh, such a tough decision as to whose side to take.

One is a press agency that sides with people who vow in the name of Allah to conduct a jihah to kill American civilian and military personnel.

Another is a Defense Secretary whose vow to destroy the terrorists and will accept no outcome but victory in defeating those who have vowed to kill American civilian and military personnel.

I really have to think about this before making a decision. ;-)
16 posted on 03/30/2003 6:06:17 AM PST by cgbg (We have seen the enemy--and it is Reuters, the New York Times, CNN, and CBS News)
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To: Oldeconomybuyer
Little doubt that it is orchestrated.

What I hate most about this is that the desired affect is to create doubt, and cause more grief to those families who have lost family members in Iraq.

Picking up the banner where the so-called "PEACE" protesters, have failed so totally. Got to bring those poll numbers down.

This bunch has the same mindset of Saddam. Pure "evil".
17 posted on 03/30/2003 6:09:07 AM PST by Just mythoughts
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To: Oldeconomybuyer
By the way I forgot to tell you, thank you so much for the list.

Have a good day.
18 posted on 03/30/2003 6:10:10 AM PST by Just mythoughts
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To: Oldeconomybuyer
Military analyst Jack Spencer of the Heritage Foundation said Rumsfeld is facing the huge task of bringing change to an institution, the military, that resists it mightily.

That's what this is all about. It really has nothing to do with the war in Iraq.
For what it's worth I'm sure Rumsfeld and the President knew they would come under this kind of attack.

"Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status."
Laurence J. Peter (1919 - 1988)
19 posted on 03/30/2003 6:10:18 AM PST by Valin (Age and deceit beat youth and skill)
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To: Oldeconomybuyer
Everyone seems to be forgetting that we needed to start this thing PRONTO!!

Plus the turks screwed us!

20 posted on 03/30/2003 6:11:22 AM PST by AmericaUnited
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