Skip to comments.Why I Think Rumsfeld Must Go
Posted on 04/09/2006 9:00:05 AM PDT by Leisler
Posted Sunday, Apr. 09, 2006
Two senior military officers are known to have challenged Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on the planning of the Iraq war. Army General Eric Shinseki publicly dissented and found himself marginalized. Marine Lieut. General Greg Newbold, the Pentagon's top operations officer, voiced his objections internally and then retired, in part out of opposition to the war. Here, for the first time, Newbold goes public with a full-throated critique:
In 1971, the rock group The Who released the antiwar anthem Won't Get Fooled Again. To most in my generation, the song conveyed a sense of betrayal by the nation's leaders, who had led our country into a costly and unnecessary war in Vietnam. To those of us who were truly counterculture—who became career members of the military during those rough times—the song conveyed a very different message. To us, its lyrics evoked a feeling that we must never again stand by quietly while those ignorant of and casual about war lead us into another one and then mismanage the conduct of it. Never again, we thought, would our military's senior leaders remain silent as American troops were marched off to an ill-considered engagement. It's 35 years later, and the judgment is in: the Who had it wrong. We have been fooled again. From 2000 until October 2002, I was a Marine Corps lieutenant general and director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. After 9/11, I was a witness and therefore a party to the actions that led us to the invasion of Iraq—an unnecessary war. Inside the military family, I made no secret of my view that the zealots' rationale for war made no sense. And I think I was outspoken enough to make those senior to me uncomfortable. ...
(Excerpt) Read more at time.com ...
|Two senior military officers are known to have challenged Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on the planning of the Iraq war. Army General Eric Shinseki publicly dissented and found himself marginalized. Marine Lieut. General Greg Newbold, the Pentagon's top operations officer, voiced his objections internally and then retired, in part out of opposition to the war.
It never ceases to amaze me when people just naturally believe that negative comments no matter how bold from a handful of men are somehow supernaturally true.
Hundreds of men were in favor of the plan including the current commander of CENTCOM and his predecessor Tommy Franks who actually executed the plan, yet a dozen or so were against it, therefore, all is lost. The War In Iraq ended in about three weeks. Another "war" if we can call it that as opposed to a "police action," started and then maybe a third "civil war" has begun.
This man clearly states that the war plan was wrong in the sentence I made no secret of my view that the zealots' rationale for war made no sense. However, he uses pathos for the wounded he visits as his first reason like, if the war plan would have been better these men wouldn't hurt so much from their wounds or they wouldn't have been wounded at all. I am particularly struck by his reliance upon a rock group for military advice. I listen to music because I like to tap my toes. It frightens me to think that Generals get epiphanies from The Who.
In my opinion he also has the same tunnel vision that many others share: Al Qaeda is the only target that should matter to the United States. This is the most profoundly stupid reasoning I have heard, and unfortunately I've been hearing it since the 2004 presidential primaries began.
I don't give a damn if Iraq has or doesn't have ties to Al Qaeda. It's a moot point. The Middle East is the hotbed of terrorism and Iraq was a leader in supporting terrorism. To end terrorism means getting control of this most volatile region of the globe. Iraq to the west, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India to the east, Turkey and a handful of "..stans" to the north along with our carrier battle groups to the south completely surround Iran, a country that is clearly the head of terrorism.
From someone like little ole me, who only spent four years in the military all of it building Minuteman missiles and not exposed to combat operations and one who also hasn't been to War College... the plan appears absolutely brilliant.
Better blood flow to the brain, quiet American style meditation allowing subconscious problem solving. Works for me.
I just forget to write things down. About Leaders and Coaches. I'd say the majority hold the title but not the position. It has been my experience that things would of gone better without so called leaders and coaches, especially the ones with the exalted mindset.
Um - have you seen the 'feeble' people you describe (I'm talking about the retired generals - not the leftists), without seeing you I'm willing to bet they have a higher IQ than you (and me for that matter) and could beat the hell out of you if they had to.
There is nothing feeble about most of them!
And it's always the bullet you don't see that gets you.
Saadam Hussein was just an annoyance who had nothing to do with Al Qaeda?
Riiiight. Good thinking there Newbold.
The war on Iraq did not help the war on terror. How do we know? The Terror Alert Flag tells us so.
Yeah, they are the toughest of the tough. I know them well. We have one at the head of our local state university. He is remarkably focused on his new job and doesn't bother fighting old battles and lost causes. IOW, he is not spending his coin in futility. Could any of them beat the heck out of you or me? Well, I am old and broken down, so probably they could; don't know about you. IQ? Some, maybe; most, no.
Good post (the addenda). Thanks.
What makes the Hottentot so hot? Courage.
What puts the "ape" in ape-ricot? Courage.
Whatta they got that I ain't got? Courage.
Thanks to the The Cowardly Lion/Wizard of Oz for a better discussion of fortitude and resolve than this Marine (I'm one too, along with Ritter and Oswald). We shouldn't be looked at as statesmen because we are good warriors. We as a people have to move forward. Sometimes wrong, sometimes doing the right thing for the wrong reasons, but moving forward.
Semper fi, and damn sure, carry on.
"To those of us who were truly counterculturewho became career members of the military during those rough timesthe song conveyed a very different message."
WTF. I had enough right here..."To those of us who were truly counterculture...". Spit.
"...going out of our way to alienate European countries who could have helped with the rebuilding..."
Since Newbold isn't here to flesh this out for me and you specifically noted this part of his assertions, maybe you can answer.
Since what really alienated Europe was our going into Iraq at all, how could we have not alienated them so they would be helping more now?
You're right, I spoke to quick. There are some very bright retired generals who are outspoken in their criticism of the Iraq conflict. I am not prepared to outright dismiss them as either unintelligent or political in their motivation, especially with the current results.
Apologies for the haste of my prior post.
You know, is that the best you can come up with if you object to what he's saying? I'm tired of seeing so many of these threads from people who have sincere reservations about how things have been handled get hijacked by pranksters trying to divert discussion -The STFU crowd should take its own advice. I think his critiques are sincere and well reasoned. I found these to be particularly compelling:
"For that reason, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's recent statement that "we" made the "right strategic decisions" but made thousands of "tactical errors" is an outrage. It reflects an effort to obscure gross errors in strategy by shifting the blame for failure to those who have been resolute in fighting. The truth is, our forces are successful in spite of the strategic guidance they receive, not because of it.
What we are living with now is the consequences of successive policy failures...McNamara-like micromanagement that kept our forces from having enough resources to do the job...the initial denial that an insurgency was the heart of the opposition to occupation...and the continuing failure of the other agencies of our government to commit assets to the same degree as the Defense Department. My sincere view is that the commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions -or bury the results."
"Anthony Zinni is certainly not a Democrat and is one of the most knowledgeable men alive in regards to military actions. Maybe people like him need to be listened to much more closely rather than the people who have given us the current results."
He should be knowledgable about Iraq since he commanded the air strikes of Iraqi WMD sites in December 1998. He also enforced the mandatory Anthrax vaccination program of all personnel under his charge in the Persian Gulf. Many personnel recieved contaminated vaccine during the rush to protect them against the Iraqi Anthrax threat.
Seems to me his criticisms are political and revisionist...same with Richard Clarke and the rest of the Clinton gang.
|He (General Downing) resigned as we were taught how to resign .... quietly.
I agree with you on that one. Every time I have seen him speak it is on something like what the military will do next and how best to accomplish the task. He doesn't appear to be grinding a political axe as so many others.
Men that reach the ranks of Generals and Admirals know that the time to express dissent is before hand, if your viewpoint isn't the one agreed upon and action commences, you get in the boat and row with the rest of the team or you quietly retire.
General Downing and the others dissenting publicly may ultimately be proven correct, however, public dissent during the crisis does nothing but increase casualties and costs. Another thought along this same line is that these men held true to this unwritten boat-rowing law of warfare. Until the war was over that is! Now all the ranting and raving is for mere political gain. Just a thought mind you.
--To most in my generation, the song conveyed a sense of betrayal by the nation's leaders, who had led our country into a costly and unnecessary war in Vietnam.
Speak for yourself girly-man. To me it was bad-ass rock n' roll.
Really? You don't have any warheads out back behind the garage do you? I've been looking on ebay, but nothing comes up on the search engine. E-mail me. I live in a development of quarter acer lots and cant stand my neighborhood.
I think the worst mis-judgement made by Rumsfeld and the rest of the administration was expecting to be greeted as liberators by a grateful and peaceful Iraqi population. That lead to a series of decisions which prolonged the war.
On another point; I don't think Shinseki was marginalized. He retired early because he knew a war was coming and he didn't want the Chiefs to have to deal with a change of Chairman in the middle of it.
Point taken and well understood
The Downing / Rumsfeld debate will be one of the "What -Ifs" in history. Downing is positioning himself to be a future player for something .... But the real Rumsfeld question is General Jay Garner. Why did Rumsfeld fire Garner? Did Garner ask for more troops?
Rumsfeld has been good for the "Merc World" ... questions should be asked about how much money is being spent on mercs vs expanding the army? I think the true answer would stun America and could have been far bettter spent.
"I'm a whore for the Dimocratic Party?"
I think that is the worse public mistake. I believe others remain classified.
I understand your Shinseki position, but I think that is wrong. Another of Rumsfeld's mistakes was replacing an SF's Chairman of the JCS after Afghanistan with an AF general....