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Why America's generals are out for revenge
The Times UK ^ | April 18, 2006 | Dean Godson

Posted on 04/19/2006 1:20:33 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach

The US top brass are ducking their responsibilities - and beleaguered Donald Rumsfeld is just doing his job

WHO WILL be the Admiral Byng of the Iraq conflict — the symbolic victim executed for the alleged failures of the war? That is what the current “revolt of the generals” against Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defence Secretary, is about. It is the ruthless Washingtonian version of “pass the parcel”.

Much of the military brass feels that it carried the can for the civilian leadership’s errors in Vietnam and is determined never to do so again. General Anthony Zinni — the former US commander in the Middle East and perhaps the most voluble of Mr Rumsfeld’s critics — was particularly taken with a study written by a youngish Army officer, H.R. McMaster, criticising the US Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Robert McNamara era for not speaking up more loudly against a war they knew could not be won.

The generals’ criticisms will certainly strike a chord among critics of the war in Iraq, who contend that neoconservative ideologues at the Pentagon rode roughshod over professional military advice. They particularly alight on the supposed insufficiency of troop numbers sent to Iraq for post-conflict operations and the failure to plan for the insurgency.

What of these charges? Mr Rumsfeld was right in believing that the war itself could be won with a much smaller force than was used in the first Gulf War of 1991, not least because the Iraqi army had halved in size. He was right effectively to send Tommy Franks away with a flea in his ear when the then US commander presented the original war plans, as General Franks has conceded. Pace George Galloway, there was no Stalingrad by the Tigris.

This was no McNamara-style micromanagement of targeting when Pentagon “whiz-kids” constantly encroached upon professional military prerogatives. Rather, Mr Rumsfeld’s big picture approach is exactly what civilian control of the military is supposed to be all about: in other words, asking what would be the price in blood and treasure of a particular plan? Dick Cheney, the Vice-President, did much the same as Defence Secretary in 1990 when he asked Norman Schwarzkopf to revise his plans for a costly frontal assault on the Iraqi forces in Kuwait.

What about the postwar period? General Jack Keane, the Army Vice-Chief of Staff during this critical period, told me that it was just as much the military’s responsibility to anticipate the insurgency, if not more so. “We had no plans for that”, he said. “It was our fault, not Donald Rumsfeld’s.”

The point was inadvertently underscored in Franks’s autobiography when he told Pentagon civilians that he would not involve himself in the detailed work on Phase 4 or “stability” operations — that is, after major combat was over. “I’ll do the day of and you’ll do the day after,” he snorted. He also refused to work alongside “Free Iraqis” ready to take up postwar security tasks. All of this cost the US dearly when the looting began in Baghdad. Yet Rumsfeld et al acquiesced.

The real issue in postwar Iraq was less that of numbers than of the mix of forces. The Americans did not need many more GIs who cannot speak Arabic patrolling the streets in heavy body armour; rather, they could have done it with the existing size of force, but with more military policemen, intelligence officers and civil affairs specialists.

Curiously, Mr Rumsfeld’s position does indeed resemble that of his predecessors in the Vietnam era — but the analogy is with the hopeful period of the early 1960s rather than the tragic finale. John F. Kennedy fought a tremendous bureaucratic battle with the US Army brass to reconfigure the forces for more British-style counter-insurgency operations in the Third World: the Green Berets were the best known expression of that aspiration.

But JFK’s more ambitious plans were seen off by the US Army Chief of Staff, George Decker — who was concerned about the diversion of resources from US conventional forces facing the Soviet divisions on the Central European plain. The incomplete nature of those reforms cost the American forces dearly later on.

Mr Rumsfeld, by contrast, has had far more success than Kennedy in shaking up the US Army. Until September 11 it was still too much of a garrison force, geared up for Cold War contingencies. Or, in the quip of one of Rumsfeld’s intimates, it was full of “Fulda Gap warriors”, rather than the kind of expeditionary forces required for the War on Terror.

The Defence Secretary has trod on toes in this process. He has insisted on interviewing every appointment to four and three-star rank — something that was more of a pro forma process under his predecessors. He appointed a retired Special Forces general, Peter Schoomaker, as US Army Chief of Staff, thus passing over stacks of serving officers. And with his greater emphasis on high-tech “jointery”, he has forced both the Army and the Marines to depend more on Air Force and Navy supporting fire.

The real criticism of Mr Rumsfeld is not that he “kicked to much butt”, but that he kicked too little. At George Bush’s behest, he sent the US armed forces into a war that they weren’t yet fully ready to fight: they are much more prepared now, but the insurgency genie is out of the bottle. He was part of the Republican consensus that was contemptuous of Clinton-era peacekeeping operations, believing that real soldiers don’t do social workerish stuff. Like so many reformers, his problem is that his changes discomfit existing interest groups before the benefits become fully visible.

Dean Godson is research director of Policy Exchange



TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: generals; rumsfeld
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

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.


21 posted on 04/19/2006 2:39:26 PM PDT by PsyOp (The commonwealth is theirs who hold the arms.... - Aristotle.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
I have yet to hear any specifics on any wrongdoings Rumsfeld has allegedly done. All I have heard is that Rumsfeld needs to resign ... blah blah....

OK you bonehead generals tell me why?

22 posted on 04/19/2006 3:12:29 PM PDT by demlosers
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Image hosted by Photobucket.com don't the brits know the difference between Active Duty and RETIRED???
23 posted on 04/19/2006 3:29:25 PM PDT by Chode (1967 UN Outer Space Treaty is bad for America and bad for humanity - DUMP IT. American Hedonist )
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
a war they knew could not be won.

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.

24 posted on 04/19/2006 3:33:08 PM PDT by ThanhPhero (di hanh huong den La Vang)
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To: Pelham
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....

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.

25 posted on 04/19/2006 3:35:48 PM PDT by demlosers
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To: PsyOp

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.


26 posted on 04/19/2006 3:36:42 PM PDT by Wristpin ("The Yankees announce plan to buy every player in Baseball....")
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To: Grampa Dave
Here is something intertesting:

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

27 posted on 04/19/2006 3:48:16 PM PDT by verity (The MSM is comprised of useless eaters)
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To: Not a Crook
Rummy's job is safe until at least Nov. 8

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.

28 posted on 04/19/2006 3:52:12 PM PDT by SteamShovel
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
H.R. McMaster, criticising the US Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Robert McNamara era for not speaking up more loudly against a war they knew could not be won.

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."

29 posted on 04/19/2006 3:55:47 PM PDT by kabar
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

*


30 posted on 04/19/2006 3:56:48 PM PDT by Sam Cree (Delicacy, precision, force)
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To: verity
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?

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.

31 posted on 04/19/2006 4:05:11 PM PDT by demlosers
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
The Americans did not need many more GIs who cannot speak Arabic patrolling the streets in heavy body armour; rather, they could have done it with the existing size of force, but with more military policemen, intelligence officers and civil affairs specialists.


Of the ONE BILLION "good" muslims, how many have been sent as combat troops to join the Coalition of the Willing in Iraq?

Zero.

Why hasn't Egypt sent 10,000 troops, or Turkey another 10,000?
32 posted on 04/19/2006 4:11:54 PM PDT by TomasUSMC ((FIGHT LIKE WW2, FINISH LIKE WW2. FIGHT LIKE NAM, FINISH LIKE NAM.))
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
The benefits are fully visible. Nobody has laid a glove on us. The defeat is entirely imaginary, a simple desire to find failure where there isn't any in order to blame those in charge and take win promotion.
33 posted on 04/19/2006 4:17:46 PM PDT by JasonC
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

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.


34 posted on 04/19/2006 4:24:15 PM PDT by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned)
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To: verity; george76

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.


35 posted on 04/19/2006 4:44:26 PM PDT by Grampa Dave (There's a dwindling market for Marxist homosexual lunatic wet dreams posing as journalism)
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To: Gorjus

"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.


36 posted on 04/19/2006 4:53:00 PM PDT by Grampa Dave (There's a dwindling market for Marxist homosexual lunatic wet dreams posing as journalism)
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To: Grampa Dave; verity

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.



In early 2000, Former Clinton CENTCOM commander, Anthony Zinni told Congress "Iraq remains the most significant near-term threat to U.S. interests in the Arabian Gulf region," adding, "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."


37 posted on 04/19/2006 5:20:43 PM PDT by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: Pelham
There was plenty of anarchy, corruption and chaos in Germany, especially in the early days under the occupation armies. The Brits and French forces were feared as rapists and with good reason, and don't even ask about the Russians. The reputation of the Americans was they were prodigious drinkers and could be seen in the mornings passed out under bushes along the roadsides. But they also loaded up deuce-and-a-halfs with frauleins at gunpoint on Friday nights and dumped them back home on Sundays. The difference is, there was no media coverage so most people back home never heard about it.

As for looting, there was ample looting before our troops even had a chance to establish local controls.

38 posted on 04/19/2006 5:39:00 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: Pelham
There was plenty of anarchy, corruption and chaos in Germany, especially in the early days under the occupation armies. The Brits and French forces were feared as rapists and with good reason, and don't even ask about the Russians. The reputation of the Americans was they were prodigious drinkers and could be seen in the mornings passed out under bushes along the roadsides. But they also loaded up deuce-and-a-halfs with frauleins at gunpoint on Friday nights and dumped them back home on Sundays. The difference is, there was no media coverage so most people back home never heard about it.

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.

39 posted on 04/19/2006 5:40:28 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
"He has insisted on interviewing every appointment to four and three-star rank..."

That line kind of sums it all up IMHO...

40 posted on 04/19/2006 5:55:59 PM PDT by Left2Right ("Democracy isn't perfect, but other governments are so much worse")
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