Rummy and the Editorialists
In the lead editorial "The Generals' Revolt" the Washington Post points out that there are a number of reasons that Rumsfeld should go, but a bunch of crying retired generals isn't one of them.
Oddly, I find myself agreeing with them that Bush should have taken his resignation when he offered it in 2004, but for different reasons.
Then, oddly in the last paragraph they take a shot, though I'm not sure if it's intentional, at E.J. Dionne, who has a column today "Roots of the Uprising".
Anyone who protested the pushback of uniformed military against President Bill Clinton's attempt to allow gays to serve ought to also object to generals who criticize the decisions of a president and his defense secretary in wartime. If they are successful in forcing Mr. Rumsfeld's resignation, they will set an ugly precedent. Will future defense secretaries have to worry about potential rebellions by their brass, and will they start to choose commanders according to calculations of political loyalty?Dionne, in his column complains about the folks, like Colin Powell, who disagreed with Clinton on the gays in the military issue, and in fact complains that the military (uniformed) leadership is generally too conservative.
There is a difference, also, in Powell's dissent on the gays in the military issue, and the retired generals. Powell's stance was one that was made known in a press conference, and with the knowledge of his boss that he disagreed with him.
In the case of the current crop of generals, according to Richard Myers, who was Chairman of the JCS at the time, none of these guys were openly complaining about the issues during the planning phases. Or, if they did, after hearing the reasoning behind the numbers, etc, they acquiesced and did their jobs.
David Broder claims in "Listen to the Brass", that active duty generals began calling him shortly after John Murtha spoke out against the way things are going in Iraq, to support Murtha.
Which raises the question of honor among the Generals. If they were still convinced, at the time that the war started, or when Murtha spoke, that the entire direction was wrong, they had two ways to go. One, ignore it as they did, and wait a year or so, or two, retire and speak out then.
My guess is if a number (say six) fairly senior guys like these offered their retirement papers, explaining why, there probably would have been some changes to the plan. They wouldn't be the first generals in history to leave the service because of disagreements with the civilian leadership, and would have been more credible then than they are now.
Technorati Tags: Donald Rumsfeld,politics, Iraq, generals ,George Bush