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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Rummy and the Editorialists

Funny how one newspaper can have two or three completely different views on the (retired) generals who are clamoring for Donald Rumsfeld to resign as Secretary of Defense.

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.

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Blogger shoprat said...

There are about 2 years left of the Bush administration and the press is determined to get someone's head to hang as a trophy on the wall. If they don't get his they'll go after someone else. They've gotten a couple of GOP legislators but they want someone from the White House too.

9:18 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

I think if he had resigned after Abu Ghraib Bush may have been better off, but then the left just would have looked for a new target, that head on the wall.

5:05 AM  
Blogger Praguetwin said...

Rumsfeld should resign for one simple reason: absolute failure to predict the insurgency.

There are only two possible explainations for his failure to do so.

1. He is incompetent.
2. He is a liar.

Either way, he should go as a matter of priciple. His failure to prepare for the insurgency is a mistake of epic proportions being paid for in blood.

p.s. I predicted it, and I have a BA in Poli Sci from UC Davis.

7:50 AM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Praguetwin, I have a BS (Bullshitter Supremous) in life from the school of hard knocks, BFD.

While the MSM hasn't given them much airtime, Tommy Franks and Richard Meyers both also said it probably wouldn't happen, like it didn't in Bosnia and Kosvo. I'll take their experience over a poly sci degreee 7 days a week.

And while a lot of it is laid at Rummy's feet, Paul Bremer suggested approved the dissolution of the Ba'ath Party at all levels and the complete disbanding of the Army, considered the 2 biggest blunders of the occupation. Maybe it should be his head to roll.

He, along with the Generals who had experience in Bosnia, and Kosvo, which have similar ethnic tensions, and the Iraqi's that were working with us felt that was the best course.

Hindsight is 20/20, it's easy to second guess everything after it happens.

4:26 PM  
Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

So Rummy is supposed to be psychic now? Oh, boy!

4:45 PM  
Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

I can't even begin to fathom who would've been even close to a good enough replacement. Rumsfeld is awesome and I am so glad Bush stuck to his guns and has kept him in.

I did a post on him today and linked to somone who pointed out that these generals are Clintonistas and "old school" generals.

9:51 PM  

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