Thursday, April 13, 2006

The troubles of Donald Rumsfeld

There are now five retired Generals who have expressed dissatisfaction with the Secretary Rumsfeld's leadership. Their criticisms fall into two categories as summarized by retired General Paul Eaton: those of strategy and of execution.

By that rule, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is not competent to lead America's armed forces. First, his failure to build coalitions with U.S. allies from what he dismissively called "old Europe" has imposed far greater demands and risks on American soldiers in Iraq than necessary. Second, he alienated his allies in the U.S. military, ignoring the advice of seasoned officers and denying subordinates any chance for input.

The Jawa Report, in calling for Rumsfeld to resign, said of Eaton's two points:

Paul Eaton's editorial in the NY Times yesterday is wrong on its first point but, I believe, right on its second. First, General Eaton faults Rumsfeld for not building a larger coalition in Iraq. This is just a stupid criticism. Any one who thinks that Iraq was a failure in diplomacy just does not understand why coalitions are formed. Nations aren't talked into military invasions, they join military coalitions because they believe it is in their national interests to do so. Clearly, the fall of Saddam Hussein was not in the best interests of France and Russia. ...

But there is a great deal of merit to the second argument: that Rumsfeld was wrong on nearly all fronts on how the war in Iraq would develop once the invasion stage was complete.

Mr. Rumsfeld has also failed in terms of operations in Iraq. He rejected the so-called Powell Doctrine of overwhelming force and sent just enough tech-enhanced troops to complete what we called Phase III of the war — ground combat against the uniformed Iraqis. He ignored competent advisers like Gen. Anthony Zinni and others who predicted that the Iraqi Army and security forces might melt away after the state apparatus self-destructed, leading to chaos. It is all too clear that General Shinseki was right: several hundred thousand men would have made a big difference then, as we began Phase IV, or country reconstruction. There was never a question that we would make quick work of the Iraqi Army.

But Secretary Rumsfeld is only the "near enemy". If the criticisms are taken seriously they must be an indictment against the "far enemy" as well -- President Bush. Nowhere is this clearer than in General Newbold's Time article, "Iraq was a Mistake".

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. But I now regret that I did not more openly challenge those who were determined to invade a country whose actions were peripheral to the real threat--al-Qaeda. ...

I am driven to action now by the missteps and misjudgments of the White House and the Pentagon, and by my many painful visits to our military hospitals. In those places, I have been both inspired and shaken by the broken bodies but unbroken spirits of soldiers, Marines and corpsmen returning from this war. The cost of flawed leadership continues to be paid in blood.

"I am driven to action now by the missteps and misjudgments of the White House and the Pentagon", Newbold said. The impossibility of substituting Rumsfeld for the President is exemplified by the criticism that in-country command was fatally divided between Paul Bremer and CENTCOM in the days following the fall of Saddam. This divided chain of command could only have been the President's responsibility. It was neither in Rumsfeld's interest nor within his power to alienate the chain of command in this way.

Fred Barnes writing in the WSJ Opinion Journal understands that the criticism is not primarily directed Rumsfeld but at Bush's policies and strategy. So that the President's policies may survive Barnes suggests ditching Cheney, Rumsfeld and any one else who may be needed to lighten ship. Rumsfeld is dispensable. For policies to continue it is the President who must survive.

It's time for President Bush to think about a third term. No, he doesn't need to overturn the Constitution. He can start the equivalent of his third term now, by filling his presidential staff and cabinet with new faces--or old faces in new positions--and by concentrating on new or forgotten initiatives. ... Only a few months ago, it appeared the Bush administration didn't need emergency resuscitation. ... Then he was belted with a new round of reversals. His State of the Union address was uninspiring, the Dubai ports deal had to be nixed, and his proposed spending cuts were going nowhere. This time the fallout was worse for Mr. Bush. Republican unity, so important to his past success, dissolved as congressional Republicans began criticizing the White House. And Iraq was again a political problem. Even several top Bush aides now suspect an infusion of fresh talent could liven up the administration. ...

A sweeping overhaul on a smaller scale has worked before. In one swoop in 1975, President Ford replaced Defense Secretary James Schlesinger with Donald Rumsfeld, made Dick Cheney chief of staff, appointed George H.W. Bush as CIA director in place of William Colby, and stripped Secretary of State Henry Kissinger of his second post as national security adviser, installing Brent Scowcroft. These surprising and dramatic steps strengthened a weak Ford presidency. President Carter tried something similar in 1979 when his presidency was at a low point. But the overhaul was handled clumsily. Mr. Carter appeared to act arbitrarily and his presidency never recovered.

Mr. Bush's first task must be to jettison his admirable but unrealistic sense of loyalty. Unlike other presidents, he reciprocates the loyalty of his aides. But for the good of his presidency, he must let some of them go, regardless of whether they deserve firing.

Sacrifice Rumsfeld, Barnes advises, so that things can remain essentially the same. To stay the course. But surely the entire point of critics must be to change Administration policy into something else. To change the course. Into something that will be better; something that can be carried out by Rumsfeld's prospective replacement. Yet notably absent from discussion is the answer to the question: change it to what? To more troops on the ground? To a renewed effort to bring European allies into Iraq? An accelerated withdrawal from Iraq in order to concentrate on what General Newbold called "the real threat -- Al Qaeda"? All of these are possible alternatives but only one has been formally articulated by the Administration in waiting, the Democratic Party. It is called the Real Security plan and many of Rumsfeld critics are unhappy with that as well. Unless it is the case that 'anyone will be an improvement on Rumsfeld', it is surely fair to ask: how should it be done differently. The Real Security plan has been put forward. Are there any others?


The Gateway Pundit gathered a history of the fire-Rumsfeld movement going back to 2003 which shows that while he has for long been the "near enemy" it was always the "far enemy" -- and his policies -- that ultimately mattered. Those policies framed strategy far beyond Iraq. Among the questions for which there is still no bipartisan consensus is how big should the Ground Forces be? On this fundamental point both the President and Congress must bear a fundamental responsibility on which depends the viability of "more boots on the ground". What should the strategy against terrorism be? The Real Security plan advocates a police approach aimed at pursuing a specific group called the Al Qaeda. Is this a correct appraisal of Al Qaeda's importance in the overall strategic landscape? Others have suggested a greater use of "soft power", including diplomacy, in place of utilizing the Armed Forces. Even within the bill of indictments against Rumsfeld there there is still debate over whether the de-Baathization of Iraq, which resulted in the dismantling of Saddam's Army was a mistake. There are many other unresolved questions; and that they have remained so 5 years into the War is an interesting commentary not only on the Bush administration but on American politics in general. Michael Yon, writing while transiting through Afghanistan, reminds his readers of the many forgotten things still hang in the air.

Some troops have begun calling the battle for Afghanistan “the Forgotten War.” They are largely correct. When it comes to national and media attention, Iraq is not much better, but since there are roughly six or seven times more troops in Iraq, it might seem that our soldiers there would get more recognition. An Army officer told me recently that per capita casualties for Afghanistan and Iraq are nearly the same. Although six times as much coverage would be about right, mathematically, most soldiers I encountered who were serving in Iraq told me they had never seen a journalist there.

One criticism independent of policy holds that Secretary Rumsfeld is a poor manager; a busybody; a man who will not listen and won't let subordinates get on with their jobs. According to that view Secretary Rumsfeld is incompetent regardless of the mission. The proof offered for that assertion is that of the identifiable failures in the War the weakest link was the Secretary of Defense. That is ultimately an empirical question which must be passed upon by professionals. And without violating their oath they will make it known somehow. If there is truly no confidence in the Defense Secretary it will soon become evident and the press, we should have no fear, will let us know.


Blogger Meme chose said...

In Europe Bush is ridiculed for saying that he doesn't read the papers much. I don't know whether he actually ever said this, but these sorts of criticism make such a decision seem very sensible.

From my point of view it's better than having to watch a president like Clinton, who in trying to stay ahead of his critics became like a dog endlessly chasing its own tail.

As for Rumsfeld, I'm sure he finds the carping faintly amusing, but it is extremely unlikely to deflect him from his goals. He's never needed this job.

4/13/2006 11:25:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Does anybody else wonder why, if SecDef is so incompetent, none of these generals stood up to him while still on active duty, falling on their swords if necessary?

Wesley Clark and Joe Sestak led the way for them.

4/13/2006 11:47:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Protecting the Left Flank

Dealing with Secretary Rumsfeld is like dealing with a CEO. When you walk in to him, you've got to be prepared. You've got to [know]what you're talking about. If you don't, you're summarily dismissed, but that's the way it is, and he's effective. -- LT. GEN. MIKE DELONG, U.S. MARINE CORPS (RET.)

4/13/2006 11:58:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"Does anybody else wonder why, if SecDef is so incompetent, none of these generals stood up to him while still on active duty, falling on their swords if necessary?"

Because foresight is not always 20/20. Because devotion to your work outweighs a less-than-desirable boss. Because you see your job, in part, as making the best of any shit sandwich. Because you feel loyalty to the larger organization. Because falling on your sword means forfeiting the opportunity to do what good you can within that organization. Because mission matters.

What's new?

4/14/2006 12:20:00 AM  
Blogger Gateway Pundit said...

Wretchard- I also heard from Michael Boraone that these generals have been bashing this war effort for some time now. It's not new news. Figures.

4/14/2006 12:25:00 AM  
Blogger The Apologist said...

I really wonder how much of this is actually about Old Guard folks being pissed off at Rummy for "ruining my Army". It's got the stink of bellyache all over it and Rumsfeld's been a bitch and a half to the Army during this transformation, both in creating it and executing it.

4/14/2006 12:30:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4/14/2006 12:38:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

Reality has a habit of intruding on politics.

Iran and its assorted loonies will save Bush, Rumsfeld, et al.

In the heat of battle and when the benefits of bases in Iraq and Afghanistan are seen in the next few months, Rummy will be the least of Bush's problems. Incidentally, from Yon's post: The Coalition forces are in Afghanistan for the long haul; permanent bases are under construction.


4/14/2006 12:46:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

'Course, we wouldn't be having this discussion, would we, if all were well.

The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men

Gang aft a-gley.

4/14/2006 12:57:00 AM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

"Rumsfeld is a distraction. He has become the issue..." and therefore he has to go.

To concede this point would be to hand control of the nation's defense over to a bunch of unelected gossips, who would immediately start baying for someone else's head.

I don't think so. I don't believe that's what a president is elected to do, and neither does Bush.

4/14/2006 12:59:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...


It is not important if Rumsfeld was right or wrong, competent or incompetent. History will determine that. Rumsfeld is a distraction. He has become the issue. The more he becomes the issue, the more his benefactor, his supporter and his boss becomes the issue. The President is charged with protecting the security of and projecting the interests of The US. He has a political role that is uniquely his. He may be the Commander in Chief but if he is unwise enough to be seduced into the trappings of that role (like landing on an aircraft carrier in a war plane) he loses focus on his greatest asset, the ability to persuade. He diminishes his stature and becomes blinded by his own light.


The President, if he is wise, should know he does not have the luxury of being bound by personal loyalties. No more than Carter had the time to worry about the use of The White House tennis courts. The President has an obligation to his office. He has an obligation to his party. He has an obligation to the American people. He has an obligation to enhance American interests. President Bush has taken America into uncharted waters, some say foolishly.
He has made weak timid allies weaker and more timid. Not exactly Newt Rockney stuff. He has diminished his own political power and is on the verge of facing a mutiny from his hard-core supporters. He has one last opportunity to lead. That will require removing distractions and injecting new blood into a decrepit administration. Clinton when asked, "do I want to be presidential or do I want to have a sexual liaison with a twenty year old intern and hope she doesn't talk?" failed his presidency. Bush, weakened by stubbornness, deafened by a political "tin ear", blinded by loyalty to old friends, is being seduced into the arms of political irrelevance. You want to be President , act presidential.

4/14/2006 01:03:00 AM  
Blogger The Apologist said...

More broadly Wretchard, while I can understand the soldiers concerns and the appearance of incompetence regarding an overall theory of the war, there is a theory extant it just doesn't work well yet. But it's getting there. Witness Ignatius et. al, saying we have the mix right in Iraq now.

We've never fought this kind of war before. Critics either don't want to fight it all (peaceniks, law enforcement) or they want to fight a more conventional war. Tough. A more conventional war isn't there to be fought and no fight or law enforcement won't work. The amount of soveriegnty that would have to be yeilded up to create a framework capable of prosecuting the GWOT as a legal case is unacceptable.

The war doesn't work well because we've never done it before, not because we're losing. And the fact that it's a new kind of war makes it hard to adress critics who use old models and metrics to frame their dissent. We don't yet have a complete frame for expressing tactics and strategy as they exist, but we're working hard to get there. When we finally leave Iraq, or when the borders of Afghanistan are finally hardened, we can make cleaner assessments and articulate a theory of the war which is comprehensible and debatable. Until Bush's crtics are willing to acknowledge the enormity and uniqueness of the fight they're not going to be heard by Bush.

I wish they would. Having so few who understand what we're attempting makes it very hard to get new ideas and useful criticisms.

4/14/2006 01:03:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

The Apologist said...

"I wish they would. Having so few who understand what we're attempting makes it very hard to get new ideas and useful criticisms."

Big policy requires a clearly thought out and stated policy. If people cannot understand, it may have something to do with the inability, of someone to explain and articulate. That someone should be POTUS.

4/14/2006 01:11:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Having so few who understand what we're attempting?

You must be out of your mind.

The President has not failed to convey to the public what's being attempted. He's failed achieve it.


4/14/2006 01:17:00 AM  
Blogger crosspatch said...

A: What could the US Department of Defense do to cause the Shiites to more quickly put forward a leader that the Sunnis and Kurds can accept?

B: How many of these generals speaking out against Rumsfeld were denied a promotion to a post they thought they were in line for but the post instead went to someone junior to them? In other words, could this be sour grapes?

There really isn't much we can do militarilly at this point, it is nearly all political at this point and it needs to be handled by the Iraqi's own elected leaders. Changing Rumsfeld out isn't going to get the Iraqi politicians to agree faster.

It took us two years from the time our constitution was signed until it was ratified and the first government seated. We are expecting Iraq to do this in a period of months.

The media really need to get an honest clue about what is going on over there. The major military action is done. We can go on raids to nab insurgents here and there, but the main process is political and we are mainly just providing security at this point. Increasing the number of troops 10 fold won't make a difference. The bottom line is we got this job done with a lot less troops than some of those generals thought it would take. Those that complained that we would need more are now retiring and making their complaints public. I personally find their complaints irrelevant and childish, but I thank them for their service.

4/14/2006 01:24:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

Yes Trish, the WIN category could use some company.
Your plea for heavenly intercession may be an improvement over present strategy.

4/14/2006 01:25:00 AM  
Blogger The Apologist said...

Big policy requires a clearly thought out and stated policy.

Why? Could you just articulate this a little more? Ironically, I'm not sure what you mean specifically.

The President has not failed to convey to the public what's being attempted. He's failed achieve it.

Trish, you don't understand what I'm talking about. Iraq = GWOT. That it isn't over yet is no surprise.

If people cannot understand, it may have something to do with the inability, of someone to explain and articulate.

I understand it. It's also possible that some are unwilling or incapable of understanding. Refusing to recognize your opponents perspective is a very effective rhetorical device. Witness the MSM.

Iraq and Afghanistan aren't WWII. The wins there won't look like WWII. The problem is deeper than an opposing military or political movement. It's cultural. We don't have to win the culture war to win the peace, but we do have to win the war in such a way as to allow our cultural allies a space to fight. I think we're doing that in Afghanistan, but Talibanistan over the border is making it slow. In Iraq it remains to be seen whether it can be done, but there's no doubt we're trying mightily.

The President has made this as clear as he can and still retain diplomatic relationships which are assests. Actions also speak loudly. Where you see incompetence and stubborn loyalty, I see innovation and a steady hand in uncharted waters.

I understand the desire of some for more forthrightness in the President's plain talk, but there is no sense in making things more difficult than they are for the sake of clearing the air. They know what he wants in Europe and in the Scowcroft/Kissinger camp and they don't like it one bit. The generals either get it and hate it or they don't and that's tough.

The fact that the international progressives and the realists hate him so fiercely suggests to me that they understand all too well what he's attempting.

4/14/2006 01:53:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

It is more likely, cannoneer, that they stood up and got no satisfaction.

That happens.

4/14/2006 01:55:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

and here's a winning relationship:

Standing alongside U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, MacKay [Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister] said the time for sanctions may be fast approaching and Canada would add its weight to international condemnation of the defiance of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The oil supply's secure(ish);

The bases are being built;

Iran setting itself up for destruction.

How many wins do you need?


4/14/2006 02:23:00 AM  
Blogger The Apologist said...

Re: Iran and Mr. A's provocations

I worry about NorK connections and missing Soviet nukes. Briar Rabbit and such. Mr. A clearly believes chaos and World War preceed the Mahdi. I know such superstitions are laughed at in circles such as these, but I remain unconvinced that he sees these doctrines as anything less than literal. He's a smart, if irrational, man and he knows better than to show all his cards.

Maybe it's what he wants me thinking, but I'm am more reticent about the Iranian bombing campaign than I was about Iraq and I figured Iraq would take between 7 and 8 years.

4/14/2006 02:37:00 AM  
Blogger cyanosis said...

What is the benchmark for success for the invasion and subsequent occupation? Friendly casualties? Troops required? Duration of occupation?

Notice that when criticising Rumsfeld, they never compare his performance with other historical cases on such specifics.

That's because there's likely never been an operation on this scale that was so successful in all history. Any such operation could be better, but perfection isn't a benchmark.

Can you remember any insurgency predictions before the invasion? - I can't.

4/14/2006 03:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So far, the pensioned Generals have only complained about Rumsfeld in very general, political ways. Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, Sailors - come in all political stripes; enlisted men as well as officers. Liberal to conservative, Libertarian to John Bircher. But a bleeding heart Marine is an incongruous thing. I suppose that because the military does such a good job of staying apolitical we suffer a disconnect when we see retired military personnel engaging in partisan political affairs.

Until I hear some real and valid and serious criticism, I'll continue to discard these types of attacks for what they are. BS with no substance. These generals are just like any other a-hole with an opinion. Unless they have hard, credible facts, they're still just a-holes.

The thought of throwing anyone in the administration overboard just to satisfy an unsatisfiable left is absurd. There may be valid reasons for people to leave but capitulation to the left isn't one of them.

4/14/2006 03:18:00 AM  
Blogger ledger said...

I have to agree with Canoneer No. 4:

"Does anybody else wonder why, if SecDef is so incompetent, none of these generals stood up to him..."

How true.

Rumsfeld has been one of the most effective Defense Secretary in modern history.

I agree with the basic thrust - if these "Generals Against Rumsfeld" had a legitimate grievance they would have said so at the time.

Some of these "Generals" are selling books keep in mind have an ax to grind with Rumsfeld.

Further, some in Defense community don't like Rumsfeld's "business" like approach to war (many people in the military think that waging a war means a blank check to do so and "dam* the costs - anything goes).

Unfortunately, our US Treasury has limited resources and Rumseld knows it. He is doing his best to spend it wisely.

Rumsfeld has a different idea. He has stated that the military should be quick on their feet and economically thrifty (as well as humanly thrifty). that's not an easy job during a war.

I am sure that Rumsfeld's base "down sizing" irritates those who have to down size. Hence, we hear a lot of noise from the members across the isle.

Further, the "sour grapes" Generals seem to pop-up right before election time. Could politics play a role with the "sour grapes" Generals? Sure it could.

I would bet that Wretched could find similar action throughout modern history (from Gen. MacArthur to Gen. Clark).

Donald Rumsfeld has an impressive record from a military drill instructor to, military aviator to a Congressman and to the Secretary of Defense (and a two hitches as Sec of Def).

That record of military service combined with his political skills and business skills (Chairman of G.D. Searle & Co.) angers many of his would-be competitors.

In fact, his core skill set puts many would be Sec. of Def. to shame. It's little wonder why he has enemies (both political and real).

Here is part of his bio:

Mr. Rumsfeld attended Princeton University on academic and NROTC scholarships (A.B., 1954) and served in the U.S. Navy (1954-57) as an aviator and flight instructor. In 1957, he transferred to the Ready Reserve and continued his Naval service in flying and administrative assignments as a drilling reservist until 1975. He transferred to the Standby Reserve when he became Secretary of Defense in 1975 and to the Retired Reserve with the rank of Captain in 1989.

In 1957, he came to Washington, DC to serve as Administrative Assistant to a Congressman. After a stint with an investment banking firm, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois in 1962, at the age of 30, and was re-elected in 1964, 1966, and 1968.

Mr. Rumsfeld resigned from Congress in 1969 during his fourth term to join the President's Cabinet. From 1969 to 1970, he served as Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity and Assistant to the President. From 1971 to 1972, he was Counsellor to the President and Director of the Economic Stabilization Program. In 1973, he left Washington, DC, to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Brussels, Belgium (1973-1974).

In August 1974, he was called back to Washington, DC, to serve as Chairman of the transition to the Presidency of Gerald R. Ford. He then became Chief of Staff of the White House and a member of the President's Cabinet (1974-1975). He served as the 13th U.S. Secretary of Defense, the youngest in the country's history (1975-1977).

From 1977 to 1985 he served as Chief Executive Officer, President, and then Chairman of G.D. Searle & Co., a worldwide pharmaceutical company. The successful turnaround there earned him awards as the Outstanding Chief Executive Officer in the Pharmaceutical Industry from the Wall Street Transcript (1980) and Financial World (1981). From 1985 to 1990 he was in private business.
Mr. Rumsfeld served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of General Instrument Corporation from 1990 to 1993. General Instrument Corporation was a leader in broadband transmission, distribution, and access control technologies. Until being sworn in as the 21st Secretary of Defense, Mr. Rumsfeld served as Chairman of the Board of Gilead Sciences, Inc., a pharmaceutical company.

Before returning for his second tour as Secretary of Defense, Mr. Rumsfeld chaired the bipartisan U.S. Ballistic Missile Threat Commission, in 1998, and the U.S. Commission to Assess National Security Space Management and Organization, in 2000.

During his business career, Mr. Rumsfeld continued his public service in a variety of Federal posts, including:

Member of the President's General Advisory Committee on Arms Control (1982 - 1986);

Special Presidential Envoy on the Law of the Sea Treaty (1982 - 1983);

Senior Advisor to the President's Panel on Strategic Systems (1983 - 1984);

Member of the U.S. Joint Advisory
Commission on U.S./Japan
Relations (1983 - 1984);

Special Presidential Envoy to the Middle East (1983 - 1984);

Member of the National Commission on Public Service (1987 - 1990);

Member of the National Economic Commission (1988 - 1989);

Member of the Board of Visitors of the National Defense University (1988 - 1992);

Member of the Commission on U.S./Japan Relations (1989 - 1991); a member of the U.S. Trade Deficit Review Commission (1999 - 2000).

While in the private sector, Mr. Rumsfeld's civic activities included service as a member of the National Academy of Public Administration and a member of the boards of trustees of the Gerald R. Ford Foundation, the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and the National Park Foundation, and as Chairman of the Eisenhower Exchange Fellowships, Inc.

In 1977, Mr. Rumsfeld was awarded the nation's highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom

See: Def Sec Rumsfeld's Bio

4/14/2006 03:19:00 AM  
Blogger The Apologist said...

To further articulate these points:

...we do have to win the war in such a way as to allow our cultural allies a space to fight.

The President has made this as clear as he can and still retain diplomatic relationships which are assests.

The President named a book early on in this fight that is an insight into how he sees this war. It was Natan Sharansky's "The Case for Democracy". That book and Eric Hoffer's "The True Believer" are must reads, but I'll tell you how they inform my understanding of the GWOT.

Bush rejected the reralist policy of stability over reform for their having resulted in 9-11, but there are other implications for those polcies as well. Cheifly is that in an authoritarian regime any democratic dissent is immediately and vigorously destroyed, but variant strains of authoritarianism are allowed to flourish so long as they never get big enough to threaten the regime. The reason is that they reinforce the claims of legitimacy for the dictator's methods even if they don't reinforce the origins or goals of those methods. His legitimacy can't be challenged on the grounds that he's a dictator, just that he's not the right kind of dictator.

For instance, this is Bin Laden's critique. Not that we propped up dictators in the ME, just that we picked the wrong kind. Thus the strategy is to make room for democrats in the ME. You can't install them (impose democracy at the point of a gun), but you can give them a fighting chance. It's accepted that they are going to be a minority at the outset, and a bruised and cowed minority at that, but if you give them a chance and support their efforts without denying anyone else's directly you might can effect a reasonable result.

And that's all we need. A reasonable result is enough. We needn't be deterministic about it. Push women's rights, because women soften the bellicosity and turn a government toward meaningful domestic policies and debates. Support individual rights and capitalism because they reinforce each other and provide a further diffusion of the power of the state. Etc. etc.

Anyway, if he harps on about this stuff it makes things harder for regional allies to stomach us and for those allies to fight off domestic hardliners. I understand the strategy. It's broader than this and there are more specifics (esp. re Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia), but I think it's sufficient to provide the context in which Iraq occurs and the so-called mistakes have occured.

The generals are looking for a result which was never coming. They're looking for post war Germany or Japan. It won't happen because if Iraq is Japan then Saudi Arabia is China, Syria is Korea, and Iran is China and their all infected with the same kind of "militarism" and their all on the same team.

4/14/2006 03:34:00 AM  
Blogger The Apologist said...

All right. Too many unforced errors (sp.) in that last post. I'm tired. I'm going to bed.

4/14/2006 04:00:00 AM  
Blogger Victoria said...

I have a slightly different take on this 'story'--given what Mr. Rumsfeld has had to do (i.e. run two wars and re-vamp the Pentagon) and the amount of time he has been on the job, it's amazing there isn't more of this going on. The relationship between the military and civilian leadership is by its nature strained and difficult for the very reasons that are being articulated by these generals--the civilians don't respect the troops, they stick their noses where they don't belong, they have no crystal balls, etc. These complaints are nothing new--and, I might add, this sort of friction is precisely the reason we have civilian leadership of the military. Who wants these guys sitting around singing kumbaya? They're supposed to ride each other. But because Rumsfeld has been around for so long (compared to most SECDEFs) and looks like he's probably a Bush lifer, these criticisms are emerging while he's still in office--in other words, most SECDEFs are gone themselves when their generals retire and feel free to unburden themselves. And most SECDEFs haven't shaken everyone up by trying to fight new wars and revamp the Pentagon. So it seems to me that it's really surprising that there are only 6 dissenters as compared to somewhere in the ballpark of 500 who are not joining the chorus.

4/14/2006 04:27:00 AM  
Blogger rhhardin said...

I don't understand how the idea that it's going badly got legs.

It's a ``long war,'' against Islamic nutballism, and it will go as it goes.

It's not as if there's an alternative.

It looks like, in Iraq, adapting happens as well as it happens anywhere, and it follows rules you can discover and write about, if you're not doing soap opera for a living as all-quagmire-all-the-time.

There's a political technique called swarming, where thousands of charges are brought, never ending and not caring whether they're good or not, just so that nothing else can happen. You wouldn't think it would be that attractive to Americans.

Which is why I don't see how the going-badly story has legs.

4/14/2006 04:32:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Army Sergeant Smackdown of Murtha and Congressman Moran

Vets For Freedom 1

Vets For Freedom 2

Two minutes into 2nd mp3 file Sgt Mark Seavey holds these two accountable:
Murtha remains silent, Moran tries to dismiss him. Big Mistake.
Moran response is missing - he tried to ignore the Sergeant and move on, didn't work.


4/14/2006 04:53:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

War - and management in general - is not about decisions, but about choices. Each of the criticisms has as its unexpressed corollary an even greater criticism of the "fix."

In the more than 4 years at the Pentagon in the early 90's I noted an almost complete lack of strategic thought. Careerism and empire building were the drivers, and there were very few generals capable seeing beyond their need to save a favored base from closure, rescue a pet program, or maintain "their" career fields.

When I think about it, I am astonished how many Air Force general officers I have worked along side, back when we were all Majors and Lt Cols. And let me tell y'all something: we are led by lightweights.

4/14/2006 05:00:00 AM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Everybody above O-6 is a politician.
So the first assumption is that if President Bill Clinton elevated an Army colonel to a Brigadier General -- or made him Commander in Chief of CentCom (paging Anthony Zinni) -- that general is probably a Clintonista.

4/14/2006 05:21:00 AM  
Blogger Tom the Redhunter said...

"There was never a question that we would make quick work of the Iraqi Army."

Huh? This is revisionist history at it's best. Quite the contrary to what Eaton says, there was huge question, at least in the press, as to how well we would do against the Iraqi Army. Remember the much touted "Battle of Baghdad", or "Seige of Baghdad", that would surely tie down US forces for months? About the confident predictions of tens of thousdands of US casualties in the initial invasion? About the chemical weapons that would surely be used against us (again, from the press)?

The idea that "everyone knew" that the Iraqi Army would be quickly defeated is simply not true.

4/14/2006 05:27:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

academicelephant, 4:27 AM

Re: "So it seems to me that it's really surprising that there are only 6 dissenters as compared to somewhere in the ballpark of 500 who are not joining the chorus."


In this letter from 2005, signed by 12 retired flag officers, the nomination of Mr. Gonzales was opposed because of advice he had given the President concerning the GWOT.

Among the signatories were two former Chiefs of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, one former Air Force Chief of Staff, and the military's first female Lt. General.

Professionally, the universe of active and retired flag officers is small. At this writing there are 439 such officers on active duty.

Whether 500 will ever come aboard remains to be seen; however, the list is growing.

What percent of the complaints of these officers is meretricious? Who knows? However, until these officers questioned the administration and its prosecution of the war, most correspondents on this site would have taken umbrage at any criticism of such true American heroes.

Where there is so much smoke, can there fail to be some fire?

4/14/2006 05:35:00 AM  
Blogger Norman Rogers said...

An appointment to general officer is a big deal. Our military doesn't suffer fools gladly, and those found wanting usually peak at lt. or full colonel, or equivalent rank.

That said, we do get some clinkers.

Wesley Clark has an impressive academic and military resume (1st in his class at West Point), high command, bravery, etc., Yet ... Clark is an imbecile. (And he doesn't just play one on tv -- there's a reason he was cashiered out of even Clinton's military).

I make it my business to listen to as many arguments as I can, from all sides. And I have never been less than overwhelmed listening to Rumsfield. He is knowledgeable, he listens to his interlocuters, he is unfailingly courteous, and he is brilliant.

The recurring image I get when I watch and listen to Rumsfeld is this: Can you imagine having him for an 8:00 am class? (I date myself -- I don't think colleges offer 8am classes anymore. And I am now of an age when 8am is mid-morning).

4/14/2006 05:35:00 AM  
Blogger Norman Rogers said...

As to Rumsfeld's effectiveness:

The Afghan and Iraq compaigns were brilliant successes. Our military shocked and awed the world (and has left room for only these ankle-biting attempts at criticisms).

We the people insist on civilian control of our military. We elect the commander-in-chief and he chooses (and the Senate confirms) his direct subordinates.

The professionals (read lifers) in our perpetual goverment (the agencies) resent this civilian control and get especially peeved when the guy running things is a lot smarter than they are and questions their judgements.

I'd be concerned if Tommy Franks voiced criticisms of Rummy, but not the nattering numbskulls who (properly) felt threatened by Rummy's brilliance.

4/14/2006 05:44:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

annoneer No. 4, 5:21 AM


Co-dependency makes one a Clintonista, if by "Clintonista" you mean a paragon of political correctness, uninformed by a historically recognizable personal value system.

4/14/2006 05:49:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

trish, 10:43 PM

Longstreet’s command performance at Chickamauga was nothing short of brilliant. His reticence/hostility at Gettysburg was criminally negligent. His stature prevented the punishment for those offences that a more junior officer rightly would have deserved. His numerous, sometimes self-contradictory, self-serving renditions of events after the war place him in the same league as the numerous critical generals now coming out of the woodwork in opposition to Mr. Rumsfeld. When integrity counted, Longstreet was wanting as are his modern imitators.

As to my opinion of flag officers and “Colonels”, I have either failed to make myself clear or you have failed to carefully read my numerous previous posts. It was my opinion in 2000, proven accurate by the behavior of these retired flag officers and, indeed, some colonels, that they were the damaged goods of the previous administration; an administration more concerned with public pronouncements of political correctness than actual sound military policy. Senior officers were chosen on that basis. Had you been as aware as I of the sorry state of military readiness during the Clinton years, you might have shared my view that Mr. Bush needed to make a clean sweep of the upper echelons of command, beginning at the O-6 level, when he came into office.

It is a personal opinion that the administration’s strategic premise of “democratization” was and is flawed. Despite this flaw, the military performance in Iraq will be heralded by future generations as extraordinary. Blemishes notwithstanding, the United States occupies the most important piece of real estate in the world, today. As more becomes known of the tactical decisions exercised in Iraq, the FUBAR of Fallujah will not appear an anomaly. That said, what I find reprehensible about the conduct of retired O-6s and flag officers is not WHAT they now profess, but the timing.

Some of these gentlemen commanded divisions. Some had command authority at the Corps level. To some degree, all had the ear of the President. The officers and enlisted personnel serving under them relied upon their considered opinions and sound judgment to make possible the successful completion of the mission and to bring them safely home. These senior officers, rather than voicing their concerns at a time and in a manner commensurate with their current professed outrage, when doing so would have had considerable weight in the mind of the public, i.e. while on active duty, chose, instead, as is their wont, “careerism”, selfishly depriving their subordinates and the American public of the powerful defense that simple resignation would have provided. I am thinking of the courage of conviction of late Colonel David Hackworth, here.

As a matter of business administration, only, Mr. Rumsfeld should resign. The obvious dysfunctionality of the DoD, evidenced by the extraordinarily harmful exit interviews of so many former general officers supervised, personally, by him is sufficient cause. That he could have had almost daily contact with these subordinates and failed to detect neither their antipathy nor lack of commitment to the mission is indicative of a flawed management style. Whether the opinions of Mr. Rumsfeld’s recently retired subordinates are right or wrong, true or false is immaterial. The fact that so many of his personal charges could come away from service harboring such bitterness demonstrates, to my satisfaction, that the system is broken. If Mr. Rumsfeld were a professional athletic coach, I suspect even his hardcore supporters at this site would agree with my assessment. Mr. Rumsfeld is in charge at DoD; therefore, he is responsible for the very public scandal created by his former staff. He should resign for the good of the service.

Would Mr. Rumsfeld’s resignation hurt the administration and help its critics? You bet. But then so did the dismissal of Generals McClellan and MacArthur. The country, nevertheless, survived the trauma.

4:20 AM

4/14/2006 05:59:00 AM  
Blogger CatoRenasci said...

I think that a lot of this has to do with two points, which are essentially separate but converge here:

1. As has been pointed out, these Generals are almost all among those who rose to flag rank during the Clinton administration. That means they were competent enough to have made colonel, which is about as high as anyone goes without political interest, but also means that they had to be at least politically acceptable to the Clinton administration. That doesn't mean they're all hacks, but it does mean they're sympathetic to the mindset of the Clinton administration.

2. They seem mostly general officers who want to do things the traditional American army way. Generals have been accused of wanting to fight the last war for thousands of years, and oftentimes it's true. Rarely are the generals who were prominent in a pre-war period the ones who emerge as the successful strategists and, especially, commanders of victorious forces. Our experience with MacArthur in WWII is the exception.

I am currently reading Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife by John Nagl, a book examining British counterinsurgency operations in Malaya and the American experience in Vietnam, and contrasting them rather unfavorably. One of Nagl's key findings, is that the American general officer corps was insistent on treating Vietnam essentially as a conventional battlefield and applying the techniques that worked there, rather than learning from the experience of the British in Malaya and the experience of our own Special Forces and junior officers, all of whom saw the need for applying different approaches.

With Nagl's book in mind, and my own experiences in the military R&D community when I was on active duty in the 1970s, I see the opposition of these generals in a different light. They represent a group of general officers brought to prominence by an anti-military administration that discouraged innovative military thought and remained during their tenure comfortably wedded to the ideas that won the Civil War, WWI, WWII and Desert Storm -- the 'modern battlefield' of every edition of FM-100-5 for the last 35 years. These are the guys who probably thought Westmoreland was right on Vietnam rather than Abrams, and who agreed with Lyman Lemnitzer that JFK was oversold on counterinsurgency.

So, with all of that, I don't find their critiques particularly trenchant.

From my own once well-informed former officer, now layman's viewpoint, I think it's important to maintain the kind of conventional warfighting capablities these generals probably would prefer, but not at the expense of developing the kinds of techniques and capabilties that make our forces effective in the kind of warfare we now find ourselves involved in.

Overall, I have more confidence in Rumsfeld's strategic vision than in that of Clinton's generals.

4/14/2006 06:02:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

I agree totally. He supposedly is so terrible, and the nation (and the troops) are heading into an untenable position, and these guys don't speak up? That is unconscionablt. If that is actually what they thought at the time, of course.

4/14/2006 06:11:00 AM  
Blogger JSAllison said...

And how much of this is a result of a sour grapes attack following from Rumsfeld's elevation of a retired special ops general to head the army over the heads of numerous other flag rankers. I'd think a lot more of these guys if even one of them, just one, had resigned in protest if they feel so strongly about this issue. Didn't happen though, did it?

4/14/2006 06:12:00 AM  
Blogger JP Phish said...

The position of Marine or Army General does not qualify a person to be a military strategist or tactician. Probably more so than a Navy boat Lietenant, or fighter pilot, but none the less, not a person to provide meaningful advice on a war strategy or tactics. Who then does a person go to for such counsel?

This is the question an executive must answer; we don't expect the best executives to have all the answers, it is their job only to know who to go to for answers. Sometimes it is not a who, but a team of who's, and for war strategy and tactics, not necesarily a person from the military.

In Woodward's "Plan of Attack" we see that the Iraq strategy was planned by a group within Central Command, led by GEN Franks. There were numerous iterations of the plan, and each was briefed to Rumsfeld. In the briefings we see a Rumsfeld that is always questioning, but never revealing a plan of his own; the final strategy was not Rumsfeld's, but was the product of his insistant questioning. It was Rumsfeld doing what a good executive does, and in my opinion he did this with excellance. I have seen this in my own experience; executives who are excellent in asking the right questions, but sometimes looked on as a tyrant for doing so, much as some of the retired Generals look on Rumsfeld.

As a starting point to finding your own answers on the Iraq war strategy, I recommend reading the work of Thomas P.M. Barnet. He does not have a military background but has a lot of experience as a military strategist. He is also very capable of explaining the advantages and disadvantages of the small-footprint strategy used in Iraq.

4/14/2006 06:16:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

The biggest problem the generals have had is that they don't agree with the general direction Rumsfeld wants to push the military.

4/14/2006 06:17:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4/14/2006 06:53:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

All politicians are selfserving, most Generals are politicians,
Mr Rumsfeld certainly is.

There are multiple Options left undiscussed in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

We have fought Wars like this before, just not on this scale. The US Military never believed in it's Counter Insurgency Mission, not in the '70's, no respect in the '80's and none today.

Spec Ops has morphed from Special Forces training Proxy troops to Hollywood SWAT Teams raiding homes and apartment buildings.

Special Operations and Counter Insurgency are not one and the same.

It's been another week of political quagmire in Iraq, Mr al-Jaafari continuuuues to sit tight, there is no DoD response to Mr al-Jaafari, it's Ms Rice's first "Real Deal".

In nuclear Iran, uranium enrichment is moving full speed ahead. The Iranians continue to "Stay the Course".

Mr Chavez is reported to have an interest in acquiring nuclear technology and fuel, from Iran.
He will be meeting with Iran's President and Mr Castro come September or October, in Havana, Cuba.

More talks are scheduled for next week, between Russia and Iran. EU and US representitives may sit in.

Seems the "unacceptable" has been, accepted, at least for the near future, as the US retreats politically, again.

" ... Airstrike in Pakistan kills top al-Qaida militant
NBC News: Up to 14 slain, including high-ranking Egyptian bombmaker

" ... Mohsin Musa Matawalli Atwah was among as many as 14 suspected militants who were killed in the attack in the North Waziristan tribal region village of Naghar Kalai, near the Afghan border, the officials told NBC News.

Pakistani intelligence officials said an army helicopter gunship struck the village, but local villagers, speaking to NBC News, claimed a Predator drone firing a Hellfire missile was responsible for the attack. ... "

" ... Senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC they had no comment on the claim that a Predator was responsible for the strike. They directed all questions to Pakistani officials, who deny the villagers' claim. ... "

" ... “There was a huge explosion, which we think was a missile attack, before the helicopters came and bombed the house,” said village tribal elder Khan Wazir. “When we came to the house there was dust and other people who were already trying to pull out bodies and sift through the rubble.”

After the attack, a group of armed men surrounded the crumpled house to keep onlookers back before taking at least seven bodies away, Wazir said.

“We had information about the presence of foreign militants,” said Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan, the top Pakistan army spokesman. “It was a sting operation and the target was knocked out.” ... "
Predator or Pakistani Helicopter, matters little. Another one bites the dust.

4/14/2006 06:59:00 AM  
Blogger Reve BM said...

In one area at least I feel Rumsfeld has been outstanding -- his press conferences. In those cases, I have enjoyed seeing him go toe to toe with the press and their ridiculous, awful questions.

The most prominent problem facing any Secretary of Defense is that in this first phase of the long War on Terror (or whatever it will be called in the end), Bush has mobilized the military and 35-50% of the US public to fight it, while half of America and nearly all of Europe is not convinced there is anything to gear up for. As some have said, I believe we will have to endure a larger terror attack (with 6 figure dead) for the remainder of society to either mobilize or commit suicide. A strike on Iran appears tactically necessary, but because society has not been ideologically or politically hardened to the necessity of the conflict, I'm afraid that the action will further expose the soft foundations of Western society, and could even destabilize the remainder of Bush's term (which may seem hard to some the way things have been going lately).

In order to give any Secretary of Defense a proper tool kit for fighting over the next 50 years, they would need significant and sustained funding. This cannot be done over the long term with the blooming Social Security and Medicare crisis. Homeland Security would have to become more effective, including securing the nation's borders, which means solving the illegal immigration problem (which also looks unlikely at present).

For those who view Rumsfeld's main error as putting too few boots on the ground in Iraq, remember that increasing our commitment further would likely have produced more dead American soldiers (further weakening the public's current resolve) and possibly tempting other enemies (North Korea, etc.) to strike against us on other fronts. Perhaps the Army is not this way, but I note with interest the recent Marines comment that they can sustain their current force level in Iraq "indefinitely". Also, whether we could have had a better Secretary of Defense (which I doubt) or not, how well could things have gone? If we had chosen a different route, would there not have been different enemy responses and surprises?

Lastly, off topic (assuming my postings above are on topic) I live in the New York area and work for a major New York City employer whose CEO was recently gushing about what a great market this is, talking about all of the advantages of Manhattan, its people and the region. I can't say I disagreed with is speech as far as it went, despite the empty hole left at Ground Zero. However, I often despair how the people here have essentially turned their back on the War on Terror and towards their trading screens, iPods, or other miscellaneous activities. I'm not an Upper West Side liberal (though I used to live there and might have once qualified as one) but I long for the region's people to be in synch with what I view as being the current long-term conflict of the day. Unfortunately I am afraid if America is hit anywhere next, it will probably be hit here again, with the six figure casualties if it comes to that.

I'm not longing for New York to be in political leadership, its time and demographics have passed, I just want it to be on the same team that I feel we will all need to fight on in order to win this War. There are so many talented people here, they have to be of use (some of them have been engineering backup centers 250 miles distant in case the New York Stock Exchange is nuked; I'm confident that human panic aside, if the City goes up in a mushroom cloud, you will still probably be able to trade stocks). I am exaggerating, but I recall Bogart's comment to Major Strasser (in Casablanca) "There are certain sections of New York, Major, that I wouldn't advise you to try to invade."

4/14/2006 07:03:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

how many generals are in the usaf?

4/14/2006 07:09:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...


"In the past few days, however, it has become evident to me that I no longer have a strong enough political base in the Congress to justify continuing that effort. As long as there was such a base, I felt strongly that it was necessary to see the constitutional process through to its conclusion, that to do otherwise would be unfaithful to the spirit of that deliberately difficult process and a dangerously destabilizing precedent for the future.
But with the disappearance of that base, I now believe that the constitutional purpose has been served, and there is no longer a need for the process to be prolonged.
I would have preferred to carry through to the finish whatever the personal agony it would have involved, and my family unanimously urged me to do so. But the interests of the Nation must always come before any personal considerations."

Richard M. Nixon

August 8, 1974

4/14/2006 07:12:00 AM  
Blogger Doug Santo said...

Norman Rogers 5:35, 5:44

Good posts.

Doug Santo
Pasadena, CA

4/14/2006 07:13:00 AM  
Blogger DanMyers said...


As you state -

"Professionally, the universe of active and retired flag officers is small. At this writing there are 439 such officers on active duty."

Then you state -

"you might have shared my view that Mr. Bush needed to make a clean sweep of the upper echelons of command, beginning at the O-6 level, when he came into office."

If you are in the strategic situation of President Bush (or, for that matter, Donald Rumsfeld), would you gut your Flag ranks?

I am not questioning your analysis of the past and present situation... But, if you knew then that your flag ranks were at least partially filled with career-ists and sycophants, would you still make the clean-sweep that you imply? With a "new" DoD, not given a chance to move it his way?

4/14/2006 07:17:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

I second the praise for:

Norman Rogers 5:35, 5:44

Good posts.

However,the issue is not whether Rumsfeld is wrong or right. Nixon was historically right. The MSM and the left were wrong about Nixon then and are still wrong about Nixon. Nixon said it best, "the interests of the Nation must always come before any personal considerations."

4/14/2006 07:20:00 AM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

Hugh hewitt interviewed Robert Kaplan, the author of "Imperial Grunts". during the course of that interview Hugh asked Mr Kaplan about Rumsfeld.

I thought Kaplan's response was spot on: Basically rumsfeld is in the unenviable position of having to rely on an army he was trying to transform.

Between his book and "No true glory" I have reached the conclusion that the true dysfunction in all of this resides in Washington.

The American military is unbelievably potent. but the connection between the leaders in the field and the people is washington continues to cause trouble.

the Fallujah debacle is a perfect example. Had washington deferred to the commanders on the scene a much different series of event would have obtained.

The dysfunction in washington dervies from a few sources. First, politics in America has devolved into a high stakes game of "gotcha". Reading the Democrat party's "plan" makes it clear that they have nothing to offer but Bush bashing. The problem with the game of gotcha is that if you win you get nothing. No prize, no chance at the lightning round. It washington's version of the Arab blood feud.

Another problem is the clear bias of the MSM. I would have far less problem with the angry editorials of disenfranchised generals if I didn't already suspect that the "news" to be found elsewhere in the paper was carefully slanted to produce a specific message.

To the poobahs in the media this is personal. Bush basically ignores their product, rumsfeld treats their reporters with disdain, the admin fails to kowtow correctly to the self annointed in the MSM and therefore we see gotcha as played by the press.

what is appalling about this is the contention that the war was unnecessary. Even if they felt that, as senior officers in the military, don't they have some concern for the morale of the troops? Are they so bitter and angry that they cannot contain themselves and so must break faith with the men still in the field?

shame on them.

4/14/2006 07:26:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The major flaw, within the Military Management System, is that ALL hiring is from within.

During the vaunted days of our WWII "citizen Army" this was not the case. While the old preWar Officer Corps ran the show, but the mid managers and combat leaders were civilians in uniform.

Looking back to the Hooverville incident in Washington DC, General MacArthur, Major Patton and Lt Ike were all present. That is, anedotely, just how concentrated the Officer Corps was, prior to War II.

There is NEVER new blood brought into the System from the "outside".

What external force that can be brought by Civilians at the very top of the food chain can but slowly battle the System's internal inertia.

4/14/2006 07:30:00 AM  
Blogger Doug Santo said...

Off topic. but I would like to direct attention to a new piece by Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney at the Weekly Standard.

He is my kind of general.

Doug Santo
Pasadena, CA

4/14/2006 07:30:00 AM  
Blogger JP Phish said...

Thomas P.M. Barnett

4/14/2006 07:34:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Based on the content of his op-ed Newbold's opinion on warfighting is as insightful and deserving of respect as Nancy Pelosi's.

4/14/2006 07:36:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

We have fought Wars like this before, just not on this scale. The US Military never believed in it's Counter Insurgency Mission, not in the '70's, no respect in the '80's and none today.


The Counter Insurgency Mission is not in Iraq. It is in Iran.

The Iraq War has opened the door for Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, etc., to join the coalition of the willing against Iranian hegemony over the region, with Syria, Lebanon, HamasStan, and now Iraq its proxy.

These 2 Star Generals carping about a lack of strategic foresight and planing are worse than a 10 year old child. Because any 9 year old 3rd grader would understand this, and they don't.

4/14/2006 07:38:00 AM  
Blogger JP Phish said...

My previous post did not have a working link to Thomas P.M. barnett. Try this one.

Thomas P.M. Barnett

4/14/2006 07:38:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...


I stated earlier this morning that the US military had in active service 439 flag officers. That was an inexcusable error. Please, note for the record:

Rear Admiral (lower half) 109
Rear Admiral (upper half) 66
Vice Admiral 32
Admiral 9

Brigadier General 141
Major General 115
Lt. General 50
General 12

Brigadier General 137
Major General 86
Lt. General 37
General 13

Brigadier General 40
Major General 21
Lt. General 15
General 5

Total 888

Air Force Times, 13 April 2006, pg 16

Again, pardon me.

4/14/2006 07:42:00 AM  
Blogger DanMyers said...

Don't you wish that the media would make corrections that way Allen? :-)

4/14/2006 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...


does your source have the numbers for WWII?

How many Generals per soldier?

The answer would surprise many.

4/14/2006 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

Two things about these retired generals:

1) They rose as generals under Clinton, and may have felt they Bush and Rumsfeld didn't appreciate them as much

2) Follow the money. When a general retires, he tends to become a consultant and/or sit on boards of directors. Why is he valued? Because of his network of contacts in the military and Washington, built over years, which would increase the probability of success in getting business from the military and Washington.

A general who left while leaving a bad taste in Rumsfeld's mouth is of lessor value

4/14/2006 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...


Where did the 439 number come from?

4/14/2006 07:51:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

It seems that the generals are deserting at a statisticaly higher rate than the military as a whole. Desertions in 2005 represent 0.24% of the 1.4 million U.S. forces.

4/14/2006 07:52:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

You confuse the Political with the military, mat.
You are right about the "new" Sunni coalition that is forming, with US, against Iran. That is a good thing.
In Iran we COULD and I think should be creating an INSURGENCY against the Mullahs Government.

In the old days SF teams would be training and leading indig forces against the Government.
Mr Hersh reported this is only now beginning. We should have been instigating civil insurrection in Iran since 9-11-01.

Counter Insurgency cannot be applied in Iran, by US. It is needed in Iraq.

We need to implement a force structure change in Iraq, embedding MORE US troops with the Iraqi's Army and Police, while removing US Combat Brigades over a 12 to 18 month timeline.

A Garrison Force, similar to the US presence in Korea, 25,000 men or so.

Or the Bush's could take Bill Kristol's advice.
" ... Is the America of 2006 more willing to thwart the unacceptable than the France of 1936? So far, not evidently. According to the New York Times, "One of President Bush's most senior foreign policy advisers" recently told a group of academics, "The problem is that our policy has been all carrots and no sticks. And the Iranians know it."

That acknowledgment could be the prelude to a new policy in which sticks are

finally assembled and wielded. That policy would manifest a far greater sense of urgency about the diplomatic process, and about pursuing meaningful sanctions, whether through the U.N. or a coalition of the willing. That policy would mean supporting diplomacy with the credible threat of force--instead of rushing every few days publicly to reassure the Europeans (and the Iranians) not to worry, that we're on a diplomatic track now, and, for that matter, for the foreseeable future. It would also mean stepping up intelligence activities, covert operations, special operations, and the like.

And it would mean serious preparation for possible military action--including real and urgent operational planning for bombing strikes and for the consequences of such strikes.

That action would be easier if the situation in Iraq improved--which implies an urgent push to make progress there, with the deployment of more troops if necessary. Planning for action in Iran would be somewhat easier if the president finally insisted on a far-too-long-delayed increase in the size of the military. It would be easier, too, under the leadership of a new, not-discredited defense secretary in whom the president would have confidence, since he has surely (if privately) lost faith in the current one. ... "

Mr Rumsfeld

Even Bill Kristol thinks Rummy should go?

4/14/2006 08:00:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Counter Insurgency cannot be applied in Iran, by US. It is needed in Iraq.


You bastard, you just made me spit my coffee the the keyboard. I'm gonna get you for this! :)

4/14/2006 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger Harrywr2 said...

The biggest consistant criticism of Rumsfeld is the "several hundred thousand additional troops" were needed.

If Rumsfeld had gone to a draft, in order to get several hundred thousand more troops. Howard Dean would be president, and zero troops would be on the ground in Iraq today.

4/14/2006 08:15:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4/14/2006 08:17:00 AM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

It is my belief that the pieces are starting to fall into place.

Shoulda's won't help us now.

the diplomatic stations of the cross must be traversed. The UN must, once again, fail of it's promise.

If one were to draw an arc on a map that encompassed the area that Iran could reliably strike now with weapons at it's disposal, who's inside? What's their position relative to the Iranian nuclear effort?


4/14/2006 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

8:09 should read: on the keyboard.

4/14/2006 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger DanMyers said...


Conveniently while we have them on 2 fronts.

Poor strategy? Maybe.... Maybe not...

4/14/2006 08:22:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The problem is that our policy has been all carrots and no sticks. And the Iranians know it.


That might not have been deliberate, but it did allow Iran to climb ever higher up a tree it cannot climb down of. And them tree branches are getting ever thiner. Don't you think?

4/14/2006 08:22:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It seems, mat, that those Mullahs are held up by divine intervention, both the air and branchs are so thin up there.

As always there will be things that could have been done, that weren't that would have totally eliminated the Challenge.
If only....

4/14/2006 08:23:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

In the old days SF teams would be training and leading indig forces against the Government.
Mr Hersh reported this is only now beginning.

And you believe him? What "old days" are you talking about? Iran has been at war with US since 1979. That's everybody from Carter to Clinton (gag).

4/14/2006 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Generals are first and foremost, bureaucrats. You can't get to be one without mastering the bureaucratic process, trust me.

Now, would anyone care to come up with a list of U.S. military general officers who were really innovative?

I come up with:

Gen Billy Mitchell (court martialed and tossed out at a young age, and ultimately proved correct)

Gen George S. Patton (Fired more than once, excoriated in the press, and ultimately elevated to near-Godhood)

Adm Rickover (An ego the size of the Pacific Ocean and an enormous pain to work with, forced to retire early)

And that is about it....

There are plenty of other "great" ones, but they were mainly operating as bureaucrats, not innovators. And they are always infuriated by the innovators.

4/14/2006 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

danmyers, 7:17 AM

You may have already noticed that I have posted a correction addressing the number of active duty flag officers. The number is 888. It is not 439. Please, accept my apology for any difficulty this may have caused you.

Your point is well taken and one I have been troubled by myself. Many historians attribute Germany's early success in Operation Barbarossa to Stalin's purges of the Red Army. On the other hand, General Marshall jumped the Army's promotion line with his sponsorship of officers such as Eisenhower, Bradley, and Patton. Juxtaposing General Grant and Publius Quinctilius Varus confuse the matter further. As you can see, on the surface at least, results vary enormously.

As a practical matter within the officer ranks, you will discover that the doers and fixers in the military are and have always been the ranks of O-3, O-4, and O-5. If you want something done, it will be these officers and their first-shirts you go to.

History will show that one of the best military minds of any century was possessed by Colonel John Boyd. He will be elevated to that class containing such notables as Napoleon, von Clausewitz, and Lao Tzu. Yes, as you may note, he was an O-6, but barely, and to the chagrin of his Air Force superiors. The point is that the deep gray matter, energy, and innovation lie in the lower ranks. The Peter Principle seems disproportionately represented by military leadership, genuflection being confused with loyalty and wisdom.

Surely, the President knew what he had inherited in 2000. He certainly campaigned with a platform promising major reform. Once elected, however, he chose, in the words of Lee, to play the hand he was dealt. I would have chosen otherwise - but that is one man's opinion.

Having now been repeatedly bitten by the military brass, I hope that Mr. Bush will revisit the issue of who he wants on his team. He might, from time-to-time ask the common folk for some feedback. The military is a strange environment. An officer can be the biggest SOB and prima donna ever to wear spurs but, if he is a killer, the troops will fix bayonets and follow him straight into hell without a whimper.

4/14/2006 08:33:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

This problem goes beyond generals, politics and sour grapes, and yet informs all of them:

"The proof offered for that assertion is that of the identifiable failures in the War..."

We are VERY CLOSE, temporally, to so-called 'identifiable failures', and therefore may NOT have the perspective to see what they are, in truth.

Take, for example, Fallujah.

It can be argued that aborting Fallujah Battle One was a mistake. We observe intelligent people who, today, assert this.

They point out accurately that, when American troops DID finally clean out Fallujah, Battle Two, it was more costly in terms of American lives, and must therefore be deemed 'an identifiable failure'.

But perhaps it has a different place in the larger perspective, without changing ANY of the observed realities, dynamics or deaths.

Perhaps Fallujah Two, against entrenched, hard, well-armed and optimistic thugs, WHO WERE THEN SYSTEMATICALLY REDUCED, WOUNDED, CAPTURED AND KILLED over the short course of Fallujah Two, was a far more powerful effect, a far more decisive victory, in both absolute-enemy-dead and theatre-wide morale criteria, than F-One could possibly have been!

Said that to say this: I suspect that I am like other humans, in my absence of an absolute, immediate and infallible measuring-stick for Victory-Defeat. Therefore I suggest close examination of all the assumptions, unvoiced biases and gentle innuendos that come to light when we examine, "The proof offered for that assertion is that of the identifiable failures in the War..."

4/14/2006 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Case in point: this cut-and-paste is from CNN's current, today transcript of the talking-head's talk on cable today:

"MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: With the war going badly in Iraq, there is now a growing chorus of discontent..."

Hold it, Bub! That's an unfounded assertion, your opinion, and NOT an objectively verifiable, observable reality! The war goes quite well, Sir, and would be BETTER if you were to report the ongoing victories to-date!

4/14/2006 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...


Haste. Sloppy proof reading. Color fixation. My eye drifted elsewhere and I didn't catch myself until "pork rinds for allah" asked for the usaf numbers, specifically.

Fortunately for me and others who might have come to rely on the numbers, the question was asked.

I will have to re-read "Stupid for Dummies".

4/14/2006 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...


My thoughts exacly.

If you want to find out how good or bad Secty Rumsfeld is, then ask the O-4's and O-5's, not the pure bureaucrats above them.

I never wanted to go any higher than O-5 because I figured out what I would have to do to get promoted - and what that would do to my personal interest in the job and my own integrity.

4/14/2006 08:45:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The "old days" peter boston, go back to '59 - '63 in Laos.
" ... The summer of 1959 saw the introduction into Laos of a US Special Forces Group, codenamed Hotfoot, under the command of Lt. Col. Arthur "Bull" Simons. Twelve Mobile Training Teams took up duties at Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Savannekhet, and Pakse. 17 The appearance of the Americans coincided with the outbreak of fighting between the FAR and Pathet Lao. In light of these developments, CIA officials in Laos requested additional air transport resources ... "

One of Lt. Col. Arthur "Bull" Simons's junior officers at the time Newlin "Eric" Happersett, Colonel US Army(ret), and I have spent hours discussing these and other events in Indochina, for a film documentary and book. I have also interviewed the Colonel's jr officers from the later years operations.

Happenstance, my 1st Sgt in Panama had been on the Plain of Jars, under the Col's command. When I mentioned his name, the Colonel lit up
"ah Maggie, he was up there, with Guerilla Pete!"
Running foreign Nationals against US enemies.

But for a guy who does not recongnize himself in his own Army photos, your "old days" are pretty current, peter boston.

All the way "back" to Clinton.

4/14/2006 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

This attack on Rumsfeld is transparent politics. I support the war in Iraq and believe it was a correct decision. I also think Rumsfeld has done a good job as SoD. However if Bush jettisons Rumsfeld, it will be seen by the MSM and Bush's political enemies as an admission that the Iraq war was an error. The MSM would claim with some justification that Rumsfeld was being used as a scapegoat or whipping boy for Bush's errors. The MSM would then use this as a club to beat Bush over the head with during the congressional elections (the Republicans must retain control of the House of Representatives!). Bush would gain no political advantage in removing Rumsfeld.

4/14/2006 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger NorthPut21 said...

While Bush may have been visionary in trying to remake the Middle East, he has flubbed the job in spades. Whether or not Rummy gets the ax or axes his own self, the perception of John Q Public is that the whole thing (Iraq) is fast becoming a mistake. Not everyone reads this blog. They get their bits of news from the MSM and their local papers (which are filled with AP "stories") which tells than that it looks like we are losing/lost/are going to lose.

The Bush adminstration does such a horrible job communicating with the public. Perception trumps reality sometimes.
That's why his numbers suck. I voted for him both times, but am so disgusted with him and his "policies" (if he has any). I am part of his so called base and can't wait for 2008.

4/14/2006 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...


Sun Tzu

Got my Lao confused with my Tao.

4/14/2006 08:54:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Karridine, 8:36 AM

Excellent Post. Answers d'Rat 8:23 AM If only,.. complaint.



Sloppy proof reading?! Just go "Fallujah" on it and delete it.

4/14/2006 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Regarding General Shinseki’s requirement for a force of 400,000 ground troops…

From where…

President Clinton (and thus General Shinseki) left us about 600,000 ‘ground troops’ as a result of the Peace Dividend military cut-backs. There were about 430,000 Army and 160,000 Marines. And, guess what folks, many of those 600,000 ‘ground troops’ were on the wrong side of Rumsfeld’s water barrel spout – i.e. they were administrative paper pushers and supply POGS. While very important, these folks (especially in the Army) were specialists in their fields – not in combat.

So again, with our ground forces deployed in:
South Korea

Where do we get Shinseki’s 400,000. His proposal was a proposal to do nothing – and to do nothing immediately after 9/11. Is that an honest proposal?

4/14/2006 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

We live in strange times. Most of the heat and noise surrounding this issue comes from those who don't know what in hell they are talking about, those with a vested interest, and those with an axe to grind or all of the above.

I suspect that such has often been the case in wars past, but the 24 hour news megaphone makes it seem much worse.

There's damn little truth to be had as a result of this debate. It's gutter politics plain and simple. If past predicts the future, the President and Sec. Rumsfeld will simply carry on. The scandal du jour will change soon enough.

I'm not sure that I agree with that strategy, but then I'm not sure that I don't. I think the Administration could have handled the PR war more effectively. Regardless, most of the current crop of carpers would still be bitching.

4/14/2006 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

Eggplant said...
"This attack on Rumsfeld is transparent politics."

Well of course it is. The Presidency is about politics. "The troubles of Donald Rumsfeld" is all politics.

NorthPut21 said...

"While Bush may have been visionary in trying to remake the Middle East, he has flubbed the job in spades. Whether or not Rummy gets the ax or axes his own self, the perception of John Q Public is that the whole thing (Iraq) is fast becoming a mistake"

This administration is sinking fast. Picture Bush in Air Force One circling New Orleans looking at the flooded city below. It is an apt metaphor for his administration. The dikes are groaning all around Washington and he is still circling around. He has weeks left before political reality will take all but the most desperate initiative away from him. If Rumsfeld is as good as many in this forum believe, he should see this and take himself out of the picture. If he does not, the enemies of this administration will sieze control and they will determine the future policy of The United States.

4/14/2006 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I said for months, and it's true today, there is no War in Iraq.

There is politics of the gun and bomb.
But that's not War.

Not one our Army is suited to fight, anyway. And it doesn't.

That is why there are 40,000 troops in the barracks, at just two Posts in Iraq.

The Insurgency, whether by Sunni Nationalists which represented the majority of the Insurgents or the aQ terrorists, a small minority, has always been a Political Battle, for US.
Civil Administration has been the mission for years. How many schools were built or reopened?
That was the benchmark of success, for a while, remember?

4/14/2006 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Karridine said...

"this cut-and-paste is from CNN's current, today transcript of the talking-head's talk on cable today: "MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: With the war going badly in Iraq, there is now a growing chorus of discontent..." Hold it, Bub! That's an unfounded assertion, your opinion, and NOT an objectively verifiable, observable reality!"

Karradine is spot on! This sort of propaganda is an insult to one's intelligence. Present "opinion" as "news" and then open the argument by presenting opinion as established fact (Are you still beating your wife?). Repeat this method 1000 times and opinion becomes established canon. This is straight out of Goebbel's play book. The American public should be pissed off by this sort of nonsense but unfortunately too many people are being fooled by it.

4/14/2006 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

There's another front to this war that the Bush team is winning. And that war involves the dismantling and discrediting the authoritarian hegemony on public opinion that is the MSM. And guess what, we're slowly winning that one as well, NorthPut21.

4/14/2006 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4/14/2006 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4/14/2006 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

Two comments:
1. Not taking a promotion is different than resigning on a principle when situations warrant. Why didn't these guys resign if they thought things were not right and their boss wasn't listening? I worked for a Navy Admiral in the mid-1990s who had made a study of Vietnam and noticed this pattern--it's nothing new. Nobody resigned then, either.

2. I have been studying large scale organizations pretty intensely for a few years now and our collective ignorance on how to build and operate them well astounds me. All carping on command relationships, organizaitonal decisions, etc. is worthless unless supported by defensible alternative choices. I know few who are qualified to discuss the subject authoritatively. this includes many (not all) military folks.

4/14/2006 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I said for months, and it's true today, there is no War in Iraq.


I didn't disagree. But what I don't agree with is your characterization this being a bad thing.

4/14/2006 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger geoffgo said...

Hindsightis TM

See Also: Third-guessing

An affliction caused by listening to others who’ve been there, almost there, close, or knows someone who was.

I suspect if we could interview these generals, we’d discover them to be mostly of the Dem persuasion. None of these generals has asserted we could have shortened the war by being MORE FORCEFUL.

They are apparently saying: “Doing it our way would have been 25% more efficient.” In other words, you’re saying we would have lost 500 fewer soldiers (bless them all) over 4 years, or lost 2 less aircraft, or 200 fewer Humvees, or we’d have arrived at point Alpha two days sooner, or what?

I’d like mean, not compassionate generals.

It seems to me, that “boots-on-the-ground” warfare, going forward, will be very complex and fraught with great risk. The battlespace is newly defined by the size of the monetary award due the enemy, when one of our bombs is off by 75 feet.

Hi-tech as it’s become, war cannot be solely about efficiency. It must first be effective. First, be effective. Then get efficient; otherwise you can get really efficient at doing the wrong thing.

Bad as it has apparently been, according to our bitter retirees, many of us in the corporate world wish our companies could react with near the speed and agility with which we’ve prosecuted this war, and I know many managers who marvel at the transformations we’ve observed.

However, the reality of the battlespace hasn’t changed since I was in-country in the early sixties. I’m in the “Rolling Thunder” camp, from the git go.

Nuke = no troops, some study teams and NGOs, conflict over, an alert world
Heavy conventional = few troops, many NGOs, conflict nearly over, awake world
Anything less = Americans will die over long periods of time!...while the world pretends to be sleeping.

4/14/2006 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

at 9:11, we get two views of the same challenge.

mat, a thousand year life time of seeing the promising hope of a better tomorrow left unfulfilled has yet to dampen your sunny disposition.

While eggplant views the same audience with dismay, their manipulation, he fears, is a one sided affair.

4/14/2006 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Mətušélaḥ said...

"There's another front to this war that the Bush team is winning. And that war involves the dismantling and discrediting the authoritarian hegemony on public opinion that is the MSM."

Breaking the MSM's hegemony over public opinion is vital if our country is to survive the 21st century. The following old saying still makes me smile:

Arguing with the MSM is like mud wrestling with a pig. You both get filthy but the pig likes it.

4/14/2006 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

Mətušélaḥ, 9:11 AM

Right on! Look at those stock prices, again. The old gray will never be what she used to be.

Word of warning, Percocet and writing are probably incompatable, but a man's gotta do whata man's gotta do.

4/14/2006 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

Total 888 Generals that exist, not to mention retired ones...

5 don't like Rummie....

wow, it's a freakin tsunami....

4/14/2006 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

Bill Kristol has been agitating for Rumsfeld's removal for two years now. He is in the larger footprint crowd and believes it was Rumsfeld who decided against it.

To ignore the smaller footprint argument, one must assume many things: 1) a massive presence does not have an inordinately negative effect on the hearts and minds of the people, 2) a massive presence does not have an inordinately negative effect on the willingness of Iraqis to take initiative, 3) a massive presence would not have created more American targets and casualties, or if it did, it would not have had an inordinately negative effect on the willingness of Americans to stay the course, 4) a massive presence would have dampened the insurgency, 5) a massive presence would have substantially decreased outside infiltration by Iraq's neighbors, and 6) the positives of a large footprint would have outweighed the negatives, in the aggregate of criteria.

The debate on the large footprint usually focuses on one issue, whether this or that benefit would have flowed from a massive occupation. Unfortunately, the issue is much bigger than narrow metrics.

Start with the Overall Strategic Objective, then work down, and you will see why a small footprint and an agile military makes sense. You will also see why disaggregating force projection from the division level to the battalion level makes sense. Iraq was not a proving ground for these strategic changes, it was a learning ground. We do not need proof that smaller, more agile, more powerful ground forces are a good thing. That is inarguable. What we needed was to institutionalize tactical success and failure, so we can refine our approach. That is what is going on in Iraq militarily.

A while ago Peter Bergen made the claim that OIF was a catastrophic strategic blunder. His argument was that the United States has effectively trained a large jihadist diaspora in how to fight the most advanced, sophisticated military on the planet. We have given our enemies experiential knowledge that they otherwise would not have had. Those who survive fighting the Americans will not simply return to a quiet life. They will spread their knowledge, and sophisticated insurgencies will begin to pop up everywhere.

Well, yeah. They've learned how to blow up things remotely. They've learned how to play the media game. And they've relearned that it is America's will that is the most vulnerable. But we've learned all that as well, and we have infinitely more resources and minds to bring to bear on those problems.

In war, learning is never a one way street. Both parties adapt. In this Long War with militant Islam, we have a lower bound of adaptability that circumscribes our behavior, and the jihadists have an upper bound. Our lower bound is moral. Their upper bound is institutional. Both limits are adjustable.

If necessary it is much easier for Americans to readjust their moral boundaries. I simply can't see the jihadis effectively surpassing their institutional barriers (so long as Iran doesn't get the bomb). All the insurgencies can do is get more depraved. In the meantime, we are building strategies and toys to eliminate them. I like our chances.

I like our chances because of what we have learned in Iraq.

4/14/2006 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

My two thoroughly civilian cents: Rumsfeld is great and should stay; we won the damn war in 3 weeks; nation-building depends on the cooperation of the nationals; not nearly enough acknowledgement of the character of the enemy or the utter destitution of Iraqi Arabs, over which we neither could nor wanted to exercise control sufficient to fundamentally alter in so short a time - and this is where the press's tone is most counterproductive; tactical failures as I've understood them have been so not because of numbers but because of political will or decisions as they were apprised of the facts and concerns at specific times; decisions of the State department, notably Bremer; the utter infantilism of Iraqi leadership; manufactured super-scandals like Abu Ghraib et al. Just because something doesn't turn out to have the hoped-for effect doesn't mean a different decision would have produced a better or equivalent result. In all these things, causality is obscured by the medium through which a cause is translated into an effect.

Rumsfeld has probably made some errors; he has probably made some errors whose erroneousness was foreseeable by some one, somewhere, depending on the vantage. It is utterly improbable, however, that even the recommendations made in hindsight would not have entailed at least a small storm of problems that the press - and this is all a PR phenomenon - could aggrandize at will and without accountability that would echo throughout the world as immediate conventional wisdom.

Rumsfeld is not the problem. To jettison this man, whose abilities can be clearly and consistently inferred at every press conference he gives, would be the political equivalent of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Apparently many people, in good faith and bad, do not actually appreciate the meaning of the sentiment that "Iraq will not be transformed into California, Italy, or even Azerbijan, overnight" and certainly not from a starting point of some abject tribal fascism, in less than 50 years. The point is not that the project is only worthwhile as a democracy-building project per se; the point is there is no other method of addressing the wholescale civilizational rot that threatened to tip entirely into fascism even without our intervention. To blame Rumsfeld for "our inability" to force a camel through the eye of a needle is, in my view, misguided at best. That is not to say there may be some political benefit, depending on how it is received in the public. But one ought not underestimate the meaning this would impart to dark minds the world over, and for what? For virtually nothing. We'll still have to deal with a people whose only perceivable specialty is never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity. And this has nothing to do with Donald Rumsfeld, the rock on which the present effort is based - who by the way has never been reluctant to say "I don't know, Senator," in every committee briefing I've ever seen, from the beginning until now.

4/14/2006 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It's only a "bad thing" 'cause the President says it ain't so.
The US Government never lied about the purpose of US troops in Korea.
To propagate the "War" in Iraq storyline, when there is another reality, only proves that Mr Bush does "lie". It strengthens the Sheehan wing or the US spectrum.

Many "believe" that Mr Bush and Team will do the "right thing" regardless of their Public Pronouncements.
Military strikes on Iran are "Wild Speculation" according to Mr Bush.
We are on the Diplomatic Path.
We will be banging these war drums 'til November.

4/14/2006 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger Brett L said...

I guess 4 years is the magic number for US internal support of military action. No sustained action that has run to 5 full years has been popular or successful.

Here we are, coming up on 5 years in, and support is starting to evaporate. Let's see Gulf of Tonkin 1964 - The foolishness of 1969. Yep.

I guess this is pretty much a confirmation of the upper bound of supported, sustained action by the US. One of the strange, dubious luxuries of the Fortress America geography is the ability to feel perfectly safe in retreating to isolationism.

'Course, we also can't trust the rest of the world not to turn to utter crap when that happens. Sometimes I think the US should just go for the full on Pax Americana and coercive hegemony. That way all of the paranoiacs could be right - and understand how ridiculous they are right now. Although, that may be like bashing someone in the head with a hammer to distract them from their toothache, but at least their bitching would fit the scale for a while.

4/14/2006 09:28:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Desert rat said...

"While eggplant views the same audience with dismay, their manipulation, he fears, is a one sided affair."

The liberals control the MSM and much of academia. This war would already have been lost with Kerry as our President if it wasn't for the Internet and blogs like Wretchard's.

4/14/2006 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Well done Ari!

4/14/2006 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

For those who have difficulty understanding why even conservatives have problems supporting the foreign policy of the United States under the administration of President Bush, note:,7340,L-3239771,00.html
otherwise known as, “Haniyeh: We'll eat salt”

“Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said the Palestinian people were not troubled by the prospect of aid cessation to the Palestinian Authority. Said he, ‘We'll eat zatar and weed but we won't betray and we won't be humiliated.’

By humiliation he means to say, ‘(The PA) does not plan to answer the three conditions of the Quartet: Ending violence, recognizing Israel, and acceptance of agreements signed with Israel.’

Of course, Prime Minister Haniyeh is overstating the plight of Hamas. As he is well aware, at the close of the business day on Friday last, the State Department increased aid to the “Palestinian people” through UN agencies. The State Department was quick to point out, however, that funding to the PA government was frozen. Consequently, it will not be necessary for the “Palestinian people” to subsist on olives and salt.

Mr. Haniyeh has to be impressed with the eloquence of the State Department’s funding scheme, truly worthy of its past deals with the late Yasser Arafat. The United States will most certainly not give aid to a terrorist regime; instead, it will give aid to the citizens who elected the terrorist regime. Dr. Rice seems to have learned something of the finer artifices of diplomacy while in France. Now, that’s what I call working the “international community.” It’s a win – win, unless, of course, you are a Jew in a pizzeria.

When looked at for what it is, Secretary Rice’s clever monstrosity passing itself off as mature foreign policy may go far in helping to understand at least some of Mr. Rumsfeld’s problems in the Defense Department. There is only so much babysitting one guy can be expected to do.

4/14/2006 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

le rat

I'm not going to look it up but I think that the first Special Forces Group was started in '61 or '62. Predecessors may have performed a similar function but I'm half-certain about the time of designation.

Since you're so intent on dating me, my younger version spent a couple weeks TDY in a SF camp in the Central Highlands ferrying Montagnard fighters on daytrips into Cambodia.

4/14/2006 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

mat, a thousand year life time of seeing the promising hope of a better tomorrow left unfulfilled has yet to dampen your sunny disposition.


It is precisely because this promise has been "left unfulfilled" that I retain my sunny disposition. And as long as it remains so, I will remain hopeful.

4/14/2006 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger geoffgo said...



Rummy was not a "drill instructor" (although that would explain a lot), he was a flight instructtor.

4/14/2006 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Dan said:

"The point is not that the project is only worthwhile as a democracy-building project per se; the point is there is no other method of addressing the wholescale civilizational rot that threatened to tip entirely into fascism even without our intervention. To blame Rumsfeld for "our inability" to force a camel through the eye of a needle is, in my view, misguided at best."

Right on! I wish I had written this.

Belmont Club makes my day!

4/14/2006 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Prior to WWII old guard generals in the US resisted the formation of large armored units. When they would conduct war games to test such units the rules were heavily stacked in favor of traditional tactics and units. Despite the stacking of the deck the tank units would win the games and in despite of that the old guard continued its resistance.

It wasn't until the future of war was demonstrated plainly in Europe until the old guard's resistance was overcome.

Part of this criticism is the old guard defending their turf and tactics. Some of the carping is about going into Iraq with insufficient numbers of troops. An old guard technique of fighting wars.

The carps want to fight the war they prepared for in the 70s and 80s not the wars we are actually fighting.

4/14/2006 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger NorthPut21 said...

Mətušélaḥ said...

There's another front to this war that the Bush team is winning. And that war involves the dismantling and discrediting the authoritarian hegemony on public opinion that is the MSM. And guess what, we're slowly winning that one as well, NorthPut21.

Is that all we get? Depressed stock prices for shares of the NYTimes. Now that's a big win.

4/14/2006 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Wrongo, peter boston, I've looked it up.
"... The first Special Forces unit in the Army was formed on June 11, 1952, when the 10th Special Forces Group was activated at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. A major expansion of Special Forces occurred during the 1960s, with a total of eighteen groups organized in the Regular Army, Army Reserve, and Army National Guard. As a result of renewed emphasis on special operations in the 1980s, the Special Forces Branch was established as a basic branch of the Army effective April 9, 1987, by General Orders No. 35, June 19, 1987. ... "

Quoted from the US Army's Center of Military History.

So someone so old, to know so little.

4/14/2006 09:52:00 AM  
Blogger CatoRenasci said...

Marcus Aurelius: Do not minimize the effectiveness of the Old Guard. They were successful in directing Vietnam War strategy and tactics to a very large degree. Just as they were successful in framing both French and British strategy and tactics in 1940, and successful in framing the French strategy that sent hundreds of thousands wearing red trousers into the face of entrenched German machine guns in 1914.

4/14/2006 09:52:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...

Speaking of high-tech war, I saw something awesome the other night on MSNBC. They introduced something about insurgent activity, and warned the following footage would be disturbing. I looked over expecting some serious MSM disgusting hypocrisy. The video that rolled showed an insurgent's video view of a humvee and a soldier standing just in front of it, perhaps 20 yards from the insurgent position (though it wasn't clear if they were zooming in or whatever). Then this insurgent starts muttering "Allahu akbar... allahu akbar..." in this weird trancey otherworldly tone, and he fires. The US soldier drops to the ground; "wtf!?" I bethought myself. Then up jumps the soldier and runs behind the humvee and immediately takes up position looking for the enemy! Ha! I know some of you guys may have seen this stuff but I thought it was pretty amazing. Eventually he killed one of the video-taping insurgents and they arrested the second guy, which somehow made its way to MSNBC. U.S.A! U.S.A! We kick so much ass it's unreal. Like this Taiwanese I met a couple years ago said, "you read; not so many America read, and too many McDonah... but US vewy powafuh!" F'ckin right.

4/14/2006 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Since when did Airborne Engineers ferry folk, other than at river crossings?
Did you meet JFKerry up there, on his forays into Cambodia?

4/14/2006 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

Aristides, your 9:25 was excellent.

It is my belief that many people make an grave error when the ascribe all sorts of capabilities to the enemy without ever considering the US side of the ledger.

For example your discussion of the lessons learned. It seems to me that Peter Bergen never considered that WE learned something. What makes us so much more lethal isn't just the toys we build but the speed with which we learn.

sure the insurgents got a first hand glimpse of how our military works, but how many of them (those that survived anyway) want a second glimpse?

How many of our "boots" now have some combat experience compared with the part timers that fill out the ranks of the insurgency?

We're talking a lot of highlevel redesign today and some of that must happen, but at the sharp end we've learned a lot and adapted quickly, IMHO to the tactics of the enemy.

I have long contended that one of the upsides to our presence in Iraq was the opportunity to create doubt in the Iranian military.

4/14/2006 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...


It means we are winning. It means if they continue on their present trajectory, in a year or two their stock will be at half the price it is today. And in five years, if they continue as is, they'll be extinct. But you go ahead and vote to keep them alive for a while longer.

4/14/2006 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Flexibility is a good thing rat. You should try it sometimes.

4/14/2006 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger MikeHoskins said...

This discussion, with some key exceptions, is based on little or no knowledge of the issue. It is all about "Transformation". To assist, here are some bullet points for you all to consider.

1. 9 out of 10 of the "whiners" are Army.
2. The traditional Army is the most affected by "T" because of the ultimate breakup of large (Divisional and larger) formations into deployable brigades.
3. The one star rank is the highest combat rank in any service. The rest are overhead.
4. Military officers, especially senior ones, DO NOT publicly critisize their seniors while on active service. "Falling on your sword" means resigning first.
5. The current whiners waited until they were not chosen to continue. This is definitely a sour grapes thing.
6. I too, had my gripes, but recognized that not all of my contemporaries were "lightweights".
7. I have never met a dumb Navy Captain or Marine Col. Asshole, maybe, politician, maybe, different ideas than mine, maybe, but never dumb.
8. I believe it was Napolean who said that Generalship could be acquired by genius (himself) but admiralty, even when accompanied by genius, required 20 years to learn the craft. (Admirilty includes the Corps) "Outside" input kills people, fast. Witnes the Union Army 1861-1865.
9. The Air Force (fast flyers, not the airlift etc guys) is so arrogant that they believe they should run everything.
10 Naval aviator (fast flyers) are like their AF counter parts but have the rest of us to keep them in line.
11. Rummy is stirring the pot. THAT IS GREAT, IN AND OF ITSELF.

Boy what a rant. Didn't know I had it left.

4/14/2006 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...


In regards to this question

"sure the insurgents got a first hand glimpse of how our military works, but how many of them (those that survived anyway) want a second glimpse?"

The "Catch and Release" program did not deter the exDetainee that shot LTC Kurilla.
Reports from the field are that recycled Insurgents keep popping up.

It seems a substantial minority, if not a majority, of Enemies are not intimidated by past contact with US Forces.

4/14/2006 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

My truths are not flexible, peter boston, except by the input of new facts. So I stick with truth, as I know it.

It is and has been consistent.

4/14/2006 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger NorthPut21 said...

Mətušélaḥ said...
It means we are winning. It means if they continue on their present trajectory, in a year or two their stock will be at half the price it is today. And in five years, if they continue as is, they'll be extinct. But you go ahead and vote to keep them alive for a while longer.

I think they (NYT) should have been put out of their misery long ago my friend. If you look at CBS, Rather was outed for Memogate, yet everyone is falling all over themselves with Katie Couric coming on board. This is a side discussion.

The fact remains that GWB has bungled the PR side of his whole presidency, especially what has become it's main issue: Iraq. If one is to conclude that all the presidents men are complicit in the bungling, that is your (or anyone else's) right.

I don't know who screwed the pooch, but when you can't rightfully single out 1 person or event, the responsibility always lies with the boss. In this case GWB

4/14/2006 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

The bellyaching has been consistent. If you were a general you could join the chorus.

4/14/2006 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

Rumsfeld is extremely innovative, and that always causes conflict within a bureaucracy, which is virtually inherently opposed to innovation. Anyone who had risen to the ranks these recent critics of Rumsfeld did worked very well, and successfully, within the bureaucracy that was threatened by Rumsfeld's innovation. It takes an extraordinary person to see the value of innovative ideas when those ideas threaten the makeup of the society that that person came through, lives in, and was very successful in. Most of these people are not extraordinary, at least in that sense of the word. And by the time most officers get to that level, they have been "institutionalized", and protecting their "turf" becomes one of their primary objectives.

4/14/2006 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

ahh, but I was never even tempted to be an Officer, though they offered to send me to the School.

Just a concerned citizen, whose experience, though limited, is apropo to Insurgent Conflict.

The "Unacceptable" has been, to date, "Accepted".

Maybe someday we'll be less Diplomatic, but 'til then, the Iranians are proudly nuclear.

4/14/2006 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

"It was my opinion in 2000, proven accurate by the behavior of these retired flag officers and, indeed, some colonels, that they were the damaged goods of the previous administration; an administration more concerned with public pronouncements of political correctness than actual sound military policy."

- allen

How concerned was the President with sound military policy, in Iraq? Not terribly. And he is the one that made the policies. And the military leadership bought those policies. There has been no radical change of the PC of the Clinton years. (It just gets more people killed now.) Contrary to the belief here. Here, at Belmont, the sun really does shine out of Bush's, and Rumsfeld's shirtsleeves. Personalities, rather than actual results, are worshipped.

How many of your so-called "damaged goods" have been able to do what needed to be done, in spite of the self-imposed limitations of this administration? I'm married to one such, allen.

4/14/2006 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

DR, I have to agree with you. The balancing act between the "footprint" and the lives of the soldiers is frustrating to me.

I just finished "No True Glory". According to the author there was some dissention about targetting safe houses. The marines were disgruntled because the MEF declined to destroy the vast majority of buildings that they had identified as viable targets. Thus we traded Lives for PC appearance, IMHO. I wonder how many of those houses had to be taken anyway? How many got leveled anyway? What the F word were the brass worried about?

Perhaps this is a function of the political opposition, the piss poor MSM performance, the feckless Iraqi functionaries, who can say?

My point is that we did hammer Fallujah pretty hard and I have to believe that the many of the survivors are in no hurry to take on the Marines again.

4/14/2006 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...


It's not just the NYT or IHT. It's the whole industry. They are bleeding themselves to death. The easy cash and subsidy from oil rich sheikhs only accelerates their demise.

4/14/2006 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger MikeHoskins said...

Do you have any idea how many vets I have heard say, "they offered to send me to officer school". Everybody is asked to apply to for whatever the qualify for.
Your decision is your decision.
Just stop pretending you have any clue about what the job is, especially at senior (defined as 0-5 and up).

The road there is long, hard, and very, very, very caring about the welfare of the people the country allows us to lead.

That we also have to respond the requirements of the board of directors, otherwise known as the Congress of the United States, is the challenge.

4/14/2006 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

We should except each set back, humiliation and political defeat without comment?
Did you hold your tongue during or after the Somolia defeat or did you complain and demand a change in Tactics?

Do you propose abandoning the lessons that can and have been learned, 'cause the differ from your story line.

Since you often do, you should go backto work for the Government, again.
The FBI, 9-11 Commission, FEMA, if the facts do not fit the planned storyline, abandon the facts. You'll fit right in.

If the Administration and the Military do not accept and acknowledge that there have been mistakes made, they can not be rectified.

To those that claim this is a disinformation campaign, that internally the lessons have been learned, but most remain "secret".

That is one reason public support has waned, little positive News, even from the Army, no current Victories on the Battlefield, and a lack of identifiable steps and milemarkers to reaching US Goals.

4/14/2006 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

How concerned was the President with sound military policy, in Iraq? Not terribly.


In order to provide me with some perspective I would like very much if you could provide a parallel or comparable to the "terrible" outcome of the march from Kuwait to Baghdad.

4/14/2006 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I have never been critical of the Officer Corps, except to suggest it could be changed, a la Mr Lincoln, but not the Person of any particular Officer.

I have not savaged retired General Officers nor current ones for their Statements. No matter whether I personally agree, or not.

I may comment on their statements, but not to denigrate their Service or competency, but to say they should be considered, due to their past/ present Job position.

Others may call them selfserving, I never have. Products of the System, they are. But that is not totally a "bad thing" either.

4/14/2006 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Lessons Learned means you adjust and move on. Dwelling on the same topic and repeating the same rant for months does neither.

I hope les generals are still around when historians get access to the classified material from 97-98 when these were the guys in the drivers seat. Clinton was ringing the Iraq war bell but never had the cookies to pull it off. How many of these generals were prescient in '98 when their names went on the Plan?

4/14/2006 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...


I do not want to discount the old guard's past triumphs, just point out they are not appropriate to the fight we are currently in. Rumsfeld recognizes this and is reorganizing the Armed Forces in light of that.

Wretchard's note about casualty rates is very interesting. If our forces in Iraq were 4x larger I do not think we would be done, I think we would have 4x the casualties. However, the five or six former generals coming out against Rumsfeld view the fight in the way they trained and the name for this is the Powell Doctrine.

4/14/2006 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

regardless of what trish may say, peter boston, Military Policy in Iraq is / was much more than the "March to Baghdad".

That was the initial campaign and it met limited success.
It bypassed rear guard Iraqi militias, the core of the later Insurgency, in a Napolianic dash to the Capital.
While the Enemy Capital fell quickly, General Casey wrote, just days ago, that Baghdad remains unsecure, three years after it's capture.
So, while the March was quick and decisive, the rest of the Polcy has left US short of our stated Political Goals, to date.
But we should not comment on that, in your opinion.

4/14/2006 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

It is the same problem at the Core, peter boston, you are right about that.
But the thing that must bother you is the different but continuing ways the core problems are exposed.

When the mistakes are acknowledged and rectified, as in embedding US troops in the ISF. I appauld.

When the mistakes are never acknowledged, the problems remain and must be addressed, before they can be solved.

4/14/2006 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...


Bagdad is not Stalingrad. Bagdad being "insecure" is not in the least obstructive to the war effort.

4/14/2006 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

The US has set the conditions for a fairly elected representative government in Iraq. Unless we want to play empire we can do no more.

4/14/2006 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

maybe not yours, mat, but it is to President Bush's War.
Or has he been lying all this time?
I find that hard to believe.

I agree with that, peter boston, that it is their kettle of fish.
But it was the Administration that tied itself and US to their success.
As a precondition to Victory.

That was either Mr Bush's or some nameless General's decision, we cannot I think blame a General, this time.

4/14/2006 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Michael Yon:

Last week, in America, a radio producer for a large syndicated program in the United States called me requesting that I go on the show, a show that has hosted me many times and where I’ve been referred to as, “Our man in Iraq.” But when I said Iraq is in a civil war, that same producer slammed down the phone and, in so doing, demonstrated how much he reveres truth.

The many faces of suppression are interesting. The first time I said something the producer did not agree with, he slammed down the phone. That’s why I do not accept advertisement. That same syndication had regarded my opinion highly when I was saying what they wanted to hear. They were not happy per se for truth. The truth was that we were making much progress in Iraq, and that is what they wanted to hear. But I knew the honeymoon would end the day the truth was at variance to their narrowly defined message. When the receiver slammed into the phone, the producer revealed himself naked; he was not supporting the troops, nor the Iraqis, but the President. One day, perhaps when I am in some hell-spot on earth and the only person they can reach by satellite phone, they might call again, and I will go on again, and I will tell the truth, and they will either hang on my words and say, “See, see, he is on the ground! And he believes the same as we!” Or I might say something they don’t like, they might hang up the phone again, and I will go about my business, no hard feelings. Although sometimes the truth saddens me, it just is what is.

4/14/2006 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger NorthPut21 said...

The US has set the conditions for a fairly elected representative government in Iraq. Unless we want to play empire we can do no more.

So is it time to leave now? If our objectives were: Disarm, regime change, & set the stage to have elections then we have met them all and we are done. Maybe our leaving would set the fire that needs set under some asses that are sitting around drinking tea instead of governing their country........

4/14/2006 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

if you want a good lesson in military history gather up everything you can find about Guadalcanal but study it real time, one day of study for each day of battle, and don't read ahead. If you can come away from that experience still thinking that large scale combat is a perfectly linear collection of episodes then you can bellyache about the quality of Rummy's memos.

4/14/2006 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...


Ok. Bush is an incompetent and Islam is the Religion of Peace.© Just please keep in mind post 7:38 AM, that's all.

4/14/2006 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...


In case you missed it there already were national elections which even Mr. Carter blessed as fair. About 65% of Iraqis eligible to vote did so. The Iraqis can form a national unity government over lunch if they so choose. Painting what can only be described as an ahistorical achievment as a failure is quite remarkable. If the toxic political environment prevents you from seeing that that's your problem. The facts are there. The rest is petty bullshit.

4/14/2006 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger Tex said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

4/14/2006 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger Tex said...

rat: While the Enemy Capital fell quickly, General Casey wrote, just days ago, that Baghdad remains unsecure, three years after it's capture.

What was General Casey's use of the word, "unsecure"? Link? I ask because the word lends itself to MSM distortion, in the usual defeatist manner.

Elaborating on the point made by, um, Methuselah? above: One might say Stalingrad was unsecured, from the Germans' perspective, because German troops could not advance block-by-block to take control of the city. That degree of insecurity doomed the battle.

But in another sense, Tel Aviv is unsecured, too: from the citizens' perspective every gathering-place is a potential hazard due to the risk of Palestinian and Hezbollah attack. Life is unsettled, but Tel Aviv will not fall.

Baghdad's insecurity now seems to me more like that of contemporary Tel Aviv, and unlike that of WWII Stalingrad. Or is there another city and time offering closer analogy?

4/14/2006 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger DanMyers said...


Apologize for the delay.. My teenager was playing football, tripped and fractured his thumb. The nut doesn't fall far from the tree.

I did notice your correction, and was pleased that you came out with it so quickly... Unlike our "Main-Stream information disseminators".

You said -
"Surely, the President knew what he had inherited in 2000. He certainly campaigned with a platform promising major reform. Once elected, however, he chose, in the words of Lee, to play the hand he was dealt. I would have chosen otherwise - but that is one man's opinion."

And that is the bone of contention. Yes, he knew what he was dealt, as did Sec. Rumsfeld. The go-ahead for change was given and Donald Rumsfeld didn't execute. From my myopic position that is where the President and SoD have failed. 9 month's is a fairly narrow time-frame for that task, and I am willing to give some slack there. But, I tend to agree with you on the "change was necessary point". Although, taking a large swath out of your flag ranks during war-time may be better left to Presidents that are actually losing (Lincoln). As the game isn't over yet, you may be absolutely correct.


"What we needed was to institutionalize tactical success and failure, so we can refine our approach. That is what is going on in Iraq militarily."

Wouldn't you be interested in that trail of classified paper, if for nothing else, to see what passed muster on the way up the chain?

The fear that I have is that political variables are moving down the chain rather than insulated from the top. Politics at the squad level kills us, not them.

4/14/2006 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...


Re: married to one such, allen

If you must personalize this, so am I. That proves what, exactly? We are excellent judges of character? There are exceptions to every rule?

One of Mr. Clinton's first orders of business in 1993 was to replace 93 US Attorneys with officers who would reflect "my views."

The military did not escape Mr. and Mrs. Clinton's ministrations. You do recall "don't ask; don't tell, for example.

4/14/2006 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger NorthPut21 said...

peter boston sez:
Painting what can only be described as an ahistorical achievment as a failure is quite remarkable. If the toxic political environment prevents you from seeing that that's your problem. The facts are there.

No shit Shirley. We went, we saw we kicked ass, now it's time to leave.
Why hang around and turn victory into defeat?
Packing up our tents and tanks would solve a lot of problems real quick. It may even get the tea drinkers to get to work. Heck, if we're not "tied up" in Iraq maybe we'll even have a bigger stick to coerce the mad man in Iran with.

The "we will be there for years" statements coming from the administration do not and will not jive with the public at large. When no goal is stated as to why we need to be there any longer, the support for it is gone. If the Iraqis can not or will not help themselves in righting their ship there is a limit as to what we can make them do at this point.

The clamor for Rummy's head is just another salvo in trying to prove that "Bush lied people died". Another exercise in moonbat masturbation. Ces't La Vie.

Whether you agree or not with how we got here, we're still here. How to move forward is the real question.

The fact that GWB can not articulate what the policy is going forward other then pulling the string out of his back and hearing "it's hard work" just doesn't cut it. The public is not as stupid as some would believe. That's why his numbers are in the 30's and he is wasting time deflecting all the crap about Rummy. He is either clueless and has no coherent policy, or his handlers are clueless and don't know how to get the message out.

4/14/2006 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger Manny L. Wilson said...

Why I support Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense

Donald Rumsfeld should absolutely stay as the Secretary of Defense. I know there is a generating debate on whether Rumsfeld should or should not resign. Part of this is politically motivated and some philosophically motivated and rightly so. It is true mistakes have been made in Iraq. It is true that Donald Rumsfeld is in charge and therefore some responsibility for the successes as well as mistakes fall in his lap. However, let me tell you why Rumsfeld should not be fired.

First, Secretary Rumsfeld is and is known by many national security intellectuals and senior military officials to be the brightest and most capable men ever to serve as Secretary of Defense. He truly is a remarkable man and a beautiful mind. Any so-called mistakes Rumsfeld has made would likely have been made by another Secretary of Defense with regard to the aftermath of the Iraq war.

Second, the debate as to whether there were enough troops forged by the two military thought camps (the Shinseki-Franks groups), the arguments are often misconstrued. Rumsfeld and the new defense intellectuals arguing for new and bold execution, that is, a more network-centric and information-age execution of Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2003, proved to be right in their assessment of the “number of troops” needed to defeat Saddam’s regime. This campaign was done with astonishing speed, agility, and complexity and historically speaking is one of the greatest victories in military history. It will prove to be a defining moment of warfare in the 21st century by all standards.

However, the second half of the war, that is, the rebuilding and reconstruction of the country proved to not be sufficiently nor correctly planned and prepared for. This second half could have benefited from either more troops (U.S. or coalition) or another force type the Pentagon (or other agency) has not invested sufficiently in (troops designed, trained and equipped to rapidly help stabilize and rebuild a country). This second half did not have sufficient numbers or capability because of some assumptions based on intelligence which proved to be incorrect, and the robust insurgency which emerged (arguably somewhat the result of decisions made to disband the Iraqi Army). This decision as well as the many other decisions may have allowed the insurgency to take hold easier than it otherwise would have. And these decisions rest squarely with officials in charge of the war, including Rumsfeld. However, the decision to not disband the Iraqi Army also would have had its consequences, and persons making these decisions had to look at differing views of intelligence to make their decision. Hindsight is 20/20. Rumsfeld should be graded on his prosecution of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, and Operation Iraqi Freedom (which includes the brilliantly successful initial campaign to topple Saddam, the aftermath of reconstruction, and the third “war” of fighting terrorists and a robust insurgency). In all accounts he has done wonders with one of the most different and complex Global wars ever to be waged.

Finally, as to running the Department and transforming the military to tackle new challenges and take advantage of new opportunities – he should be commended. While there is not yet a large camp among the general public who understand what is happening among the Department of Defense and national security apparatus at large, the changes that are taking place as a result of Rumsfeld vision and leadership will radically transform the way the Department of Defense plans and conducts war in the future. Without these bold and innovative changes the new challenges in transitioning from the industrial-age to the information-age would not be matched. The 21st century security environment is different and is changing at a rapid pace. Rumsfeld understands this and the new opportunities which must be harnessed to deal with these complex and adaptive challenges. He understands we will be fighting rapidly adaptive networks taking advantaged of globalization and the internet to do their harm. He understands the current organization and makeup of the Department of Defense and national security apparatus at large is insufficient to face these new and adaptive challenges.

There are still some defense intellectuals and Generals out there who do not yet understand these challenges and are resistant to change, but there days are numbered. Many of these Generals who demand Rumsfeld should resign are old-fashioned and still caught up in the industrial-age Cold War mentality. They do not understand the information-age and the new ways of operating. We should respect their opinions but also listen to the new breed of warriors being generated today who understand this well and are emboldened by Rumsfeld’s grand vision for change which will help secure generations to come. I highly support Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense. I welcome your thoughts and commentary.

4/14/2006 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Defenders of Mr. Rumsfeld in his fight with the generals make the case that only a small fraction of the retired flag officer community is critical of Mr. Rumsfeld’s stewardship of the DoD. And, because the number of those off the reservation is small, Mr. Rumsfeld should stay on at DoD. That may not be the best argument to put forward.

Who are these general officers who find the Secretary so wanting? Are they obscure desk bound warriors, paper pushers, bean counters? No, they are not and that is a problem for Mr. Rumsfeld. Generals Batiste and Swannack commanded in the Iraq theatre the 1st Infantry Division (The Big Red One) and the 82nd Airborne Division (All American), respectively. By all means, check out the divisional websites during their tenures.

Until a few days ago, anyone with the temerity to question the credentials of either John R. Batiste, Major General, USA (retired) or Charles H. Swannack, Major General, USA (retired) on this site would have been unmercifully savaged. I know this to be true because I have repeatedly questioned the quality of flag officer leadership on this site and received my ration of verbal abuse. In fact, I would bet the farm that both would have been hailed as patriots and heroes. Now, however, because both generals, using the MSM, have publicly called for the resignation/removal of Secretary Rumsfeld, they have, overnight, become the turkeys at the shoot. My, what a difference a day makes – patriot to traitor, in the course of a news cycle. But such is the dark soul of partisan politics.

Whether these two generals are hacks with an axes to grind and scores to settle remains to be seen. What can be said without qualification is that both were Army division commanders, commanding their divisions with distinction in Iraq, and operating under the control of the Secretary of Defense. Yes, they did work closely with Mr. Rumsfeld because they and he say so. Moreover, there are not so many division commanders in Iraq that two of the most important could be misplaced by the Secretary. So, what does all this mean?

Well, if Mr. Rumsfeld headed GE, let’s say, and two division heads were to retire suddenly and immediately question the leadership of their former CEO, out-of-the-blue; which is to say, the Board of Directors had no reason to previously doubt the seemingly close knit relationship, what would the Board make of the event? By any reasonable standard, without the necessity of further investigation, the Board would conclude a dysfunctional relationship, and rightly so.

It is the responsibility of the CEO to know what is going on within his management team. He sets the goals and measures the performance of his team. If that team fails, the fault lies with the CEO, the motives of his subordinates, notwithstanding. That is what has happened here.

For those who now defend Mr. Rumsfeld with the argument that only a few officers are involved, they must hope mightily that others do not follow suit. There are not that many division commanders in the leaner US military. At some point, the percentage of former staff might be more significant than absolute numbers. Indeed, at some point, qualitative factors might even come into play. Whatever, the case, something is rotten in the Pentagon - Mr. Rumsfeld’s home turf.

4/14/2006 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger cjr said...

I am reminded of what Lincoln said to those who wanted Grant to be relieved of command:

"I cant spare him, he is the only general that fights"

4/14/2006 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger geoffgo said...

No sh*t shirley,

Okay, we've been dis-informed all along. Actually, the troops are being withdrawn from the nearly quiet battlefield; they will soon be re-deployed to Iraqs' borders, and Afghan borders those bases we're building out there. But, they're not ready yet.

Given the proximity of Iran, and Syria, and the looming conflict with them, it has always made sense to attack Iraq first, to establish operating areas and air-supremecy, in what was hetetofore an inhospitable environment for such activity.

4/14/2006 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Ah, checking back in, as usual I see the Opposition has gotten what it wanted, in any case.

Y'know the only person who probably has been largely proven right all along is Osama bin Laden.

The Byzantines bicker.


4/14/2006 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...

Sorry Dan, can't resist..

But they were for it before they were against it....

4/14/2006 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...


4/14/2006 01:28:00 PM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

DanMyers: This is a very thought provoking sentence

"Politics at the squad level kills us, not them."

It would seem that current dynamics are weakening whatever barrier existed between these two spheres.

first, the type of engagement has changed. We're not in WW2. Action taken by squads in iraq can make headlines tomorrow and thus they have political impact.

next, improved communications makes 'meddling' possible. When the British sent bligh off to tahiti they didn't have anyway to confer with him as he dealt with the tahitians, they had to believe that he understood his orders and had the skill to enact them.

Now we have unmanned drones flying in iraq while being controlled in Las Vegas. if the president wanted to discuss an urban assault with a staff sargeant the technology exists to permit it.

It would seem that these two developments will make life very interesting for military officers.

4/14/2006 01:28:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Rumsfeld Verging on Breakdown

4/14/2006 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...


Let us not forget something very key.

The SECDEF and other civillian leadership (SECAF, SECARMY, SECNAVY, etc) does not decide to send the 101st Airborne to West Dumpster or the 1st Marine Div to Lower Pigsnout. Rather, they determine resources based on Adminstration policy and Congressional funding.

Given that resources are always somewhat less than infinite, those whining generals all had the SECDEF tell them "No" at one time or another. Given that they are bureaucrats, they naturally feel strongly that THEIR mission, theater, Service, base, pet project, etc, is the MOST important. After all, that is what they are judged - and promoted - based on.

As Boghie points out, there were not enough troops to fill certain grandiose plans for invading Iraq - even if iut was a good idea, which it probably was not.

Personally, I am all for telling the Euorpeans and South Koreans "50 years is more than enough. If you lose the next one on your own territory we plan on nuking the whole place down to bedrock. Something bad happens, send us an e-mail." But it is not hard to see that there are all sorts of geopolictical issues that are beyond an O-5 - or an O-6, 7, 8, 9 or 10 - and that is where Rummy comes in.

So they didn't like being told they were not one with the Lords of Creation. Well, grow up!

4/14/2006 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...


For clarity, I have no squad-level experience. I was a squid... My neighbor is a Marine in-country, 3rd tour, I believe...? when he gets a break, we have a BBQ for all of the locals. They are the ones that make those statements, not I.

I still want to know why it takes 1 year for them to pass gate-guard school...... :-) Then the beer cans fly...

4/14/2006 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

I grew up in the navy. My dad, God rest his soul, made sure that his kids understood the terms gyrene and jarhead. Every time we went to the base we heard the words.

He did his job well because he had three grandsons, all marines!

I would love for my son to be doing guard duty at gate 8 at some navy base right about now. he'd hate it though, and that's a fact.

4/14/2006 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

I dont care about Rumsfeld's "greatness" and how he is or was one of the most able people with the most impressive resumes. Or that "he has done many great things" and HE DESERVES NO LESS THAN 8 YEARS because he has not shown rank incompetence or committed what US Courts would say is a firable offense.

That misses the fact that Good Presidents and Good CEOs DO LEAD by constantly seeking the optimum management blend and DO SAY NO and veto subordinates now and then and DO HAVE TO CHANGE OUT EVEN GREAT MEN OR WOMEN in their inner circle that no longer fit the goals and mission.

Reagan was great in that way. He was still a nice guy, he still had great loyalty, but he did move people in and out of cabinet posts (including some that were doing great jobs but who had become distractions) and veto'd bills coming from the Hill without alienating the affections of his followers (or the respect of his foes). Reagan never fell into the trap of fearing unless he displayed blind loyalty to any subordinate or had a moments hesitation at accepting whatever spending Congress shoved his way - fearing he would be seen as a disloyal team player.

This isn't about Rumsfeld, though his botched Iraq postwar and the large controversy attached to him over detainees, management style, and ignoring China and Russia to focus on Islamoids and "transformation" only, while bleeding other Branches and the Reserves equipment stocks deeply to pay for the massive Iraq spending and Special Ops and spacewar glamorous, exciting stuff he prefers - should have meant he should have gone. Along with Card, Snow, Mineta, Feith, Norquist, Abrams back in early 2005 to help invigorate the new 2nd Administration with new energy and purpose rather than focus on the events and legacy of all the 2002 events defining all of them.

No, it's about Bush's failure to lead and reinvigorate his Administration past a tired inner circle of cronies who have been with him since mid-2000, and keep telling him the same things. The failure of Bush's inner circle to move past 2002 foreign policy dogma and tax cuts for the wealthy while ignoring a changing world and huge domestic problems isn't Cheney or Rumsfeld or Chertoff or's Bush's failure.


Cannoneer#4 sez - "Does anybody else wonder why, if SecDef is so incompetent, none of these generals stood up to him while still on active duty, falling on their swords if necessary?"

I did wonder about that, because the widespread myth is that if any general officer has major issues with civilian leadership at the Pentagon or the White House, they typically just resign as an act of conscience. Fall on their swords in a hearbeat. Otherwise they all must have been glowingly endorsing everything that came out of Doug Feith's mouth, and applauding all of Toommy Franks and Rumsfelds plans unreservingly.

But then I looked, and found that in the last 60 years, there have only been 3-4 "acts of resignation over policy " by military careerists, and they occured over 50 years ago.

Resignations of conscience are exceptionally uncommon in an "up or out culture" that puts people thet cherish their 30 year survival and advancement while 30% of their peers fall and must leave a military career or be stuck forever in one grade in a bad billet on each promotion puts them in a position of playing ball or blowing a career and rank they won the hard way.

In Vietnam, hundreds of flag-grade Admirals and Generals were aware that the Pentagon had concluded Vietnam was unwinnable back in 1965. All knew they were sending soldiers to their deaths. A large number protested up to the point their career might be hurt...but then rather than resigning, they all saluted LBJ, Nixon, MacNamara and said "Yessir, Yessir 3 Bags Full, Sir!!". Part of Vietnam history is how military historians and strategists now assign a large amount of blame to the Pentagon Brass - which caved utterly to the "Best and Brightest". Not a single resignation of conscience...though many in later books wrote extensively about how they knew they were implimenting failed strategy, ordering futile missions that bled American lives and treasure.

The myth of "resignations of conscience" of careerists at State Dept is equally dubious in the last 50 years. They are also "Yessir, Yessirs" determined to outlast any Administration they deeply disagree with even while they salute sharply and execute policies they believe harms America.

4/14/2006 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...


Rumsfeld knew who he was dealing with. This fight with these characters is old news. Other than bombing everything into oblivion, there is no other strategy. And one need not be a General, to perform that sublime task.

4/14/2006 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger DanMyers said...


As would I. Those weren't disparaging comments to the Marines, they love the rivalry (if they didn't - I am absolutely certain that I would be MIA). These are recon guys....

4/14/2006 02:14:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

re: tax cuts for the wealthy.

You know, the tax-burden on the top 20% has actually increased since Bush took office. 82% to 85%, or something like that (too lazy to look up exact numbers). When Democrats complain about tax cuts for the wealthy, what they are talking about is whole dollar amount. "Jimbo's tax break was only $100, but Richard's was $15,000. Therefore, tax cuts for the rich!"

People who speak like that are idiots, or they are pushing an agenda. Plain and simple. And that doesn't even take into account the Laffer Curve and other economic principles.

Look, there is a reason why federal revenue continues to exceed projection, why growth is steady, why consumer confidence is high, and why the economy is approaching full employment. It's not magic.

Rich people, after all, aren't putting their extra benjamins in the mattress. They're putting them, and therefore more Jimbos, to work.

4/14/2006 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

If you want a fiscal complaint, look at spending. Bush's tax policy is sound.

4/14/2006 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger skipsailing said...

Well Iraq has the sunnis, we in America have Cedarford.

the sunnis started an insurgency then deamnded that Iraqis not vote because there was an insurgency.

Cedarford assigns all sorts of vague blame to Rumsfeld then castigates Bush because rumsfeld has blame assigned to him.

that's just a great method for dealing with inconvenient political foes: first the smear then the fear. Wow, well done Indeed.

I wonder if that's good enough to get an extra star. Armchair generals need all the promotions they can muster.

With duplicity like that, you should be in a souk somewhere.

4/14/2006 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Well said.

4/14/2006 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger Ivan Douglas said...

Gaius Livius at Polipundit:

For example, I caught a snippet of an evidently lib talk radio program early this morning - might’ve been Imus - in which he was interviewing some unnamed “military expert” who opined that everybody in the Iraq/Afghanistan theater supposedly hates Rumsfeld; when the same “expert” began his next sentence by favorably citing John Kerry, that’s when I knew he was no expert.

4/14/2006 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Ledger at 3:19 - thanks for the thumbnail bio of Rumsfeld. Bush's Cabinet is more accomplished and bold than any since FDR's during WWII. An easy, enjoyable overview of the players is covered in The Rise of the Vulcans and in that book Rummy is clearly the star, with Cheney a strong second.

Rumsfeld runs the military like a corporation, and I'm sure that must be troubling the Centurions of the Pentagon.

This is a rich thread, even by Belmont standards, in pointing out the bold, unprecedented attempt to change the world, to escape the half-assed measures that led us to this point in the first place.

4/14/2006 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Batiste, also suggested other changes among the top brass at the Pentagon.

"I think we need senior military leaders who understand the principles of war and apply them ruthlessly
, and when the time comes, they need to call it like it is," he told CNN.

4/14/2006 02:58:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Batiste is a genocidal bigot. But then, so am I.

4/14/2006 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

hell i thought you were a dentist.

4/14/2006 03:11:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Calling for Rumsfeld to resign were retired Army Maj. Gen. John Riggs, retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, retired Army Maj. Gen. Charles Swannack, retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, and retired Marine Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold.

Major-General John Batiste: “I think it is absolutely coincidental. I have nothing to gain in doing this. There is no political agenda at all.”

Major-General John Riggs said that Mr Rumsfeld should go because he had fostered an “atmosphere of arrogance”.

An atmosphere of arrogance. You hear that, Doug!? Dismissed!!

4/14/2006 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Oh, I can easily imagine the sea of nodding military heads in response to Batiste's comment.


4/14/2006 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

yeh, Bill Clinton's crew din't have none of that durn atmo sphere of arrogance.

4/14/2006 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

hell i thought you were a dentist.

Soon to be retired.

4/14/2006 03:26:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

"Pappy, why don't we git US some o thet ree-form?"

4/14/2006 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Just to be clear.

Nodding heads in response to this:

"I think we need senior military leaders who understand the principles of war and apply them ruthlessly, and when the time comes, they need to call it like it is," he told CNN.

4/14/2006 03:39:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Well, it’s Friday afternoon, close of business. What does that mean? It’s that time when the Bush administration disingenuously finds another way to support terrorists without supporting terrorism.

“U.S. bars Americans from doing business with Hamas-led Palestinian government.”

That certainly sounds ominous, doesn’t it, but Hamas need not worry. The new U.S. Treasury Department regulations have so many loopholes in the fine print that nothing will really change. Laughing all the way to the bank, “Palestinian (Hamas) officials condemned the American decision.” Me thinks they doth protest too much.

It is reported that the tough-as-nails “decision affects most dealings with the Palestinian government, but does not apply to private business interests, the memo said.”

Slashing the terrorist Hamas government to the bone, “(Treasury) said business with the Palestinian government will be permitted to continue in six areas, primarily humanitarian aid and work for international organizations like the United Nations.”

Lest Ms. Rice’s poor “Palestinian people”, for whom the President is said to “weep”, suffer, the Treasury Department says, "In the interest of supporting the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people, Treasury will allow certain limited transactions by U.S. persons and organizations with the Palestinian Authority.”

It should be understood by one-and-all that business as usual can be done with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is part of the PA government, but not part of the terrorist part of the terrorist PA government.

Indignantly, “Alaa Araj, the Palestinian economy minister, said the decision was part of the American ‘"mobilization of all its allies and individuals in the region to boycott this government."’

If the Bush administration keeps up the pressure by the current methods, why, it may be found to have taken the advice of former President James E. Carter,

‘"If there are prohibitions -- like, for instance, in the United States, against giving any money to a government that is controlled by Hamas -- then the United States could channel the same amount of money to the Palestinian people through the United Nations, through the refugee fund, through UNICEF, things of that kind,"’ he added.

Carter expressed hope that ‘"the people of Palestine -- who already suffer ... under Israeli occupation -- will not suffer…”’

Hey, if Mr. Bush can say that Mr. Clinton is part of the family, why not “Uncle Jimmy”?

4/14/2006 03:53:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...


Firstly, you must learn and understand the principles of war. And when the time comes, you call it like it is.

4/14/2006 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

About face.

Two combat division commanders (Big Red One and 82nd Abn) is too much gravitas to ignore.

I like Rummy but it looks like he may not be a wartime consiglere.

4/14/2006 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

A counter view of Iraq Not the utter doom and gloom we get from regular MSM.

4/14/2006 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...


Let's think this through,..
Q: Who is the US trying to beat in Iraq?

4/14/2006 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

The Generals' Revolt

4/14/2006 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Mətušélaḥ, 4:01 PM

I can't wait until Mr. Carter writes his book on the "principles of war" he used in '79. I feel so bereft.

It is important to be measured. Again, when I have any question about what I should say or do, I ask, "What would Jane Fonda do?

4/14/2006 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Gen. Batiste in 2004:
'This is a man with the courage and the conviction to win the war on terrorism.' A Rumsfeld aide said that when the two talked privately, the general voiced no complaints on how Washington, or Mr. Rumsfeld, was waging war.
But Gen. Batiste has now called on Mr. Rumsfeld to resign, one of five retired generals who have done so in recent weeks.
"'I believe we need a fresh start in the Pentagon,' Gen. Batiste said Wednesday on CNN. 'We need a leader who understands teamwork, a leader who knows how to build teams, a leader that does it without intimidation.'"

...and a lot of them are ex-Clinton, led by admiral, general, whatever he is, Zinni. (John Kerry's favorite general to quote, by the way, in the 2004 presidential campaign.)
"Of the Iraqi people, he told CNN," on Wednesday, "'Iraqis, frankly, in my experience, do not understand democracy. Nor do they understand their responsibility for a free society.'
But in Iraq last year, Gen. Batiste said: 'The Iraqi 4th Division represents what is and what is meant to be in Iraq. The soldiers of the division not only reflect the rich ethnic/religious diversity of Iraq, but they also imbue with the energy, courage and determination which the vast majority of the Iraqi people have for freedom and representative government.'"
"Yesterday, retired Army Maj. Gen. John Riggs also made the resignation plea, this time on National Public Radio. The acting Army secretary at the time demoted Gen. Riggs and forced him to retire in 2004 because he let a civilian contractor do congressional liaison work that rules said should have been done by a government employee. The forced retirement infuriated some retired officers...

4/14/2006 04:24:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Unless you read Cannoneer #4's link over to Spook86's little backgrounder, you are insufficiently informed on the particulars of the topic at hand.

4/14/2006 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

'If the Bush administration keeps up the pressure by the current methods, why, it may be found to have taken the advice of former President James E. Carter,

"If there are prohibitions -- like, for instance, in the United States, against giving any money to a government that is controlled by Hamas -- then the United States could channel the same amount of money to the Palestinian people through the United Nations, through the refugee fund, through UNICEF, things of that kind,"’ he added."

I had to laugh at that quote of Carter's. I'm sure that Oliver North could give him some specific tips on how to do that. Odd how the liberals view the situation differently when it is the Palestinians on the other end of the pipeline!

4/14/2006 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...


All you gotta' do is look at a map of the ME and it's pretty obvious we had to have boots and bases in Iraq. Even if Saddam were a choir boy. Same with Dubai. If the UAE sheiks were not cooperative they would be gone too.

4/14/2006 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...


I agree. But I want us to go through this exercise. All are welcome to join in.

4/14/2006 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

"Huh? This is revisionist history at it's best. Quite the contrary to what Eaton says, there was huge question, at least in the press, as to how well we would do against the Iraqi Army. Remember the much touted "Battle of Baghdad", or "Seige of Baghdad", that would surely tie down US forces for months? About the confident predictions of tens of thousdands of US casualties in the initial invasion? About the chemical weapons that would surely be used against us (again, from the press)? "

You answer your own argument,the press,the sensationalists ans scandalmongers of the MSM

4/14/2006 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I'm feeling verklempt. Readers, please talk among yourselves, I need a moment.

4/14/2006 04:49:00 PM  
Blogger Tom Grey said...

The right goal is, and should also have been, to get the Iraqis to do the job themselves -- with the fewest US soldiers being killed.

Not the "fastest".
Not with the fewest Iraqis killed.
With the fewest Americans killed.

It was noted that thousands of US soldiers died, in accidents, under Clinton. More troops means more accidents, more abuse of Iraqis, less average training, more "nuts"; and far more cost, especially if there is a draft.

The utter failure of the critics to specify what the "right" strategic decisions would have been, is a huge weakness, but all to usual to Dem type Bush-haters.

Plus the war is going pretty well -- and we also don't see alternative "better case" timelines of what could have been expected.

4/14/2006 04:52:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Dereliction of Duty (Again?)

4/14/2006 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Mika, me, too. I'm disposing of most everything I write, it's too verk whatever to post. Tom hit the nail--finally--thanks, Tom--"Compared to what?" is the question, in all of this.

4/14/2006 05:08:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...


CLAIRE SHIPMAN: Six retired generals, 15 (!) stars altogether, aligned against Donald Rumsfeld.

DIANE SAWYER: (music) Revolt of the generals! Six retired generals call for Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to resign!

LOU DOBBS: The revolt by former generals against Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is growing.

BRIT HUME: Should Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld resign?

KEITH OLBERMANN: Five recently retired generals calling on the secretary of defense to resign...

ROBIN ROBERTS: A revolt of the generals, calling for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to go.

MATT LAUER: Two more retired generals have come out saying that Rumsfeld should step down.

KATIE COURIC: Five other retired generals calling for Secretary Rumsfeld to resign.

BILL WEIR: The chorus of retired generals is getting louder. Six (!) are calling for Rumsfeld to resign.

HARRY SMITH: Six (!) retired generals calling for Rumsfeld's resignation.

CANDY CROWLEY: Six retired generals adding their names to the resignation roster.

ANDERSON COOPER: Two more retired generals called for his resignation. Six (!) retired generals now and counting.

HEIDI COLLINS: The ranks of retired generals calling for Donald Rumsfeld to resign are growing.

JIM MIKLASZEWSKI: Six retired generals have publicly called for Rumsfeld's resignation.

BRIAN KILMEADE: A fourth general now says he should resign.

4/14/2006 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...


4/14/2006 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

What is so reprhensible,is that the strategy of the left is predicated on Iraq being a disaster,it is the only way they can vindicate their treachery.If Iraq is a success,then the left will stand naked before the bar of public opinion,will they walk again like they did with their support of Stalin.
Place your bets folks.

4/14/2006 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Cannoneer's link,
At 14/4/06 17:08 Outlaw 13 said...
Not to mention at least two of these clowns are trying to sell books right now.

4/14/2006 05:24:00 PM  

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