Rumsfeld's war against the military

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  • #1
BobG
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I think it's reached the time where Rumsfeld has to resign. From this article, it's apparent the military has lost all confidence in Rumsfeld.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060414/pl_nm/iraq_usa_dc_11 [Broken]

Rumsfeld is losing his war against retired generals 6-1, so far (and DeLong's full statement still carried the caveat that the military could have used more troops in Iraq).

If this were just retired Army generals, you could think there's more to the story than just Iraq. The Army has disliked Rumsfeld ever since the 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review that emphasized a lighter, faster force designed for the types of battles the military had fought in the last couple decades before Iraq (the high tech Air Force and Navy haven't complained about Rumsfeld). The large, heavy armies capable of invading and holding and securing occupied territories were considered obsolete by Rumsfeld (i.e. - the kind of war we're fighting in Iraq). Rumsfeld really ticked off the Army by making a retired Navy captain the Secretary of the Army (Rumsfeld's Man).

Instead, it's about a 50-50 mix between retired Army and Marine generals - the two services carrying the bulk of the load in Iraq.

You could say the generals' comments would carry more weight if they had had the courage to make those comments while on active duty. Army Gen Shinsecki had the courage to publicly state he thought we needed a lot more troops to keep peace in Iraq and it effectively ended his career - rightfully so. Whatever the fight put up behind closed doors, it's inappropriate for active duty generals to go around their civilian authority via the news media. In a normal situation, generals making disparaging comments so soon after retiring may not technically fall in the area of undermining civilian authority, but it would be seen as poor taste, at least.

The fact that it's turning into a parade of retired generals that barely wait until they're outside the door to attack Rumsfeld is hopefully as close to military coup as the US ever gets (The Revolt Against Rumsfeld). I think it's clear Rumsfeld isn't capable of leading the military anymore.
 
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  • #2
Astronuc
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Gen. Riggs Joins in Calling for Rumsfeld to Quit
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5340711

All Things Considered, April 13, 2006 · Citing an atmosphere of "arrogance" among the top civilian leaders at the Pentagon, another retired general is calling for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Retired Maj. Gen. John Riggs sees fault in the handling of the military's involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I think he should step aside and let someone step in who can be more realistic," Riggs told NPR's Michele Norris on Thursday.
Now if the rest of the country would wake up and take note of the arrogance and belligerence of the Bush administration. :grumpy:

On the other hand - Rumsfeld has his supporters such as Dan Goure of Lexington Institute

Rumsfeld Should Stay as Head of Defense - Goure's Commentary
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5341022
 
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  • #3
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Astronuc said:
Now if the rest of the country would wake up and take note of the arrogance and belligerence of the Bush administration. :grumpy:
That's the sticky point. There are a lot of folks who believe this administration can do no wrong.
 
  • #4
BobG
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Astronuc said:
On the other hand - Rumsfeld has his supporters such as Dan Goure of Lexington Institute

Rumsfeld Should Stay as Head of Defense - Goure's Commentary
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5341022
Goure's support would probably be more effective if he mentioned at least one success instead of commenting solely on Rumsfeld's personality. His support carried about as much substance as General Pace's:

Gen Pace said:
"He does his homework. He works weekends. He works nights," Gen. Peter Pace said. "People can question my judgment or his judgment, but they should never question the dedication, the patriotism and the work ethic of Secretary Rumsfeld."
Sounds similar to one of those (hopefully) fictitious, but humorous comments from Officer Evaluation Reports: "If effort, dedication, and commitment are what matters, this officer should be promoted immediately. If results are the objective, this officer has passed his zenith."

Edit: In fact, Pace's compliment reminds me of another famous compliment: "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."
 
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  • #5
Astronuc
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BobG said:
Sounds similar to one of those (hopefully) fictitious, but humorous comments from Officer Evaluation Reports: "If effort, dedication, and commitment are what matters, this officer should be promoted immediately. If results are the objective, this officer has passed his zenith."
:rofl: Well, same could be said of Nixon - he worked nights and on weekends, and he did his homework. The problem was some the work was illegal.

In the case of Rumsfeld, he perhaps undermined the army and its ability to perform in the field. Rumsfeld said " you got to war with the army you've got." But they had 3 years to prepare the army with appropriate bullet proof vests and armoured vehicles. They started planning before the election in 2000.
 
  • #6
loseyourname
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Astronuc said:
Now if the rest of the country would wake up and take note of the arrogance and belligerence of the Bush administration. :grumpy:
Would that even matter? The only people with the power, so far as I know, to remove Rumsfeld are Bush and Rumsfeld. The guy should have left with Ashcroft after the last election at the very latest. It'll take an absolute disaster to get him out at this point.
 
  • #7
Astronuc
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Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld should do the honorable and right thing - and RESIGN!!!!!

But I don't believe they are honorable people. :rolleyes:
 
  • #8
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There is one odd twist to all of this. Bush frequently reminds us that he will make changes in the way the war is being conducted when he is asked to do so by his Commanders on the ground. Active duty officers can not complain or request anything directly from the president.

Everything goes up through the chain of command and Rumsfeld and others in the Pentagon are in that chain of command. They censor everything before it reaches the president. (not that it would make any difference)

As far as commanders on the ground, they know that any request for a change in current methods of fighting the war could also be career ending. That is why the complaints are comming from retired officers.
 
  • #9
Gokul43201
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BobG said:
Army Gen Shinsecki had the courage to publicly state he thought we needed a lot more troops to keep peace in Iraq and it effectively ended his career - rightfully so. Whatever the fight put up behind closed doors, it's inappropriate for active duty generals to go around their civilian authority via the news media.
I thought Gen Shinsecki made that statement in response to a question during a Senate briefing, or somesuch ... ?
 
  • #10
BobG
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Gokul43201 said:
I thought Gen Shinsecki made that statement in response to a question during a Senate briefing, or somesuch ... ?
You're right, which is a completely different situation than going around the SecDef through the press.
 
  • #11
russ_watters
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I must admit to not having paid much attention to this befre a few days ago. I used to have a pretty high opinion of Rumsfeld. The military used to hate him because he cut programs they liked. And I liked that - generals never want to cut anything, even when things need to be cut. The brass is just as guilty as anyone for hanging on to the cold war mentality (the Navy culture, in particular, really pisses me off).

Opinions about whether or not the war should have been fought are irrelevant: people disagree about such things and it isn't the generals' decision on where to go. But they are welcome to their opinion.

What bothers me, though, are the charges of micromanagement of the military. That's bad leadership - its something I hated Clinton for (Somalia) - and if the generals can't trust Rumsfeld to trust them to do their jobs, then he can't lead them effectively and they can't prosecute the war effectively.

I think Rumsfeld should go as well.

However, at this point in his presidency, I don't think it helps Bush any to get rid of him - even if he wanted to (which he probably doesn't), he won't.
 
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  • #12
Pengwuino
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I think we all need to take into account the number of generals that are currently active in the US military when we think 6 or 7 of them speak for the majority....
 
  • #13
Gokul43201
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Pengwuino said:
I think we all need to take into account the number of generals that are currently active in the US military when we think 6 or 7 of them speak for the majority....
You get up to 1 year in prison for openly criticizing a superior in the chain of command - article 134 of the USMJ.
 
  • #14
Gokul43201
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I recently listened to a half-hour interview with (retd.) Gen. Bernard Trainor, author of Cobra II : The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq. When asked whether he (Trainor) would join the others in calling for Rumsfeld's resignation, he replied that he wouldn't because he doesn't wish to involve himself in the politics of it. If, however, you listen to the things he had to say about Rumsfeld's role, you hear a long list of actions and decisions (taken despite recommendations to the contrary coming from the theater and the military planners) that jeopardized several strategic and tactical advantages held by the US Army.

Micromanagement was only one of a long list of errors on Rumsfeld's part.
 
  • #15
russ_watters
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Gokul43201 said:
Micromanagement was only one of a long list of errors on Rumsfeld's part.
You're right - I kinda umbrella'd that. Things like not listening to the Generals about prewar planning could kinda be considered micromanagement, but yes, they go beyond it.
 
  • #16
BobG
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This article (Defending Rumsfeld From the Generals) provides a little balance to what Rumsfeld did right and what Rumsfeld did wrong.

So, during the run-up to the war, Rumsfeld insisted that the Army didn't need all this heavy artillery—Air Force bombs could do some of the job—and therefore it didn't need all the logistical support that went with the artillery or all the combat troops needed to defend the logistical supply lines. And he was right.

But he didn't realize that by slicing out the support units, he was also slicing out the combat troops, military police, and logistics needed for "stability operations"—the order and occupation after the toppling of Saddam's regime.
Rumsfeld's vision for transforming the military into a single interoperable entity (vs. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines operating independently) is the reason I was a big fan of his at the start of the Bush administration. His vision works for the types of wars you could expect the US to fight. Now a days, the US isn't typically called upon to invade and occupy a foreign country. The military usually responds to a problem, solves it, and gets out (except for a few cases where the US responded, didn't solve the problem, and got out).

Deciding to invade and occupy a foreign country, pre-emptively, was the big mistake. Once the big mistake was made, Rumsfeld failed to adapt to reality; failed to adapt to what the big mistake meant to his idea of the military.
 
  • #17
Gokul43201
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According to Gen. Trainor, while the field Generals were engaged in incorporating plans for the occupation into the overall invasion strategy (based on nearly two decades worth of military modeling aimed specifically at this scenario), Rumsfeld appeared to be adamantly in denial of the need for an occupying/stabilizing force of any significant size.

That (IMO) is just blatant and mindless disregard for the countless man-hours put in by the State Dept, military planners and the DIA on preparing a comprehensive military strategy for an occupation of Iraq.
 
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  • #18
Astronuc
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Gokul43201 said:
According to Gen. Trainor, while the field Generals were engaged in incorporating plans for the occupation into the overall invasion strategy (based on nearly two decades worth of military modeling aimed specifically at this scenario), Rumsfeld appeared to be adamantly in denial of the need for an occupying/stabilizing force of any significant size.

That (IMO) is just blatant and mindless disregard for the countless man-hours put in by the State Dept, military planners and the DIA on preparing a comprehensive military strategy for an occupation of Iraq.
It's more like "blatant and mindless denial of reality." Can we say "incompetent!"
 
  • #19
Gokul43201
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http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=1885285

April 24, 2006 — The six retired generals who have called for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's resignation may soon get a chance to bring their complaints to Capitol Hill.

In response to a request from Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Sen. John Warner, R-Va., said he would ask his committee to vote on whether to hold a hearing with all six generals.

...

ABC News has learned that Rumsfeld will be on Capitol Hill Tuesday morning for a private meeting with senior Republican senators, including Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. It will be a chance for Rumsfeld to shore up his support among those he is counting on to defend his record.
It takes 2 republican votes for the hearings to be held. Now's another good time to ask the question "What will McCain do ?"
 
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  • #20
SOS2008
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BobG said:
The fact that it's turning into a parade of retired generals that barely wait until they're outside the door to attack Rumsfeld is hopefully as close to military coup as the US ever gets (The Revolt Against Rumsfeld). I think it's clear Rumsfeld isn't capable of leading the military anymore.
Well than I vote to keep Rummy. That way if Bush tries to impose Martial Law or suspend elections, there won't be military support. :tongue:

edward said:
Active duty officers can not complain or request anything directly from the president.

Everything goes up through the chain of command and Rumsfeld...

As far as commanders on the ground, they know that any request for a change in current methods of fighting the war could also be career ending. That is why the complaints are comming from retired officers.
The MO -- Sounds similar to so-called congressional oversight of the NSA Spying program.

The fact is Rumsfeld has made several significant tactical errors. From an USA Today article entitiled "Generals defend Rumsfeld but cite 'severe' errors" - http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-04-16-myers-rumsfeld_x.htm

Retired U.S. Army brigadier general James Marks said officers "are charged to speak up" and did. The problem, he said, is that their views were disregarded. "There were requests for forces that were denied," Marks said on CNN. "We requested the 1st Cavalry Division. That was denied — at a very critical point in the war."
Beyond that, I'm not as concerned about Rumsfeld's management style as I am his personality and the poor way he represents our country -- Of course the same thing can be said about the "decider" (Commander-in-Chief). For those who may have forgotten:

Rumsfeld is a co-founder of the Project for the New American Century, which years ago put Iraq at the top of the neo-conservative agenda for future military action in the Middle East.

In the run up to the war, Rumsfeld catapulted to celebrity status as he strutted at televised news conferences and reassured the public that U.S. troops would be most welcome in Iraq.

Some top generals and former diplomats who knew the Middle East a lot better tried unsuccessfully to dissuade him.

Among them was Gen. Eric Shinseki, the Army chief of staff, who told a congressional hearing that it would take "several hundred thousand" U.S. troops to conduct the war in Iraq and carry out the postwar plans.

Rumsfeld was furious with Shinseki's testimony, saying it was "off the mark." A short time later, Rumsfeld made Shinseki a lame duck by announcing his successor.

Shinseki has long since been vindicated by the continuing chaos in Iraq, where civil war seems just around the corner.

Rumsfeld, hardly a diplomat, alienated France and Germany by referring to them as "old Europe" at a time when the U.S. needed all the allies it could get.

He spoke of war glibly, saying "stuff happens," or there are not "nice tidings" in a military conflict.

On a soldier's complaint about the inferior military equipment in Iraq, Rumsfeld said memorably, "You go to war with the army you have."

After the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in April 2003, the defense secretary tried to explain the looting that went on afterward: "Freedom's untidy, and free people are free to commit crimes and make mistakes and do bad things."

On July 22, 2002, Rumsfeld initialed a directive to Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, then-chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, on how to execute missions dealing with terrorists.

One excerpt from the memo read: "The objective should be to capture terrorists for interrogation, or if necessary, to kill them, not simply to arrest them in (a) law enforcement exercise."

The secretary also signed off on some horrendous forms of torture during interrogation at U.S.-run prisons at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Abu Ghraib, near Baghdad, which shamed America, especially when the infamous photographs were made public.

Afterwards, Rumsfeld banned some of the more extreme abuses of detainees -- but made no promise to abide by the Geneva Convention on the humane treatment of prisoners of war.

Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, put Rumsfeld in his place at a recent joint Pentagon news conference. A reporter asked Rumsfeld this question: If an American soldier saw an Iraqi torturing a detainee, should he intervene?

Rumsfeld said it was not the U.S. servicemen's role to interfere, but Pace interjected that it was incumbent on the American to stop the maltreatment when he saw it. The two men later tried to smooth over their obvious differences.

Rumsfeld was at the Pentagon when it was hit by a terrorist-controlled plane and valiantly pitched in to help rescue the victims.

An incident cited in a book titled: "Rumsfeld's War," referred to a meeting of commanders at the Pentagon in 2003 when Rumsfeld pulled aside Air Force General Charles Holland, the special operations chief who Rumsfeld thought was not aggressive enough.

The secretary asked the general: "Have you killed anyone yet?"
http://www.thebostonchannel.com/helenthomas/7615012/detail.html [Broken]

I thought "dignitaries" were supposed to have dignity. What legitimate member of government says "stuff happens" or "people are free to commit crimes"? Bush and Cheney lack good public relations skills too. The entire cabal is an embarrassment, and that's the kindest thing that can be said.

As for the neocons who dreamed up this whole mess, they still say the invasion was the right thing to do. They can't show how Saddam was more of a threat to the U.S. than many other leaders in the world, and they still can't show how the invasion was part of the larger war on terror (other than fueling it). Perhaps by spreading democracy? But they never tell you how that would really be accomplished. These are the idiots who think Rummy has been doing a fine job.

Gokul43201 said:
It takes 2 republican votes for the hearings to be held. Now's another good time to ask the question "What will McCain do ?"
I think it would help his standing with everyone except the Bush base.
 
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  • #21
FredGarvin
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Does anyone else get the feeling that Rumsfeld's handling of things is very similar to the Macnamara and his whiz kids during Vietnam?

It appears to me that all of the initial "planning" Rummy and Bush did was almost entirely centered on the monetary aspect of the invasion and had nothing to do with the cost of completion.
 
  • #22
Astronuc
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FredGarvin said:
Does anyone else get the feeling that Rumsfeld's handling of things is very similar to the Macnamara and his whiz kids during Vietnam?
Yeah - they thought to much of themselves and their ideas - and we wrong for the most part.

FredGarvin said:
It appears to me that all of the initial "planning" Rummy and Bush did was almost entirely centered on the monetary aspect of the invasion and had nothing to do with the cost of completion.
They didn't plan beyond the invasion. These guys were clueless. There has been plenty written on the missed opportunities.

And recently, I heard during a commentary that Shi'ite militias have been infiltrating the Iraqi forces for two years, and the US has basically ignored it. That's a concern a big for the Sunni and Kurd minorities. And the Bush administration doesn't have a clue. :rolleyes:
 
  • #23
BobG
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Even Colin Powell has finally came out and said he had recommended more troops for the Iraq invasion. For the most part Powell has been very restrained in his personal comments about Iraq, even if his aide, Wilkerson, has been very vocal.

Except Powell puts the responsibility on Bush:

“I made the case to General Franks and Secretary Rumsfeld before the president that I was not sure we had enough troops,” Powell said in an interview on Britain’s ITV television. “The case was made, it was listened to, it was considered. ... A judgment was made by those responsible that the troop strength was adequate.”

In an interview with AARP The Magazine released Sunday, Powell did not say what advice he gave Bush about whether to go to war. Known to be less hawkish than Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney and some other presidential advisers, Powell implied he had been more cautious.

“The decisions that were made were not made by me or Mr. Cheney or Rumsfeld. They were made by the president of the United States,” he said.

“And my responsibility was to tell him what I thought. And if others were going in at different times and telling him different things, it was his decision to decide whether he wanted to listen to that person or somebody else.”
Perhaps that's fitting. As Bush said, "I'm the decider, and I decide what is best." Not quite as eloquent as Harry Truman. :rolleyes:
 
  • #24
BobG
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Editorial in the Air Force Times (also in Army Times, Navy Times): Time for Rumsfeld to go

These aren't official military publications, but they're noted for their staff have very close ties with senior military leaders. Occasionally, you may see something in them critical of how Congress has resolved some military benefits, but I've never seen an editorial like this.

(The home page is more personally interesting to me - it includes an article on a weather satellite launched on Saturday - that was a good day, even if I did have to work on a weekend. :biggrin:)
 
  • #25
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Maxwell Taylor was a proponent of an expanded standing army --- Ike fired him for just that reason; large standing army looks mighty aggressive to USSR, creates real problems during Cold War era.

Micromanagement? Couple missed opportunities early in Afghanistan when people kept bucking decisions to fire up the chain of command, but nothing like the McNamoron era.

Not enough troops? Organized opposition ended a month in --- that's more than adequate force applied.

Not enough occupation troops? Or not enough exercise of martial law? And who was in the road of applying martial law? And, who would have been screaming had "Marne" shot looters on sight in Baghdad?

Rummy's done fine: sent adequate forces; stayed out of their way; modified equipment as necessary; hasn't done a replay of Sherman's March to the Sea; and, kept the opposition guessing. Sun Tzu and Clausewitz got no complaints with him.
 

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