Tags: Generals | vs. | Rummy

Generals vs. Rummy

Monday, 17 April 2006 12:00 AM

This group of retired generals systematically attacking Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is doing it all the wrong way.

From the safety of their cushy retirements – while some of their former troops are still in mortal danger in Iraq – these generals

Their ‘campaign' will, in fact, only serve to harden Rummy's resolve – and that of the president, too – and allow the defense secretary to remain in office much longer.

Here is what we know:

2) Many uniformed officers have never liked Rummy's ways – especially before 9/11 and Iraq when Rumsfeld tried a sweeping Pentagon overhaul.

3) Some senior military officers opposed the Iraq war plans – not the war itself, but the troop levels and occupation plans.

4) One such general, Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki, had his career ended because he ‘dared' to disagree with Rummy's too-conservative occupation troop force. The general advised at least 250,000 troops while Rummy settled for around 130,000. As the insurgency has grown, Shinseki has been the rallying point for evidence that Rummy's thinking was wrong.

As usual, generals don't have a clue about politics.

The time and the way to do this was

And the guy to talk to was not Rummy – who these generals already knew was impossible to deal with – but the president himself.

Instead of risking nothing, these men should have marched into the Oval Office and said to their commander in chief, "Sir, we respectfully disagree" with the plans, troop levels strategy, etc. "And if they are enacted, we will march out of here in unison, face the White House press corps and voice our disagreement because we can't send our troops into an unnecessarily precarious situation. If it ruins our careers, so be it."

Now

And it might have worked.

But instead, these generals carried out a policy they knew was wrong because they did not want to risk their own careers. Only now, once they are safely collecting their lifetime retirement benefits, do they come forward and blast Rummy.

This action actually cheapens their lifetime military careers because it looks selfish and cowardly. And one hopes these are not selfish men who ever acted cowardly while in uniform.

We all would much rather admire generals who have the guts to fight for the policy decision they believe in to the point where they'd sacrifice their careers in order to help save some of their troops.

But we have today a class of flag-rank D.C. officers who often brown-nose their way up the political ladder. To them their precious careers are more important than the troops they lead.

No wonder morale is so low inside the Army, the re-enlistment rates are down, and a majority of troops in Iraq want out.

And no wonder the president's approval ratings across the board are down. He looks detached; he sounds like a broken record telling us how great things are in Iraq, blaming the media for reporting only bad news.

We have lost 47 U.S. soldiers in the first two weeks of April. For what? Why did these soldiers have to die? How does it make our country safer? Could those deaths have been prevented?

Our political class has caused this mess.

And these now-reluctant generals carried out knowingly foolish policies without the courage to publicly object.

There is plenty of shame to go around.

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This group of retired generals systematically attacking Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is doing it all the wrong way. From the safety of their cushy retirements while some of their former troops are still in mortal danger in Iraq these generals Their...
Generals,vs.,Rummy
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2006-00-17
Monday, 17 April 2006 12:00 AM
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