Thursday, May 04, 2006

I received this e-mail from Congressman Richard Neal last week and thought it was of interest. The following is an excerpt:

“Citing his mismanagement of the Iraq war, Congressman Richard E. Neal today called for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. After more than three years at war, approximately 2,396 American casualties, and with no honorable exit strategy in sight, Neal said it was time for Rumsfeld to step aside. In October 2002, Neal was 1 of 133 House Members who voted against the resolution authorizing the use of military force against Iraq.

“‘Since the beginning of the war, I have had serious concerns and reservations about Donald Rumsfeld’s leadership,’ said Neal. ‘I never believed that the Secretary of Defense sent enough troops to Iraq, but he dismissed those who questioned his judgment at the time. When Army General Eric Shinseki told Congress in 2003 that that ‘several hundred thousand troops’ would be needed to secure postwar Iraq, he was rebuked by Rumsfeld. That was a defining moment for many Americans who had doubts about the war. It suggested the Secretary of Defense was not listening to the advice of his military commanders. Unfortunately, events in Iraq have proven that General Shinseki was right.

“In the last month, seven retired military commanders have publicly called for Rumsfeld's ouster. Army General Wesley Clark, Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni, Army Major General John Batiste, Marine Corps Lieutenant General Gregory Newbold, Army Major Gen. Paul Eaton, Army General John Riggs and Army Major General Charles Swannack Jr., have all urged the Secretary of Defense to step down…”

The newspaper company for which I work has published a number of stories and photos that tell the stories of local people who are serving their country in Iraq at this time. We have taken our role as community journalists seriously on this subject as none of us want coverage of this conflict to devolve into just a numbers game of causalities and death.

I certainly support the men and women who are doing their duty.

I grew up in an Air Force family. When I was a kid the slogan “Peace is our Profession” was something I either heard or read quite often. I never heard warmongering from anyone. People in the armed forces know exactly the price of conflict and they take it very seriously.

The administration of any military action is the result of a civilian authority (the President, the Secretary of Defense) making decisions based on information brought to them from a number of sources. They are not obligated, though, to follow the advice of the Joint Chiefs of Staff or other military authority.

I can’t remember another time when so many retired generals came forward to criticize an administration on the management of a war.

With the fragile state of the world today, can we afford to continue ignoring them?

You know the drill, by now. These are my words alone.

6 comments:

Marky Mark said...

Six peckerhead generals. Not an enormous number.

Krauthammer nails it here -
http://tinyurl.com/m8kqm

Mike Dobbs said...

Krauthammer makes interesting points, but I think he's a peckerhead.

My dad was an Air Force officer for 27 years and three wars. He never voted until he was retired. He always said that members of the military should not be involved in politics in any way. That's what he was taught.

Do you understand just how counter to the traditions of the military for someone to say what these genrals have said? This is not some lefty protest that those of you who support this war like to dismiss with a wave of your hand.

This is a little more than that.

But then because I don't support this war and because Bush, etc. put American troops in the line of fire without the proper supplies or plans, I'm just a peckerhead, too.

It's the first rule of using the American military: you don't send them someplace without the proper resources they need to win.

I guess I have to ask: why do you support this war?

Mikey "Peckerhead and Proud of it" Dobbs

My use of the word peckerhead is not intended to offend anyone. I was compelled to do it. Sorry!

Marky Mark said...

I think your premise is wrong. I don't think troops were sent without proper planning and supplies. That is, I don't think they were any more than they ever are.

I also don't think the response to Katrina was the big disaster it is now rotely chanted to be. Not hysterically more than other responses in history.

I support a big fat Uncle Sam footprint right smack dab in the middle of the Middle East. I reckon I'm just a dang jingo bell.

question: Why do you guys (you guys who I banter with over these things) habitually act like I called YOU a peckerhead or a liberal if I use such words?

Marky Mark said...

important ps coming...

I'll add it to the Tom T post, because who goes back and looks at these days-old comments anyway?

SRBissette said...

Well, I do.

Nice to see ignoring reality now extends, in matters of war, to ignoring generals who speak out. Krauthammer is an idiot, blithely deflecting one of the most damning responses to a mismanaged war in US history, and anyone who can't see what's going on knows nothing about the military.

This recent turn of events with the growing number of generals (now including Colin Powell) speaking out against how things have been done and are being done is unprecedented and of vital importance; and as for New Orleans and Katrina, the article last month in the NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE by two doctors who have provided medical services in countries like Africa and Haiti stating unequivocably that New Orleans NOW has more impoverished health care facilities than any third world country they've worked in speaks volumes.

No insults from this corner, but really -- wake up, Mark. At some point, reality is reality, sans any political biases or ideological agendas.

SRBissette said...

Krauthammer's rant is typical of the slams I heard in April:

"Some of the complainers were on active duty when these decisions were made. If they felt so strongly about Rumsfeld's disregard of their advice, why didn't they resign at the time? Why did they wait to do so from the safety of retirement, with their pensions secured?"

Active duty military officers CANNOT, by the nature of the military, speak out against their superiors. Period.

And some of those speaking out DID INDEED RETIRE in order to speak out. They've said so, and one in fact waited what he felt was a necessary 'grace period' before speaking out.

Krauthammer and other pundits KNOW this, but count upon the ignorance of the public on military matters to deliberately distort the truth of the matter.

As I said on my own blog, I believe it's the neocon's scathing blasting of the generals that prompted Powell to finally speak out himself last week.

The irresponsibility of the current Commander in Chief (Jesus, "Bring it on"?? What was he THINKING? WAS he thinking? Does he ever?) and Rumsfeld has simply gone too far -- and the military is speaking out. My own father, a lifer in the military and life-long Republican, has been outraged about the mishandling of this war since its first summer.

Krauthammer can dismiss it all he wishes, and rationalize it away. But this is momentous, and not to be ignored. If anything, the ocntinuing denial of culpability only emphasises the utter moral bankruptcy of this President and administration.