Thursday, April 13, 2006

Night of the Generals

A growing number of retired generals are publicly criticizing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for his management style and his conduct of the War in Iraq, accusing him of being "arrogant" and of cavalierly rejecting their recommendations for more troops at the outset of the war. They are also calling for Rumsfeld to resign and their statements are said to reflect the feelings of many in the military. Clearly it is a huge problem when the military rebels so openly against its leadership and I think it is obvious what must be done. All of the military personnel currently serving in Iraq should be asked to resign or be reassigned immediately.

The President has made it clear that he believes Rumsfeld is "doing a very fine job," according to his press secretary. And Rumsfeld's leadership seems all the more remarkable now that we know about the extraordinary amount of second guessing and insubordination he has had to endure. What has happened to the ideal that has been the linchpin of the military for hundreds of years, that soldiers are supposed to follow the orders of their commanders no matter how misguided or ill-conceived? If this dangerous ideology is allowed to spread, then every one of the men who followed George Armstrong Custer to their deaths will have died in vain.

Clearly, it is unfair to blame Rumsfeld for mistakes that were made on the ground while he was back in Washington. I'm sure Rumsfeld had no idea about some of the things that were going on in Iraq so I don't see why he should be scapegoated for mistakes he didn't make. And he certainly has no control over how his orders are carried out. As the trials of the servicemembers involved in the Abu Ghraib scandal showed us, you can't blame the leadership when individual soldiers misinterpret directives they are given and take it upon themselves to act irresponsibly. It's likely that the "thousands of tactical errors" that Condoleeza Rice claimed were made in Iraq, if, indeed, that is an accurate assessment, were simply the result of troops misunderstanding Rumsfeld's orders.

"You have to go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you want," Rumsfeld has said. Well, perhaps it's time that we gave him the Army he wants. And if it is true that the rank and file is unhappy with Rumsfeld's leadership, then clearly it would be better for all concerned if the troops serving in Iraq packed up and went home, giving Rumsfeld the chance to put his own people in place.

Now, I don't want to be accused of not supporting the troops. I think they have done the best job they could under difficult circumstances. It's possible that Rumsfeld and the troops just have a personality conflict, which happens in a lot of workplaces. It's possible that while the troops are talented, it would be better for them to find another war that would be a better fit for their particular skills. The point is that ultimately it isn't anyone's fault and there is no reason to be pointing fingers in blame. If you notice, all the generals attacking Rumsfeld are "retired." Maybe they were "retired" for a reason. One thing, however, is clear. Rumsfeld isn't likely to be following them into retirement anytime soon if he can help it.

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11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Either your being sarcastic or your just a plain ignorant brainwashed soul. I am not sure which....

Anonymous said...

FREEMASONS MAY HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT YOUR ATTEMPTS TO OUTLAW THEM. DO YOU KNOW WHO ALL IN OUR GOVERNMENT ARE FREEMASONS? WE ARE MORE PLACES THAN WOULD APPEAR SIR. WE POSE NO THREAT UNLESS WE ARE DIRECTLY ATTACKED AND MUST DEFEND OURSELVES AND OUR FREEDOMS. WE DO GOOD WORK. YOU MAY WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT US, NOT JUST THE NEGATIVES WRITTEN BY THOSE NOT ACCEPTED FOR MEMBERSHIP IN OUR FRATERNITY,

Ms. Mary Manley said...

Mr. Swift said:

"What has happened to the ideal that has been the linchpin of the military for hundreds of years, that soldiers are supposed to follow the orders of their commanders no matter how misguided or ill-conceived?"

We must preserve that ideal! If the military did not follow their commanders' misguided or ill-conceived orders, then they'd never get anyting done!

zenyenta said...

It's too bad that a Democrat is not in the White House. If a lot of generals were criticizing someone who had been appointed by a Democratic president, they probably wouldn't have to worry about having their motives or patriotism impugned. In fact, Republicans would want to give them all (more) medals.

Robot Buddha said...

I really enjoyed your post: it's sad (and annoying) that these old soldiers won't "just fade away" like they're supposed to.

Rummy's hanging tough though--as he should! All Aboard!!! Next stop: Iran!

The Truffle said...

Dude, judging from your picture, you gotta update your hairdo. That big hair is soooooo 1986.

WomanHonorThyself said...

robot buddha has the right idea Jon..I'm on board!..good post.

Darrell said...

Here is a quote that seems appropriate here.

"I am convinced that the best service a retired general can perform is to turn in his tongue along with his suit, and to mothball his opinions." —General Omar Bradley

Watch UFC 88 Breakthrough: Liddell vs. Evans Online Free Live Video Streaming said...

play the generals game by command and conquer and you will enjoy your daily life. hehe

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