The military and the Iraq War

Rumsfeld’s Early Encounters with the Army
Prewar Military Criticism of the Potential War
General Shinseki: Isolated, Ignored, Shunned (by the elite)
The Generals’ Revolt
Miscellaneous Articles

Rumsfeld’s Early Encounters with the Army


Rumsfeld Outlines Defense Overhaul
Reorganization May Alter, Kill Weapons Systems
by Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post, 2001-03-23

[An excerpt; paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld
signaled his intention to pursue
dramatic reforms in the way the nation's armed forces are organized,
outlining major changes in U.S. strategic thinking

in a private meeting with President Bush,
several senior government officials said yesterday.

[Note the use of the word “reforms”
rather than the more neutral, less judgmental word “changes.”]


After receiving the president’s support,
Rumsfeld met yesterday afternoon
with the senior representatives of the armed services
and gave them a similar briefing.
The timing of that meeting was unusual
because the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Army Gen. Henry H. Shelton,
is traveling in South America this week and was not present.

Sources said Rumsfeld and Andrew W. Marshall,
the Pentagon official running the strategic review,
made the following points:
  • The Pacific Ocean
    is the most likely theater of major U.S. military operations,

    as China becomes more powerful and Russia less so.
    This would require a reorientation of
    a defense policy that has been geared since the end of World War II
    to keeping the peace in Europe and deterring the Soviet Union.

  • Operating in the Pacific will require
    an additional emphasis on “long-range power projection,”

    which means
    greater attention to airlift capacity
    and other ways of sending troops and firepower
    across thousands of miles.

  • The proliferation of missiles and other weapons of mass destruction
    could cause U.S. allies to limit access to overseas bases,
    requiring the U.S. military
    to be able to sustain itself while operating at long distances.

  • Missile proliferation in the Third World also means that
    the U.S. military should place greater emphasis
    on acquiring planes, ships and vehicles
    that have “stealth,” or radar-evading, capabilities.

To achieve these goals,
the armed services should cut spending on older weapons systems
that they are likely to stop using within the next 10 years or so.

One Pentagon official said the review
“basically does away” with long-standing doctrine that
the U.S. military must be prepared to fight two major wars simultaneously.

It is not clear, he said,
whether the review will formally abandon the policy or simply ignore it.

One general who is tracking the review said he was struck by
the degree to which the services have been excluded
from the defense secretary’s deliberations.
He said that Rumsfeld was brusque
in presenting his findings to senior service representatives yesterday.
“It is clear that there is a very different management style at the top,”
he said.

A civilian official involved in the review said that
the uniformed military is only beginning to recognize
the extent of reform that Rumsfeld intends to seek at the Pentagon.
“They want this to be collegial, and Rumsfeld is about change,”
this person said about the top brass.

Rumsfeld on High Wire of Defense Reform
Military Brass, Conservative Lawmakers Are Among
Secretive Review's Unexpected Critics

By Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post, 2001-05-20

[Paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.
For the interview with Rumsfeld, click here.]

In his first four months at the Pentagon,
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld
has launched a score of secretive studies and
posed hundreds of tough questions
as he has tried to create a new vision for the American military,
looking at everything from missile defenses and global strategy
to the flaws of a Truman-vintage personnel system.

Yet, in that short span,
he has also rallied an unlikely collection of critics,
ranging from
conservative members of Congress and his predecessor as defense secretary
some of the generals who work for him.
In dozens of interviews,
those people expressed deep concern that Rumsfeld has
acted imperiously,
kept some of the top brass in the dark and
failed to maintain adequate communications with Capitol Hill.

“He’s blown off the Hill,
he’s blown off the senior leaders in the military, and
he’s blown off the media,”
said Thomas Donnelly,
a defense expert at the conservative Project for the New American Century.
[Please, make that “neo-conservative.”]
“Is there a single group he’s reached out to?”

The criticism has focused on Rumsfeld’s score of study groups,
staffed by retired generals and admirals and other experts
who are probing everything from weapons programs to military retirement policies.
In Pentagon hallways,
“the Rumsfeld review,” as the studies are collectively called,
is mocked by some as a martial version of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s health care plan,
which failed spectacularly in 1994 when it was offered up to Congress.

“It’s arrogant theorists behind closed doors,”
said one person offering the Clinton analogy,
retired Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters,
now a prominent writer on military strategy.

The military is already responding in significant and striking ways.
On Thursday,
the Joint Chiefs of Staff held a closed-door meeting in the “Tank,”
their secure conference room at the Pentagon,
where they posed scathing questions about
Rumsfeld’s intentions on strategy and possible cuts to the Army,
defense officials said.
Yesterday, retired Gen. Gordon Sullivan, a former Army chief of staff,
delivered an angry speech
assailing the apparent direction of Rumsfeld’s reforms as “imprudent.”

One point on which both Rumsfeld and his critics agree is
the gravity of his reform effort.
Reshaping the military to meet the new threats of the 21st century --
and to keep the U.S. armed forces by far the strongest in the world --
was a key campaign pledge of President Bush.
To be successful, Rumsfeld must not only
come up with specific answers but also
find enough support in Congress and across the military
to fund them and carry them out.
The job will be made all the more difficult
because the reforms could anger members of Congress by
closing bases,
terminating major weapons programs and
shifting some spending from tanks, ships and aircraft
into newer areas such as space and missile defenses.

In an extensive interview in his Pentagon office last week,
Rumsfeld argued that his review has been necessary, rational and inclusive,
involving more than 170 meetings with 44 generals and admirals.
“Everyone who wants to be briefed I think has been briefed,” he said.
“Everyone cannot be involved in everything.”

Far from reaching concrete conclusions behind closed doors, he said,
he simply has been posing questions about
how to change the military to deal with a world where
even Third World nations can buy long-range missiles,
terrorists have attacked sites inside the United States, and
the American economy is increasingly reliant on vulnerable satellites.
“I’ve got a lot of thoughts, but I don’t have a lot of answers,” he said.

Overall, Rumsfeld swung in the interview between
being conciliatory toward his critics and
being dismissive of them.
“Is change hard for people? Yeah,” he said sympathetically.
“Is the anticipation of change even harder? Yeah.”

But a moment later he added:
“The people it shakes up may very well be people who don’t have enough to do.
They’re too busy getting shook up.
They should get out there and get to work.”

Brusque Style
Rumsfeld, a bright, impatient man who is not a schmoozer by nature,
spent years as an executive in the pharmaceutical industry
and honed a top-down management style.
That approach may be the only way
to overhaul America’s huge and conservative military establishment.
But his brusque manner has exacerbated anxiety about change in the Pentagon
and could, in the end, undercut his effort.

Generals who have met with him report that
communications tend to be one way.
“He takes a lot in, but he doesn’t give anything back,” one said.
“You go and you brief him, and it’s just blank.”

Neither that general nor any other Pentagon official critical of Rumsfeld
would agree to be quoted by name.
[Gee, isn’t that surprising?
I’m sure Rumsfeld was tickled pink
at being criticized by his subordinates
on the front page of the Washington Post.
If he’d only known who, he would have taken him out for a great dinner.]

Indeed, one said Rumsfeld’s aides would “have my tongue”
were it known that he had talked to a reporter.

Many of those interviewed said
they are worried that
the future of the institution to which they have devoted their adult lives
is being decided without them.

One senior general unfavorably compared
Rumsfeld’s stewardship of the Pentagon with
Colin L. Powell’s performance as secretary of state.
“Mr. Powell is very inclusive, and Mr. Rumsfeld is the opposite,”
said the general, who knows both men.
“We’ve been kept out of the loop.”

Added another senior officer:
“The fact is, he is disenfranchising people.”

Some noted that the Bush administration came into office
vowing to restore the military’s trust in its civilian overseers.
“Everyone in the military voted for these guys,
and now they feel like they aren’t being trusted,”
a Pentagon official said.

The Army,
which has the reputation of being the most doggedly obedient of all the services,
appears to be closest to going into opposition against the new regime.
Army generals are especially alarmed by
rumors that they could lose one or two of their 10 active divisions
under the new Pacific-oriented strategy
that Rumsfeld appears to be moving toward but has not yet unveiled.

At the Joint Chiefs’ “Tank” session on Thursday, one defense official said,
the Army led the charge
against the conclusions of a Rumsfeld study group on conventional weapons
that suggested big cuts in Army troops.
The service chiefs told their chairman, Gen. Henry H. Shelton,
that they could not make sense of that recommendation
without knowing precisely what strategy Rumsfeld wants to pursue.
“It wasn’t just the Army, but [Army officers] took the lead” in the criticism,
the official added.

Retired generals often say in public
what the active-duty leadership is thinking but can’t utter.

Sullivan, the former Army chief, appeared to play that role yesterday
in a speech to a conference of Army reservists.
He said he is worried that Rumsfeld would
“propose a world in which we will be able to hide behind our missile defense,”
which he went on to liken to the expensive but useless Maginot Line
that France erected against Germany after World War I.
[In fact, that is an outstanding analogy:
9/11 to Missile Defense
Blitzkrieg to Maginot Line.]

In another recent talk,
Sullivan referred to Rumsfeld’s new emphasis on space as
a “rathole” for defense spending.
He also sent an e-mail criticizing Rumsfeld,
and that message has circulated widely inside the Army.

Wary Generals
The military now appears so wary of Rumsfeld that
officers perceive slights where none may have been intended.
The generals are especially peeved by what they believe is
a pattern of moves by Rumsfeld to reallocate power from the military to himself.

Earlier this month, for example, Rumsfeld dumped his military assistant,
a one-star admiral who had been picked for the job just four months earlier,
and replaced him with a three-star admiral.
“It turned out I made a mistake, just to be blunt about it,
thinking that a one-star could,
simply because he was in the secretary’s office,
get the place to move at the same pace that a three-star could or a two-star,”
Rumsfeld explained.
In other words, one flag officer commented,
Rumsfeld felt he needed someone who could crack the whip over the top brass.

Rumsfeld also caused a stir in the services
by bringing in retired Vice Adm. Staser Holcomb,
who was his military assistant
during his first term as secretary of defense, under President Gerald R. Ford,
to look over the current crop of generals and admirals.
Holcomb’s queries may indicate that
Rumsfeld wants to take over the selection of top generals --
one of the last prerogatives left to the service chiefs.

The chiefs generally have little say about operational matters,
which are the province of the regional commanders, or “CinCs,”
and they don’t have much sway over weapons acquisition,
which is a civilian responsibility.
But they do get to pick who joins the club of top generals.

Rumsfeld said Holcomb is working on military personnel matters,
especially in helping him look at
who should become the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
when Shelton steps down later this year.
Asked whether he is stepping on the toes of the service chiefs
by getting involved in the selection of two- and three-star generals,
Rumsfeld grinned and laughed, but said nothing.

Rumsfeld has also been planning
to start a new “Crisis Coordination Center” to be overseen by his office,
defense officials said.
They report that Rumsfeld believes that
communications and responsibilities during crises have been handled hazily.
Creating such a center -- a move that has not previously been reported --
almost certainly would diminish the power of the staff of the Joint Chiefs,
which oversees operations.

Rumsfeld’s views on crisis communications may have been crystallized by
an undisclosed foul-up that occurred during the Feb. 16 air strikes against Iraq,
the Bush administration’s first use of military force.
At the last minute,
military commanders moved up the timing of the strikes by six hours.

But word somehow didn’t get to Bush, said several defense officials.
The president had expected the bombs to begin dropping
as he headed home from a summit meeting in Mexico.
Instead, the strikes started just as he arrived for that meeting,
overshadowing his first foreign trip as president and infuriating him,
officials said.

Rumsfeld declined to comment on that incident.
But he said that, generally speaking,
miscommunications are “inevitable when people are new on the job.”

Tensions With Congress
If anything,
Rumsfeld’s relations with Capitol Hill have been even more tumultuous.
The military, after all, ultimately will follow orders.
But Congress expects to have a big say in the orders.

“There really could be a huge collision
between Rumsfeld, the services and Congress,”
predicted Harlan Ullman,
a defense analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“There’s an iceberg out there, and there’s a Titanic.”

Ullman said he thinks Rumsfeld has done a fairly good job,
considering how understaffed the top of the Pentagon has been,
with only a few senior officials in place.
[A function of the change of administration.]

But he also said that the Bush White House
has badly miscalculated on the politics of defense.
“I don’t think the administration understands
how much political capital it will take to change the U.S. military,”
he said.
He and others warn that
defense isn’t a major issue on the Hill
[Those were the days.],
and that no clear constituency exists for military reform.
At the same time, there is a clear bloc against change,
consisting of members of Congress who worry that
bases and weapons plants in their districts could be closed.
[Support the pork barrel, yes,
but unfortunately,
supporting the generals was another matter.
Exhibit A:
When General Shinseki and Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz
disagreed publicly in late February 2003,
who in Congress spoke in support of General Shinseki?
None that I am aware of.]

Rumsfeld said he has devoted enormous effort to congressional relations,
holding about 70 meetings with 115 lawmakers over the past four months.
“I am on the Hill frequently,” he said.
“I frequently have breakfasts and lunches down here that include members.”

But the view from the Hill appears to be different.
“There are lots of members concerned about the lack of communications,”
a Senate staffer said last week.

One warning sign has been
a spate of “holds” placed on Rumsfeld’s nominees by angry senators.
These holds, which prevent a confirmation vote from taking place,
aren’t made public.
But it is striking that
Republican senators appear to have held up
some of the nominees of a Republican administration.
The Senate majority leader, Trent Lott (R-Miss.),
controlled two of the holds --
on the nominees to be the Pentagon’s general counsel
and assistant secretary for public affairs --
that were lifted late Thursday.

Rumsfeld’s predecessor as defense secretary, William S. Cohen,
took the unusual step last week
of publicly criticizing Rumsfeld’s handling of Congress.
“However brilliant the strategy may be,
you cannot formulate a strategy
and mandate that Congress implement it,”

Cohen, a former Republican senator, told a group of reporters.

[As it turned out, Cohen was wrong.
You can shove policy down Congress’s throat,
if you have a sufficient amount of the media behind you.]

“The less they’re involved in the beginning,” Cohen warned,
“the more they’ll be involved in the end,
and not necessarily in a positive way.”

Rumsfeld appears to have strong backing not only from Bush
but also from Vice President Cheney, his former protégé
when Rumsfeld was a White House counselor and then chief of staff
in the Ford administration.
Earlier this month, a senior White House official said:
“The vice president indicated to the secretary
that he would be as helpful as he could.
As a former defense secretary, he has a special interest in the Pentagon.”

Where the White House stands on Rumsfeld’s efforts
should become clearer this Friday,
when Bush is scheduled to speak about U.S. military strategy
in a commencement address at Annapolis.

In the following weeks, Rumsfeld will engage Congress in hearings,
then will begin making critical decisions on high-profile weapons systems
and on whether to cut the size of the military to pay for new weapons.
Every one of those decisions could antagonize members of Congress.

Rumsfeld said he looks forward to working with lawmakers
to find the right answers.
“Hell, I know what I can do and I can’t do,” he said.
“I can do some things,
but I can’t simply stick a computer chip in my head
and come out with a perfect answer
to big, tough important questions like that for the country.
Even if you could, change imposed is change opposed.”

Review Fractures Pentagon
Officials Predict Major Military Changes Far Off
By Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post, 2001-07-14

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

As the review progressed, Rumsfeld decided to
discard the “two major war” yardstick
that for almost a decade has been used to determine
the size and needed capabilities of the military.
Using that requirement,
the Pentagon has maintained an active-duty military of 1.4 million people
equipped with the weaponry to simultaneously fight two medium-sized wars.


[A]nother defense official said
the military leadership has a very different perspective
from Rumsfeld and his allies.
The civilians around Rumsfeld, he said,
“are saying,
‘Take on a ton of risk
so we can get where we want to be 20 years from now.’ ”

[Have those civilians ever heard the expression
“A pig in a poke”?]

But, he continued,
“Everybody on the uniformed side is saying,
‘No, you’ve got enough risk right now.’ ”
To deal with current threats, he said,
the Joint Chiefs of Staff essentially have told Rumsfeld that
they don’t believe any major changes should be made
in the size and shape of the military.

Meetings of top civilian and military officials at the Pentagon
have grown tense in recent days, this person added.
He said, for example, that at a session earlier this week,
Steven Cambone,
the Rumsfeld aide coordinating staff meetings on how to change the military,
angrily asked the generals present,
“Can’t you come up with anything new?”


One general involved in the review said:
“We are beyond being upset. We are into giggle factor.”
He added that of several post-Cold War defense reviews,
“This is by far the most disorganized effort I’ve ever seen.”

“The problem is that there is an element of trust that is missing,”
said another general working on the review.
He attributed that largely to the brusque manner Rumsfeld used
when he first came to the Pentagon six months ago.
“I think that goes back to Rumsfeld coming in
and acting like he was conducting a hostile takeover.
He didn’t ask for input up front.”

The only way out, this general added, would be
for Rumsfeld to simply terminate discussions and unilaterally impose changes.
But he and several other officials predicted that Rumsfeld won’t do that,
in part because
the administration already has a fight on its hands with Congress
over its ambitious missile defense plans,
and doesn’t need to wage a two-front political war.

For Military, 'Change Is Hard'
Rumsfeld Indicates His Review Is Running Into Resistance
By Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post, 2001-07-19

Military Cuts Are Implied in New Strategy
Rumsfeld, Joint Chiefs Alter Agreement on U.S. Forces
By Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post, 2001-07-25

[The conclusion; emphasis is added.]

The revisions are causing planners to revisit some basic assumptions
about the size and shape of U.S. deployments overseas.

For example, one official said,
planners are looking at the U.S. military presence around Iraq.
“What is our long-term force construct for the area?” he said.
“Do they really need the Army in Kuwait all the time?
And do you really need that much of a naval presence in the Mediterranean,
because you have a good shore-based presence?”

Amid all the disagreement inside the Pentagon,
one point on which both sides concur is that
the military isn’t just mindlessly resisting change.
Rather, officials said,
the argument grows out of the military’s focus on near-term threats.
Rumsfeld and his aides believe
there is little conventional threat in the short term.

When military planners survey today’s world,
they see many possible hot spots.
They worry that the United States could wind up intervening
if the North Korean regime falls apart violently,
if China tries to bully Taiwan militarily, or
if the nuclear faceoff between India and Pakistan worsens.
They also fear that
the Mideast could plunge again into war,
and that
Iraq’s Saddam Hussein could acquire weapons of mass destruction.

Rumsfeld’s response has been that
no one is likely to challenge the U.S. military directly.
Rather, he has said, he worries about “asymmetrical” threats:
small nations acquiring long-range missiles
or attempting to cripple U.S. computer networks, or
terrorist groups attacking targets in the United States. [Hmm ...]

“We’re unlikely to be attacked on the high seas
because of the power of our Navy,
and if . . . the past is prologue . . .
we’re unlikely to be surpassed in the air,”
Rumsfeld told reporters earlier this month.
“Clearly it is the asymmetric threats that are a risk,
they include terrorism,
they include ballistic missile,
they include cyberattacks.”


Bush Backs Overhaul of Military's Top Ranks
by Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post, 2002-04-11

[An excerpt,
including the part dealing with Generals Shinseki and Keane;
paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

President Bush has approved widespread changes at the top of the U.S. military
that will put in place
a new generation of relatively nonconformist officers
who are likely to be more supportive
of the administration’s goal of radically changing the armed forces,
Pentagon officials said last night.

The changes will, among other things, for the first time
put a Marine in charge of U.S. military operations in Europe and Africa,
officials said.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has worked for months
on filling the top command slots,
which involve the chiefs of U.S. forces
in every region of the world except the Pacific,
as well as the heads of two of the four armed services.
He has said he expects the moves
to be among his most significant acts at the Pentagon.

For two of the most important positions --
the top military job in Europe and the new head of the Army --
Rumsfeld has selected people who stand out among the current top brass
as unconventional thinkers
who are likely to be supportive of his drive to “transform” the military
to better address terrorism and other new challenges.

The changes come as part of the normal rotation of the top slots in the military.
But Rumsfeld’s decision to package them together
is a marked departure from
the usual practice of filling the jobs in a piecemeal fashion
and underscores his goal of bringing radical change to the military
when it is waging a global war on terrorism.

Rumsfeld has not disclosed to aides
how and when he plans to officially announce the nominations.
But by
reaching his decisions,
discussing them broadly within the administration and
securing the president’s approval,
Rumsfeld has effectively made lame ducks of current holders of the positions.


In another unusual move,
Rumsfeld has tapped Army Gen. John Keane, the No. 2 officer in the Army,
to succeed the current chief of that service, Gen. Eric Shinseki,
whose term runs out next year. [June 2003]
Selecting a successor for the current chief so far in advance
is highly unusual.

Pentagon civil war
By Robert D. Novak
Townhall.com, 2002-05-27

[This article has nothing to do with Iraq,
but it gives an earlier example of
CENTCOM CinC Franks siding with SecDef Rumsfeld
against Chief of Staff Shinseki (and probably most of the uniformed Army),
so here it is.
Paragraph numbers (from this) and emphasis are added.]

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has delivered a death sentence
for the Crusader mobile artillery system,
but a bitter debate rages backstage in the Pentagon over
the future role of tube artillery to protect the American infantryman.
This battle surfaced over the past two weeks
when the Army’s chief of staff disagreed fundamentally -- in public --
with the Army’s Afghanistan theater commander.
“This is monumental,” one Pentagon source told me.
“It has shaken the Army to its institutional roots.”

The immediate question involves
tactics by Operation Anaconda in March against al Qaeda and Taliban fighters.
Gen. Tommy Franks, commander in chief of the Afghan war, on May 21,
expressed doubt that Crusader would have been of use in Anaconda.
On May 16, Gen. Eric Shinseki, the Army’s chief of staff, testified that
the proposed new system could have prevented American casualties.
He was denying the claim by critics that Crusader is a relic of the Cold War.

These contradictory statements are not easily reconciled.
Largely overlooked, they augment passionate resentments within the Pentagon.
One official went so far to suggest that
Shinseki might become the 21st century version of Gen. Billy Mitchell,
convicted by court martial after contradicting the Army brass
by insisting on the value of air power.
Shinseki was given an open invitation to leave last month
when, without precedent,
Rumsfeld announced the new chief of staff
14 months in advance of Shinseki’s departure.
[See 2002-04-11-WP-Shinseki-Keane.]

The debate is so emotional because of
seven U.S. soldiers killed in Operation Anaconda.
Troops under intense al Qaeda mortar attack
were unprotected by suppressive fire,
with no artillery assigned and all aircraft grounded.

The government line has been laid down by
Michael Wynne, principal deputy under secretary for acquisition:
The Crusader would not have helped in Afghanistan.

[Some relevant discussion of Anaconda is in an excerpt from
“Crack in the Foundation” by Lt. Col. H.R. McMaster.]

[For a news article on the Army/OSD disagreement,
see 2002-06-03-WP-Loeb-Crusader.]

Gen. John Keane, vice chief of staff (and Shinseki’s designated successor),
disagreed in March before Rumsfeld scrapped the Crusader.
It would have helped in Anaconda,
Keane told the Senate Armed Services Committee March 14, adding:

“We could use Crusader as support
for troops attacking in the mountains
and get
responsive artillery fire at considerable range and distance
that we can’t do with any of our other systems.”

By May 16, the Crusader had been stripped from the budget by Rumsfeld,
who made it clear
he would tolerate no lobbying for the doomed system
from within his building.

At a Senate Armed Services hearing that day,
Shinseki was asked whether he agreed with Keane.
“I do,” he said.
“In the first two days of Operation Anaconda,”
Shinseki testified,

“28 of our 46 casualties were due to indirect fire from mortars.
And it would have been in our interest
to put together the capabilities to have
turned those guns off, turn those mortars off,
found them and be able to
lift the burden of fire falling on our troops.”

So, the chief of staff continued,
“we could have used and we would have used” cannon artillery at Anaconda.
“Is that what Crusader is intended to be able to do?”
asked Chairman Carl Levin.
Listing tasks for artillery in that battle, Shinseki replied:
“Crusader would have been capable of doing all these.”

That was contradicted by Gen. Franks at a press conference last week
when asked whether the Crusader would have been used in Anaconda.
“Candidly,” he replied, “I don’t think it would have,”
and then indicated it was just too heavy.
[Compare General Keane’s assertion.]

Franks, an old field artillery officer,
stunned brother officers when he said
the fateful decision not to use tube artillery in Anaconda
“was in fact a decision that was made at the tactical level ...
And not only do I support the decision that was made,
I actually agree with it.”
Inside the Pentagon, however, lurks deep suspicion
that such a momentous decision could have been made at a low level.

Congress probably cannot force President Bush to build the Crusader,
but the battle is now over
whether Army infantrymen will enter combat
without traditional artillery cover.
Rumsfeld was infuriated by the Army’s talking points for Capitol Hill
that contended “a decision to kill Crusader puts soldiers at risk”
and forced out a mid-level official that he himself had appointed.
Even so, concerns that sound like the talking points
are now whispered in the Pentagon’s corridors.

[This is a remarkable difference of opinion among Army four-stars.
The issue seems to be whether the Crusader could move
to within its range (25 miles) of where suppressive fire was needed.
It can be airlifted by C-17s, which have good STOL capabilities,
and then move itself to its firing position.
Was the Afghan road system (bridges) incapable of supporting its weight?
Could be; I don't know the answer.
In any case, the dispute concerns future capabilities;
even if the Crusader had been approved,
the initial operational capability would have been about 2008.]

Gen. Franks Sides With Rumsfeld on Usefulness of Crusader Weapon
by Vernon Loeb
Washington Post, 2002-06-03

[This article shows how Gen. Franks chose to side with Rumsfeld
against other Army four-star generals,
and how the WP chose an outside expert who would
agree with the Rumsfeld/Franks alliance
against the rest of the senior Army.
Paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks,
commander of the war on terrorism in Afghanistan,
recently weighed in on the Crusader debate,
saying he doubted the Army’s mobile howitzer system
would have even been used during Operation Anaconda,
had it existed at the time of the battle in March.

Briefing reporters
shortly after Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld announced last month that
he was canceling the 40-ton artillery piece
to concentrate on lighter and more futuristic artillery technology,
Franks stood firmly in Rumsfeld’s corner.

“Would it have been employed in Anaconda if we had it?
Candidly, I doubt it,”
Franks said,
citing similar concerns about
the difficulty in moving such a heavy system in rugged, mountainous terrain.
[The issue is the road system, especially the bridges.
Could they have supported it?
If not, one of the main functions of Army combat engineers is to reinforce
or, if necessary, build bridges
that will support Army equipment.
Is Franks saying that Army engineers could not have done such,
in a timely fashion, if such were necessary?
If so, he is out of step with the other senior generals, as shown below,
in particular the quite specific assertion of General Keane.]

What made Franks’s remarks striking was
how completely at odds they were
with those made on Capitol Hill by senior Army leaders
over the past three months.

On March 6, Army Secretary Thomas E. White
told the Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee that
Crusader would have protected troops from the 10th Mountain Division
who were wounded by enemy mortar fire at the start of the battle.

On March 14, Gen. John M. Keane, the Army’s vice chief of staff,
told the Senate Armed Services Committee’s airland subcommittee that

Crusader could have been
flown into Bagram air base aboard a C-17 transport jet
and driven to
Gardez within easy range of the battlefield.

And on May 16, Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, the Army’s chief of staff,
told the Senate Armed Services Committee that
the Crusader could have provided troops with “suppressive fires”
in two to three minutes,
as opposed to the 25 minutes it took
for aircraft to arrive and provide air support.

[That is why infantrymen love their artillery:
Artillery fire support is available on short notice, day or night,
irrespective of the weather or air force priorities.
To the infantry, wonderful as the air force can be,
in many situations there is no substitute for artillery,
or, as they affectionately call them, the “cannon-cockers.”.]

“In the first two days of Operation Anaconda,
28 of our 36 casualties were due to indirect fire from mortars,”
Shinseki said.
“And it would have been in our interest
to put together the capabilities to have
turned those guns off,
turn those mortars off,
found them
and be able to lift the burden of fires falling on our troops.”

Michael Vickers, a former Army Special Forces officer and CIA operative
who now studies military transformation
at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments,
said he found the split between Franks and the Army brass surprising
only because Franks is an old artilleryman
whose loyalties might have made him a big Crusader fan.

[The Post might have noted, but didn’t,
that Vickers is a big fan of the idea of military “transformation.”
(See the SourceWatch entry.)
This is typical of how the Post stacks the deck in its articles,
finding and quoting outside “experts”
who will support the position the Post favors.]

But as one of four regional combatant commanders, Vickers said,
Franks reports directly to Rumsfeld and President Bush,
not White, Shinseki and Keane.

And while
such a public schism between Army four-star generals is somewhat unusual,
Vickers said,
it is far more preferable than having them all in lockstep,
allowing civilian leaders like Rumsfeld
the ability to choose between competing points of view.

“I’m with Franks on this,” Vickers said,
“but the merits of the case aside, I think this is very healthy.”

Prewar Military Criticism of the Potential War


Comments of Gen. Anthony Zinni (ret.)
during a speech before the Florida Economic Club, Aug. 23, 2002

by General Anthony Zinni, USMC (ret.)

[Most of the speech; emphasis is added.]

Attacking Iraq now will cause a lot of problems.
I think the debate right now that’s going on is very healthy.
If you ask me my opinion,
Gen. Scowcroft, Gen. Powell, Gen. Schwarzkopf, Gen. Zinni,
maybe all see this the same way.

It might be interesting to wonder why all the generals see it the same way,
and all those that never fired a shot in anger
and really hell-bent to go to war
see it a different way.
That’s usually the way it is in history. (Crowd laughter.)

But let me tell you what the problem is now as I see it.
You need to weigh this: what are your priorities in the region?
That’s the first issue in my mind.

The Middle East peace process, in my mind, has to be a higher priority.
Winning the war on terrorism has to be a higher priority.
More directly, the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Central Asia
need to be resolved,
making sure Al Qaeda can’t rise again from the ashes that are destroyed.
Taliban cannot come back.
That the warlords can’t regain power over Kabul and Karzai,
and destroy everything that has happened so far.

Our relationships in the region are in major disrepair,
not to the point where we can’t fix them,
we need to quit making enemies
we don’t need to make enemies out of.

And we need to fix those relationships.
There’s a deep chasm growing between that part of the world
and our part of the world.
And it’s strange, about a month after 9/11,
they were sympathetic and compassionate toward us.
How did it happen over the last year?
And we need to look at that -- that is a higher priority.

The country that started this, Iran, is about to turn around, 180 degrees.
We ought to be focused on that.
The father of extremism, the home of the ayatollah --
the young people are ready to throw out the mullahs and turn around,
become a secular society and throw off these ideas of extremism.
[Not as of 2008.]
That is more important and critical.
They’re the ones that funded Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations.
That ought to be a focus.
And I can give you many, many more before you get down to Saddam and Iraq.

Our friends in the region who, a couple years ago,
every time we wanted to throw a bomb at Saddam, kept saying,
“Why don’t you get serious?
We’ll support you if you take him out.
But if you’re only going to piss him off and let him rise from the ashes,
we don’t want to do it.”

Now that we want to do it, it’s the wrong time.
He’ll drag Israel into the war.
The mood on the street is very hostile at this moment.
It is the wrong time.
You could create a backlash to regimes that are friendly to us.
You could create a sense of anti-Arab, anti-Islamic feelings from the West
(among people who) misinterpret the attack.

We could end up with collateral damage.


You could inherit the country of Iraq,
if you’re willing to do it --
if our economy is so great that
you’re willing to put billions of dollars into reforming Iraq.
If you want to put soldiers
that are already stretched so thin all around the world
and add them into a security force there forever,
like we see in places like the Sinai.
If you want to fight with other countries in the region
to try to keep Iraq together as Kurds and Shiites try and split off,
you’re going to have to make a good case for that.

And that’s what I think has to be done, that’s my honest opinion.

Speech at the Middle East Institute, Washington, DC
by General Anthony Zinni, USMC (ret.)
Center for Defense Information, 2002-10-31

"I'm not sure which planet they live on"
by Eric Boehlert
Salon.com, 2002-10-17

Hawks in the Bush administration
may be making deadly miscalculations on Iraq,
says Gen. Anthony Zinni, Bush's Middle East envoy.

[An excerpt: two questions to General Zinni, with his answers.
Emphasis is added.]

I want your opinion of what the Iraqi people want.
Are they going to greet our troops as liberators?

General Zinni:
I think that, again depending on how this goes,
if it’s short with minimal destruction,
there will be the initial euphoria of change.
It’s always what comes next that is tough.
I went in with the first troops that went into Somalia.
We were greeted as heroes on the street.
People loved to see us;
when the food was handed out, the water was given, the medicines were applied,
we were heroes.
After we had been there about a month,
I had someone come see me who said
there was a group of prominent Somalis that wanted to talk to me.
I met with them.
The first question out of their mouths was that we’d been there a month,
hadn’t started a jobs program, and when were we going to fix the economy?
Well, I didn’t know it was my Marine unit’s responsibility to do that.

Expectations grow rapidly.
The initial euphoria can wear off.
People have the idea that Jeffersonian democracy, entrepreneurial economics
and all these great things are going to come.
If they are not delivered immediately, do not seem to be on the rise,
and worse yet, if the situation begins to deteriorate --
if there is tribal revenge, factional splitting,
still violent elements in the country
making statements that make it more difficult,
institutions that are difficult to reestablish, infrastructure damage,
I think that initial euphoria could wane away.
It’s not whether you’re greeted in the streets as a hero;
it’s whether you’re still greeted as a hero when you come back a year from now.

Do you believe that Iraq is the endgame
or is this only the precursor to engagement in Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia
as some journalists have projected?
If there is this widening role for the United States in the region,
do we have the necessary military forces and other resources
to confront this kind of mega-involvement?

General Zinni:
I have a couple of heroes.
One is George C. Marshall,
a great general that led us through a great war to victory.
Look what that general did after the war.
He didn’t look to fight more wars;
he didn’t look to leave the situation in the condition in a place
where those wars would re-breed themselves.

Look at Gen. MacArthur in Japan. He was a man who suffered through Bataan and Corregidor and lost his troops to a horrific enemy. He reached out to the Japanese people and used other means to re-create stability and prosperity. Look at Gens. Grant and Lee, where Grant wanted the mildest of surrenders where dignity was maintained and where friendship and connection could happen, where Robert E. Lee did not want to go into the hills and fight guerrilla wars. He knew it was a time to heal and to do it at the best level.

Like those generals who were far greater than I am,
I don’t think that violence and war is the solution.
There are times when you reluctantly, as a last resort, have to go to war.
I will tell you that in my time,
I never saw anything come out of fighting that was worth the fight.
I’m sure my brother who served in Korea,
my cousins who served in the Pacific and in Europe in World War II, and
my father who fought for this country in World War I
with the other 12 percent of Italian immigrants who served in the infantry
may all have different views of their wars.

My wars that I saw were handled poorly.
I carry around with me a quote from Robert McNamara’s book “In Retrospect.”
Unfortunately, this was written 30 years after a war
that put 58,000 names on that wall,
caused 350,000 of us to suffer wounds that crushed many lives.
He said:
“One reason the Kennedy and Johnson administrations
failed to take an orderly, rational approach
to the basic question underlying Vietnam
was the staggering variety and complexity of other issues we faced.
Simply put, we faced a blizzard of problems.
There were only 24 hours in a day,
and we often did not have time to think straight.”

Well, Mr. McNamara,
my 24 hours a day and my troops’ 24 hours a day
were in a sweaty hot jungle bleeding for these mistakes.
When he resigned in 1968,
he didn’t want to do it in a way where he objected openly to the war.
There were many more years of that war left,
and many more casualties occurred.
I wish he had stood up for that principle.

I would just say to you that
if we look at this as a beginning of a chain of events,
meaning that we intend to solve this through violent action,
we’re on the wrong course.
First of all, I don’t see that that’s necessary.
Second of all, I think that war and violence are a very last resort,
and we have to be careful how we apply it,
especially now in our position in the world.

General Shinseki:
Isolated, Ignored, Shunned (by the elite)


New York Times, 2003-02-26

[An excerpt; paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

Turkey signaled today that it was prepared
to allow more than 60,000 American troops to use its bases to attack Iraq.
At the same time,
the United States Army’s top general said
the military force for postwar Iraq
could total several hundred thousand American soldiers
to provide security and relief aid.


The assessment of a postwar force in Iraq from Gen. Eric K. Shinseki,
the Army chief of staff,
was far larger than estimates by other American officials
and surprised lawmakers and senior Defense Department aides.
Pentagon officials have suggested a postwar presence of about
100,000 Americans joined by tens of thousands of allied soldiers.


Pentagon officials have said that if Mr. Bush orders an attack,
as many as 250,000 troops would be needed --
about half the American force that fought the Persian Gulf war in 1991.
But the initial “rolling start” of the assault
would begin with a smaller force,
with the rest held in reserve
to deal with surprises, setbacks and postwar reconstruction.

The Bush administration has been wary of estimating
how long American troops might have to stay in Iraq and
how large a force would be needed.
Marc Grossman, the under secretary of state for political affairs,
told senators this month that even under good circumstances,
it would probably take two years or more
for the military to transfer control of many ministries to Iraqi officials.

But at a town hall meeting in suburban Detroit on Sunday,
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz said American troops would
“stay as long as necessary, and leave as soon as possible.”

So it was somewhat surprising that General Shinseki,
perhaps the most cautious member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
in his public pronouncements,
offered his estimate of the ground force needed after any conflict.

At an Armed Services Committee hearing today, the general said,

“We’re talking about post-hostilities control over
a piece of geography that’s fairly significant,
the kinds of ethnic tensions that could lead to other problems.”

Responding to a question from Senator Carl Levin of Michigan,
the committee’s senior Democrat,
General Shinseki made clear that he was providing
only his personal assessment of the postwar force.
He said General Franks, the regional commander,
would have more precise figures.

“I would say that what’s been mobilized to this point --
something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers --
are probably, you know, a figure that would be required,”
General Shinseki said.
“Assistance from friends and allies would be helpful.”

He continued,
“It takes a significant ground-force presence
to maintain a safe and secure environment,
to ensure that people are fed,
that water is distributed,
all the normal responsibilities that go along with
administering a situation like this.”

Senior Defense Department officials
sought to distance themselves from General Shinseki’s remarks.
“I would definitely caution you against those numbers,”
said one official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
[Ah yes, the anonymous purveyor of misinformation.]

But General Shinseki,
a former commander of NATO peacekeeping forces in Bosnia,
carries considerable credibility in the military and in Congress.

“His remarks were sobering, to put it gently,”
Mr. Levin said in a telephone interview after the hearing.
“This is a military man’s assessment.
This is an assessment that is what his instincts tell him.
It’s a not a political assessment.”
[Without any direct knowledge,
I would imagine it was also
an assessment his assistants were telling him.]

some senior Army officers have privately expressed concerns that
the administration may not have enough ground forces in place
if problems arise or the force is bogged down dealing with refugees.

Lawmakers said
they expected the issue to come up again on Wednesday morning,
when the Pentagon’s under secretary for policy, Douglas Feith,
gives a classified briefing to senators on postwar planning.

Bush to Cast War as Part of Regional Strategy
In Speech Tonight,
President to Portray Iraq Effort as 'Battle for the Future of the Muslim World'

By Peter Slevin
Washington Post, 2003-02-26

[The relevant extract; emphasis is added.]

Critics also warn that
the Bush administration must overcome a credibility gap
born of long memories and unpopular U.S. policies.
University of Maryland professor Shibley Telhami warned that
an invasion of Iraq and subsequent occupation by U.S.-led forces
feed an image of U.S. imperialism and
undermine the very goals the administration has set.

Army Chief of Staff Eric K. Shinseki
told the Senate Armed Service Committee yesterday that
“several hundred thousand soldiers”
would be needed to secure postwar Iraq.

“Assistance from friends and allies would be helpful,”
he said.

Bush and Pentagon Wrangle Over War Budget Request
New York Times, 2007-02-27 (Thursday) (page A-14)

[Paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.
Only one paragraph of the article deals with General Shinseki’s estimate,
but the full article is shown to show context.]

The Pentagon and the White House budget office
are wrestling over how much money to seek from Congress
to pay for a war against Iraq and reconstruction costs
between now and the end of September.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and
Mitchell E. Daniels Jr., the budget director,
met with President Bush on war costs on Tuesday.
Officials from both agencies said no decision was made
about the amount to ask for.

Normally in these cases,
the Defense Department wants a high figure,
the budget office wants a low one and
the final budget request is between.
Representative Tom DeLay, Republican of Texas and the majority leader,
said Congress would support
“whatever the president deems necessary to fight this war.”

Pentagon officials said today that
the military’s part of the cost over the next seven months,
through the fiscal year,
would be at least $60 billion.
That would include food, pay, munitions and transportation.
It would also cover
new costs of the military’s campaign against terrorists
in Afghanistan and other countries
and domestic security missions
like fighter patrols over New York and Washington.

Billions more would be borne by the State Department,
including $15 billion promised to Turkey
and aid expected to be offered to Israel, Jordan, Egypt and other countries.

The Pentagon estimates that
it is already spending about $1.6 billion in the campaign against terrorists
and that
it has spent $2.4 billion so far for the buildup in the Persian Gulf region.

A senior Defense Department official
who fielded budget questions from reporters today
disputed articles in several newspapers asserting that
Pentagon planners were pegging
the cost in this fiscal year at $60 billion to $95 billion.

“Sixty billion is closer to the truth than 95 billion,” the official said.
He said $95 billion was probably too high
for the Defense and State Department costs together.

Ari Fleischer, the White House spokesman, said
no budget request to cover a war would be made to Congress
before military action began.


The Pentagon would also have big future expenses.
Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, the Army chief of staff,
told Congress on Tuesday that
several hundred thousand troops would remain in Iraq
to provide security and relief aid.

The Persian Gulf war in 1991 cost $61 billion,
which amounts to about $80 billion in today’s dollars.
About 80 percent of the cost was picked up by allies.
The allied contribution in a war against Iraq is expected to be much smaller.

The president did not include war costs in the budget
he sent to Congress this month.
The budget projects deficits over $300 billion in the current fiscal year.
In the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1,
the budget projects record figures in actual dollars
but a somewhat smaller deficit as a percentage of the national economy
than some deficits in the 1980’s and early 1990’s.

If there is a war, it will increase the deficit
and could raise qualms in Congress
about approving the large tax cuts Mr. Bush wants.

Mr. Fleischer said the president would not back down from the tax cuts.
“The president believes one of the best ways to help the economy grow
is to provide the tax relief
that can give a boost to the economy and create jobs for the American people,”
Mr. Fleischer said.
“Whether or not the president authorizes the use of force,
the American people deserve to have jobs.”

In a speech in the Senate today,
Senator Robert C. Byrd, Democrat of West Virginia and the most senior senator,
criticized the administration
for not being more forthcoming about the cost of war.

“Our people and this Congress,” Mr. Byrd said,
“should not have to wait until our troops are sent to fight
to know what we are facing,
including the painful costs of this war in dollars, political turmoil and blood.”

Democrats Denounce White House on Cost of War
by Mike Allen and Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post, 2003-02-27 (Thursday) (page A-12)

[Emphasis is added.]

Democrats attacked the White House yesterday
for withholding details about the likely cost of a war in Iraq,
even as
some internal administration estimates soared past $100 billion.

White House officials said they would ask Congress to fund a war in Iraq
only after hostilities began.
Lawmakers complained that the policy
would essentially lock them into a pay-as-you-go war.

The rising estimates opened a new line of attack for Democrats,
who plan to use a war’s effect on the budget deficit
as a further reason to oppose the president’s new tax cut proposals.
Conservatives, meanwhile,
fretted anew about the administration’s appetite for spending.

Administration officials said
the Pentagon’s estimate of $60 billion to $95 billion
for a war and its immediate aftermath

was certain to be eclipsed
when the long-term costs of
occupation, reconstruction, foreign aid and humanitarian relief
were figured in.
Bush was briefed on the war costs Tuesday
and is scheduled to receive detailed budget scenarios
in the next week or two, officials said.

If Bush secured all of his legislative proposals,
a $95 billion war would raise the 2003 deficit to $400 billion,
according to White House budget figures.
That would surpass the record $290 billion deficit of 1992,
even after adjusting for inflation.

Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) yesterday said
the costs of a war would be “staggering,”
including the possibility of higher oil prices,
unsettled financial markets and
payments to win the support of allies.

“This government is going to have to borrow the money to finance this war,”
Byrd said on the Senate floor.
“The total price of a war in Iraq
could easily add up to hundreds of billions of dollars --
even a trillion or more --
overwhelming a federal budget
which is already sliding into deep deficits and warping the U.S. economy.”

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) said the administration
“must clearly explain from where this funding will come” and
“must tell the American people the full story about Iraq.”

White House officials said Bush would not,
as many congressional appropriators had expected,
make a pre-war supplemental budget request for foreseeable expenses
and for ones that have already been incurred,
including those for the shipment of food and medicine to Persian Gulf states
in anticipation of a war-induced refugee crisis.

“When the administration has something that is ready to get sent up to the Hill,
if there is something, we will share it,”
White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said yesterday.
If a war takes place, he said,
the budget request would be made immediately
or shortly after the fighting starts.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld,
speaking to reporters yesterday about war-related costs, said:
“To pretend that someone can even marginally, usefully speculate on that,
when no decision has been made,
is obviously not, I don’t think, a very useful exercise.”

Michael O’Hanlon, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution,
said the administration could not be expected to ask for money
before it had more of a sense of how a war would actually go.
“They have produced a reasonable guess, but that’s all it is now,”
O’Hanlon said.

Pentagon officials [who?] estimate that after victory was secured,
U.S. forces could be drawn down to about 50,000 troops,
who would stay well into a second year.

Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, chief of staff of the Army,
told the Senate Armed Services Committee this week that
“several hundred thousand soldiers”
would be needed to secure postwar Iraq,

although the administration expected other nations
to contribute many of them.

Some military experts believe that may prove optimistic,
given the difficulties of the task.
They think that a large number of combat-ready U.S. troops
would be necessary to hold together Iraq’s three disparate parts --
the Kurdish north, the Shiite south and the Sunni middle --
and also to deter neighboring nations such as Iran and Turkey
from extending their influence deeper into contiguous parts of Iraq.

[The idea that many Iraqis might not be thrilled with the U.S. occupation
seems not to have crossed the mind of the Washington Post’s “experts.”]

Thus, some in the Pentagon worry that
with just 10 divisions and about 480,000 troops,
the Army isn’t large enough to handle
a peacekeeping task in Iraq,
its continuing mission in Afghanistan,
its contributions in the Balkans and
the face-off on the Korean Peninsula.

Even some conservative Republicans are growing restive
in the face of the rising war cost estimates and the burgeoning deficits.
The House conservatives’ Republican Study Committee
circulated a pointed, one-page document yesterday
contrasting Bush’s budgetary response
to budget deficits to the responses of Ronald Reagan in 1982
and of congressional Republicans in 1996 and 1997.

Their conclusion?
Reagan proposed nondefense spending over three years
that was $226 billion less than it would have been
had it merely kept pace with inflation.
The five-year budget resolutions passed by Republicans in 1996 and 1997
cut nondefense spending subject to Congress’s annual oversight
by $123 billion and $105 billion, respectively.
In contrast, Bush’s 2004 budget allows nondefense discretionary spending
to rise by $16 billion over inflation through 2008.

President Bush's Nation-Building
New York Times Editorial, 2003-02-27

[The paragraph where Gen. Shinseki is mentioned:]

In a speech to the American Enterprise Institute,
the president described an undertaking
that resembled American efforts in post-World-War-II Japan and Germany.
This week Gen. Eric Shinseki, the Army chief of staff,
said he believed that
hundreds of thousands of soldiers would have to remain on Iraqi soil
to create a stable environment for democratic change.
Mr. Bush,
a man who ran for office scoffing at the idea of “nation-building,”
is now betting his presidency on that idea.

[So far as I can find,
this is the one place in the 23 days
between Shinseki’s 02-25 testimony and the start of the war on 03-20
where his testimony was mentioned
by any NYT editorialist or op-ed columnist.]

Pentagon Contradicts General On Iraq Occupation Force's Size
New York Times, 2003-02-28 (Friday) (page A-1)

[Paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

In a contentious exchange over the costs of war with Iraq,
the Pentagon’s second-ranking official today
disparaged a top Army general’s assessment
of the number of troops needed to secure postwar Iraq.

House Democrats then accused the Pentagon official, Paul D. Wolfowitz,
of concealing internal administration estimates
on the cost of fighting and rebuilding the country.

Mr. Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary,
opened a two-front war of words on Capitol Hill,
calling the recent estimate by Gen. Eric K. Shinseki of the Army
several hundred thousand troops would be needed in postwar Iraq,
“wildly off the mark.”
Pentagon officials have put the figure closer to 100,000 troops.

Mr. Wolfowitz then dismissed
articles in several newspapers this week asserting that
Pentagon budget specialists put the cost of war and reconstruction
at $60 billion to $95 billion in this fiscal year.
He said
it was impossible to predict accurately
a war’s duration, its destruction and the extent of rebuilding afterward.

“We have no idea what we will need until we get there on the ground,”
Mr. Wolfowitz said at a hearing of the House Budget Committee.
“Every time we get a briefing on the war plan,
it immediately goes down six different branches
to see what the scenarios look like.
If we costed each and every one,
the costs would range from $10 billion to $100 billion.”

[A lowball.]

Mr. Wolfowitz’s refusal to be pinned down
on the costs of war and peace in Iraq
infuriated some committee Democrats,
who noted that
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and
Mitchell E. Daniels Jr., the budget director,
had briefed President Bush on just such estimates on Tuesday.

“I think you’re deliberately keeping us in the dark,”
said Representative James P. Moran, Democrat of Virginia.
“We’re not so naïve as to think that you don’t know more than you’re revealing.”

Representative Darlene Hooley, an Oregon Democrat,
also voiced exasperation with Mr. Wolfowitz:
“I think you can do better than that.”

Mr. Wolfowitz, with Dov S. Zakheim, the Pentagon comptroller, at his side,
tried to mollify the Democratic lawmakers,
promising to fill them in eventually
on the administration’s internal cost estimates.

“There will be an appropriate moment,” he said,
when the Pentagon would provide Congress with cost ranges.
“We’re not in a position to do that right now.”

At a Pentagon news conference with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan,
Mr. Rumsfeld echoed his deputy’s comments.

Neither Mr. Rumsfeld nor Mr. Wolfowitz mentioned General Shinseki,
the Army chief of staff, by name.
But both men were clearly irritated at
the general’s suggestion that
a postwar Iraq might require many more forces than
the 100,000 American troops and the tens of thousands of allied forces
that are also expected to join a reconstruction effort.

“The idea that it would take several hundred thousand U.S. forces I think
is far off the mark,”
Mr. Rumsfeld said.

General Shinseki gave his estimate
in response to a question
at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday:

“I would say that what’s been mobilized to this point --
something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers --
are probably, you know, a figure that would be required.”

He also said that the regional commander, Gen. Tommy R. Franks,
would determine the precise figure.

A spokesman for General Shinseki, Col. Joe Curtin, said today that
the general stood by his estimate.
“He was asked a question and
he responded with his best military judgment,”
Colonel Curtin said.
General Shinseki
is a former commander of the peacekeeping operation in Bosnia.

In his testimony,
Mr. Wolfowitz ticked off several reasons why he believed
a much smaller coalition peacekeeping force than General Shinseki envisioned
would be sufficient to police and rebuild postwar Iraq.

  1. He said
    there was no history of ethnic strife in Iraq,
    as there was in Bosnia or Kosovo.

  2. He said Iraqi civilians would welcome
    an American-led liberation force that
    “stayed as long as necessary but left as soon as possible,”
    but would oppose a long-term occupation force.

  3. And he said that nations that oppose war with Iraq
    would likely sign up to help rebuild it.
[Item numbers were added to the original text.]

“I would expect that even countries like France
will have a strong interest in assisting Iraq in reconstruction,”
Mr. Wolfowitz said.
He added that many Iraqi expatriates would likely return home to help.

In the 1991 Persian Gulf War,
many nations agreed in advance of hostilities
to help pay for a conflict that eventually cost about $61 billion.
Mr. Wolfowitz said that this time around
the administration was dealing with
“countries that are quite frightened of their own shadows”
in assembling a coalition to force President Saddam Hussein to disarm.

Enlisting countries to help to pay for this war and its aftermath
would take more time, he said.
“I expect we will get a lot of mitigation,
but it will be easier after the fact than before the fact,”
Mr. Wolfowitz said.

Mr. Wolfowitz spent much of the hearing
knocking down published estimates of the costs of war and rebuilding,
saying the upper range of $95 billion was too high, and that
the estimates were almost meaningless because of the variables.

Moreover, he said such estimates,
and speculation that postwar reconstruction costs could climb even higher,
ignored the fact that Iraq is a wealthy country,
with annual oil exports worth $15 billion to $20 billion.
“To assume we’re going to pay for it all is just wrong,”

he said.

At the Pentagon, Mr. Rumsfeld said
the factors influencing cost estimates made even ranges imperfect.
Asked whether he would release such ranges
to permit a useful public debate on the subject,
Mr. Rumsfeld said,
“I’ve already decided that. It’s not useful.”

Cost of War Remains Unanswered Question
By Vernon Loeb (then a military reporter for the Post)
Washington Post, 2003-03-01 (Saturday) (page A-13)

[Paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

The Bush administration’s unwillingness to publicly estimate either
the cost of a possible war with Iraq
the number of U.S. troops that will be required
to stabilize the country afterward

is triggering complaints among Democrats
as President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld
work to build support for forcibly disarming the Iraqi regime.

Despite criticism
from Sens. Robert C. Byrd (D-W. Va.) and Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.),
Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul D. Wolfowitz,
have refused to provide even broad estimates
of how much a war in the Persian Gulf might cost.
They say the range is so great --
depending upon various battlefield contingencies --
that such speculation would be meaningless.

Both senior Pentagon leaders also took exception
with an estimate for postwar troop requirements
from Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, the Army’s chief of staff.
Shinseki told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that
“something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers”
could be necessary.

Rumsfeld, speaking to reporters yesterday at the Pentagon,
said he believed Shinseki’s estimate
“will prove to be high,”
but declined to say by how much.

“Anyone who tries to go to a single-point answer
has to have made a series of judgments
about a set of six to eight variables,
and he has to have, in his mind, decided,
‘Well, this is how that variable is going to be decided,
and therefore,
I can come to a single-point answer.’ ” Rumsfeld said.
“I’m not deft enough to take six or eight working variables. . . .”

Wolfowitz was far more blunt
in testimony Thursday before the House Budget Committee
when asked to comment on Shinseki’s estimate.
“Way off the mark,”
he said.

Shinseki offered his assessment only after
Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) pressed for a “range” of postwar troop levels --
and he did not say that all those troops would be Americans.

Planners on the Army staff, the Joint Staff and Rumsfeld’s staff
are assuming that,
even if 200,000 or more troops are necessary to stabilize postwar Iraq,
only a relatively small percentage would come from the United States.
Rumsfeld noted this week that
numerous allies have indicated that
they would commit troops to help stabilize postwar Iraq.

[Making such assessments,
of how many troops will be supplied by other countries,
does not seem to be traditionally
within the expertise, experience, training, or competence
of the uniformed military.
That is a job for diplomats and political leaders,
to decide how much of their countries forces they are willing to commit.
It seems grossly unfair
to assign responsibility for those assumptions
to the uniformed military.
So the question is:
Who made those assumptions?
Have any of Washington’s investigative journalists
attempted to answer that question?

(You can prove anything by making enough assumptions.
The job of constructive people is to challenge dubious assumptions.)

In the lead-up to this war,
so many of the assumptions clearly came
(ladies, skip to the next paragraph)
right out of somebody’s ass.

And the prewar media/political complex
couldn’t be bothered with sanity checking,
nor with much worst-case analysis.
Some conservatives.]

The Joint Staff is estimating that
the U.S. troop presence could be
between 45,000 and 60,000 soldiers for up to two years,
the rough equivalent of two to three Army divisions.
This is amazing.
It must again be based on that bizarre assumption that
U.S. troops would be in the minority
of the post-war Iraq occupation force.
If a mere blogger can put a request for information into the infosphere,
can somebody within the Army find out where that estimate came from?
Was this an official Joint Staff estimate,
or just the WAG of some staffer Loeb was talking to?
That would be an interesting bit of information.]

While a commitment of this level would put an enormous strain on the Army,
which has 10 active-duty divisions,
it would be far less than
what one Army staff member called Shinseki’s “guesstimate.”

“The challenge we have is scale and duration,
and the fact that it’s cumulative
when it’s added to an already committed Army
in Bosnia, Kosovo, the Sinai and Afghanistan,”
said one Army official.
“All that aside, it’s doable.
The reality is, this is one of the missions the Army does.
It is not a lesser case.”

A study last year by the Army’s Center of Military History has found that
the U.S. military would have to commit 100,000 peacekeeping troops in Iraq
if it were to occupy and reconstruct the country
on the scale that occurred in Japan and Germany after World War II.

[That seems radically at variance with a 1995 study in Parameters:
Force Requirements in Stability Operations
by James T. Quinlivan.

But even without bothering to read that,
any Western man with a decent education knows the following:
This ignores many crucial differences
between Germany/Japan 1945 and Iraq 2003.

Here is just one of those differences:

Germany had lost practically all of its military-age male population
in the fighting in WWII, especially on the Eastern Front.
In particular, of Germany’s prewar population of 70 million,
it lost 5.5 million in the military and 1.8 million civilians
the proportional loss in 2008 America would be over 20 million military dead].
Its military manpower pool was so exhausted that
the Wehrmacht was reduced to
employing boys and old men in combat battalions.
No wonder the Germans didn’t resist the occupation:
The men who might have engaged in that resistance had already died,
trying to prevent
das Vaterland
from suffering the horrors (to the Germans) of that occupation
when “a vengeful Red Army visited on German women an ordeal of mass rape”.

Similarly, Japan lost 2 million in the military
out of a 70 million person population.
While Japan’s casualty rate was not as high as Germany’s,
the fact that Japan had an extremely hierarchical society
which literally worshiped its Emperor,
combined with the fact that the Emperor had acceded to, in fact, encouraged,
surrender to the United States,
essentially eliminated any significant Japanese resistance to the occupation.

Now, why didn’t Vernon Loeb point out
these salient and relevant differences
between Germany/Japan 1945 and Iran 2003?
I can think of only two reasons:
He is a dumb shit
(he is, after all, a military reporter,
so surely should have known these relevant facts),
his editors did not want for him to point them out.]

One expert, Brookings Institution analyst Michael O’Hanlon,
estimates that occupying Iraq --
and holding together its three disparate parts --
could require from 100,000 to 250,000 troops in the first year.
Assuming that only 15 percent to 25 percent of that force is American,
O’Hanlon recently told the House Armed Services Committee,
the Pentagon’s contribution would be 15,000 to 60,000 troops.

[There’s that assumption again.
Again, where did it come from?]

The Pentagon’s unwillingness to talk about the possible cost of the war
triggered complaints from Democrats
after administration officials disclosed Wednesday that
unofficial Defense Department estimates
pegged the cost of the war at between $60 billion and $95 billion.
That was far higher than Rumsfeld’s public estimate five weeks ago,
when he said a conflict in the Persian Gulf
would probably cost less than $50 billion.

Whatever the cost, military conflict in Iraq
will add dramatically to the size of the federal deficit,
now estimated at $307 billion.

When Wolfowitz appeared Thursday before the House Budget Committee,
Rep. James Moran (D-Va.) accused him of “deliberately keeping us in the dark.”

Wolfowitz denied the charge.
“We have no idea what we will need until we get there on the ground,”
he said.
“Every time we get a briefing on the war plan,
it immediately goes down six different branches
to see what the scenarios look like.
If we costed each and every one,
the costs would range from $10 billion to $100 billion.”

Several Budget Committee Democrats said in interviews yesterday
they believe
the administration is deliberately underplaying the cost of a potential war.

Rep. John Spratt (S.C.), the panel’s top Democrat, noted
the administration did not include any provisions for
a potential war with Iraq and a global war against terrorism.
He said lawmakers should be better informed
before they press ahead with Bush’s budget and tax cut plan.

“They can’t say it can’t be done.
They’re shopping it in their own administration,” Spratt said.
“These costs overhanging the budget
ought to have something to do with decisions on spending and tax reduction
that will be made over the next few weeks.”

Moran was even more blunt.
He predicted the administration would later be coming to the Hill
with an emergency request for more than $100 billion,
leaving lawmakers with little choice but to approve it.

“They treat Congress as if we’re just cheerleaders on the sidelines,”
Moran said.
“We’re the ones who were entrusted with doling out the taxpayers’ money.
They seem to have lost all sense of who’s supposed to be in charge.
We’re the elected representatives of the people.”

Staff writer Juliet Eilperin contributed to this report.

Heed the Hawks
by E. J. Dionne Jr. (Dionne is a “progressive” op-ed columnist for the Post)
Washington Post Op-Ed, 2003-03-04

[This is an interesting look at what liberals worried about
before the war,
so it is quoted in its entirety.
Paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

The greatest challenge to President Bush’s Iraq policy comes
not from the antiwar movement
but from the quiet doubts of foreign policy hawks.
They worry not about the morality of Bush’s policy
but about
the administration’s capacity to pull off its audacious gamble
to transform the Middle East.

These worried hawks
share the president’s goal of disarming and ousting Saddam Hussein.
But they see the months since the United Nations backed tougher inspections
as a time of
squandered opportunities,
flawed public diplomacy and
needless political provocation at home.

True, many of the complaints come from
Democratic hawks who feel let down
by a president they supported
at the risk of alienating many in their own party.
even Bush’s critics credit the president with
forcing the disarmament of Iraq onto a reluctant world’s agenda.

But it is not only Democrats who worry about
the administration’s failure to anticipate and temper
public opposition to its policies abroad.
Nor are Democrats alone
in sensing disarray in the administration’s foreign policy apparatus.

It was remarkable last week that
political officials at the Pentagon directly rebuked the Army’s chief of staff
for his estimate of
the number of troops that would be required to occupy a postwar Iraq.

Gen. Eric K. Shinseki
appeared to be giving his best candid estimate last Tuesday [02-25]
when he told the Senate Armed Services Committee that
“something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers”
would be necessary.
But on Thursday [02-27] Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz
described Shinseki’s estimate as “way off the mark.”

Which part of the government are we supposed to believe?
Is the dispute between Shinseki and Wolfowitz about public relations --
about not scaring the public with too large an estimate of the war’s cost?
Or is there a difference in strategy?

[Well, I am not one of the brilliant “meritocrats” in the media,
but isn’t that what reporters are supposed to be reporting on?
Might they, for example,
have called up the Army staff’s public affairs office and asked
what evidence the Army chief of staff had
to back up his public testimony before Congress?

And if, as might well have happened,
Army public affairs said that they were not allowed on the record
to dispute their civilian leadership,
might not they have provided information off the record?
It is hard to believe that those officers would not, for example,
have given reporters some phone numbers
in the Army’s excellent studies and analysis sections
that could have provided background, like, say, this.]

Similarly, even the war’s supporters are surprised at
the extent to which the administration has squandered
the almost universal goodwill toward the United States
that took hold after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Sen. Joseph Biden, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee,
has strongly supported going after Hussein
and can’t be accused of being soft on the French or the Germans.
Last month Biden accused France, Germany and Belgium of “recklessness”
in their efforts to block aid to Turkey in the event of war.
For good measure, Biden criticized the “caricature and vitriolic insults” offered by “Western European America-bashers.”

But Biden, like many hawks,
is astonished at the administration’s approach to diplomacy --
or, perhaps more precisely, its frequent lack thereof.
At a Senate hearing last week,
Biden cited Bush’s endorsement of “humility” during the 2000 election campaign.
“Humility,” Biden said,
“is a term not familiar to many senior levels of the administration, . . .
which has often been
disdainful of the opinions of foreign governments on a range of issues --
from the abrupt abandonment of the Kyoto protocol . . .
to the provocative assertion of the doctrine of preemption,
just as the diplomatic campaigns were beginning to commence on Iraq.”

A former Clinton administration official who strongly supports Bush on Iraq
expressed surprise at
how little the administration has used Secretary of State Colin Powell
to rally support for the United States on the ground in Europe,
where he is popular.
“The diplomacy leading up to this war,” this official said,
choosing his words carefully, “has been uneven at best.”

Nor does the administration build confidence
with its handling of the North Korean nuclear crisis.
When Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage -- nobody’s idea of a dove --
told Congress he believed in “a bilateral discussion” with North Korea
to seek a solution,
the administration let David Sanger of the New York Times know that Bush was “off-the-wall angry” with Armitage’s testimony.

During the 2000 campaign, Republicans said proudly that
a Bush presidency would put “grown-ups” in charge of foreign policy.
Noting this, the former Clinton official said dryly:
“The grown-ups are at each other’s throats.”

In the meantime,
the administration’s acquiescence
to warlord control of large parts of Afghanistan
hardly builds confidence in its capacity to administer an Iraq
devastated by years of cruel dictatorship and
sharply divided along ethnic and religious lines.
And by refusing to put a price tag on this war,
the administration feeds perceptions that
it is unwilling to sacrifice any of its domestic priorities, especially tax cuts,
to build support for the largest foreign policy undertaking in four decades.

The president might write off antiwar demonstrators,
but he dismisses his hawkish critics at his peril -- and ours.

The 'Shock and Awe' News Conference
By Mary McGrory (McGrory was a left-wing columnist for the Post)
Washington Post Op-Ed, 2003-03-19

[An excerpt,
showing the emphasis (or lack thereof) placed on Shinseki’s estimate.]

All week the brass has been out emphasizing a concern for Iraqi citizens
that Saddam Hussein has never shown.
A briefer at the Pentagon emphasized the need to be nice
if we intended to stay and mold Iraq into a democracy.
Supreme commander Gen. Tommy Franks injected a note of reality.
He was making no promises:
War is war, he said in effect.

The Pentagon is torn between bragging about what it can do
and boasting about what it won’t do
as we liberate Iraq.
In the middle of the stream of reassurances of our mercy
was a jarring reminder of our overwhelming power.
The Air Force unveiled a 20,000-pound bomb,
which creates its own mushroom cloud,
without saying where it would be used.
The pope sent over a cardinal for an eleventh-hour appeal to the Oval Office.
The pope was trying to warn the president
of the baleful consequences in the Arab world
of invading a Muslim country.

Retired Gen. Anthony Zinni made the same point before a congressional hearing.
His nightmare was the prospect of seeing, on a split TV screen,
Israelis killing Arabs on the West Bank and
Americans killing Arabs in Iraq.
He suggested it might stimulate enlistments in al Qaeda.

Bush does not like to hear about the consequences of his obsession
and deals harshly with those who discuss them.
The most severe punishment was meted out to Larry Lindsey,
his erstwhile economic adviser,
who put the bill for the war in Iraq at $200 billion.
He was fired.

Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, the Army’s chief of staff,
committed the error of truth-telling and was set down hard.
When asked, he estimated that
it would take “several hundred thousand soldiers” to occupy Iraq.
Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz landed on him.
“Way off the mark,” he steamed.
Bush said at his news conference, almost airily, that
the costs of the war would be taken care of
in a supplemental appropriation.

For Army, Fears of Postwar Strife
Iraq's Historic Factions May Severely Test a U.S. Occupying Force
by Vernon Loeb and Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post, 2003-03-11 (page A-1; 9 days before the war started)

[Paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

The U.S. Army is bracing both for war in Iraq
a postwar occupation
that could tie up two to three Army divisions in an open-ended mission
that would strain the all-volunteer force
and put soldiers in the midst of warring ethnic and religious factions,

Army officers and other senior defense officials say.

While the officers believe
a decade of peacekeeping operations
in Haiti, Somalia, the Balkans and now Afghanistan
makes the Army uniquely qualified for the job,
they fear that
bringing democracy and stability to Iraq may be an impossible task.

An occupation force of 45,000 to 60,000 Army troops --
the range under consideration by the Joint Chiefs of Staff --
could force an end to peace-time training and rotation cycles
in a service already deployed in
Germany, Korea, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo and the Sinai.

Army officials note that
they missed reserve recruiting goals in January and February [2003],
as potential reservists faced lengthy overseas deployments
instead of the regular commitment of 39 days a year.
There is even talk among senior officers that
the Marine Corps may be assigned peacekeeping chores in northern Iraq
to help share the burden.

But the greatest source of concern among senior Army leaders is
the uncertainty and complexity of the mission in postwar Iraq,
which could require U.S. forces to
  • protect Iraq’s borders,

  • referee clashes between ethnic and religious groups,

  • ensure civilian security,

  • provide humanitarian relief,

  • secure possible chemical and biological weapons sites,

  • govern hundreds of towns and villages.

Should U.S. forces succeed in overthrowing Iraqi President Saddam Hussein,
they will inherit a country divided among
armed and organized Kurdish factions in the north,
restless majority Shiites in the south and
a Sunni population that has been the backbone of Hussein’s Baath Party rule.
Adding to the complexity will be the interests of at least two bordering powers --
Turkey, which has its own Kurdish minority
and opposes any move toward greater Kurdish autonomy,
Iran, which has historic ties to Iraqi Shiites.

“There’s going to be a power vacuum,”
said one senior defense official sympathetic to the Army.
“How will that be filled?
I’m not an expert in the region, but if you use the Balkans as a model,
we may be getting into the middle of a civil war.”

“The Army is wary of being the one left to clean up after the party is over,”
added retired Lt. Col. Andrew Krepinevich,
director of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments,
a Washington think tank.

Retired Army Maj. Gen. William L. Nash
commanded the first Army peacekeeping operation in the Balkans in 1995.
He also occupied the area around the Iraqi town of Safwan on the Kuwaiti border
with three battalions for 21/2 months after the 1991 Gulf War.
During that mission, his troops dealt with
recurring murders, attempted murders,
“ample opportunity for civil disorder,” and
refugee flows they never could fully fathom,
he said.

Nash said
he believes
200,000 U.S. and allied forces will be necessary to stabilize Iraq,

noting that up to two divisions alone - - 25,000 to 50,000 troops --
could be required
just to guard any chemical or biological weapons sites that are discovered
until the weapons are disposed of properly.

“There’s apprehension inside the Army as to the extent of the mission
and a concern that there hasn’t been the recognition by the senior leadership --
I read civilian --
as to the enormity of the challenge,”
Nash said.

The Army’s concern bubbled up publicly two weeks ago
when Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, the Army’s chief of staff,
told the Senate Armed Services Committee that
“several hundred thousand soldiers” could be necessary for peacekeeping duties.
Two days later, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz --
one of the architects of the president’s postwar ambitions in Iraq --
took the unusual step of publicly differing with the Army chief,
dismissing his estimate as “way off the mark.”

Shinseki and other defense officials have said
they hope allied forces will contribute significantly to the postwar mission,

though it is unclear how much other countries will be willing to pitch in.

[This really needs to be filled in.
Who were the other “defense officials”?
Why did Shinseki hold such hope?
It is not usually the case that Army officers, certainly not the chief of staff,
make critical parts of their planning dependent on “hope.”]

The Bush administration has experienced difficulties recruiting other countries
to send forces to the Afghan peacekeeping mission.

Ivo H. Daalder, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution,
said recent history shows that
60,000 peacekeepers were needed in Bosnia to separate warring ethnic factions,
just one facet of the mission that could confront the Army in postwar Iraq.
And Bosnia’s population is 4 million,
17 percent of Iraq’s 23 million.

[Quick math: that would mean, proportionately, 360,000 for Iraq.]

“I have no doubt that the Army
is perfectly capable of doing an extraordinarily good job on this,”
Daalder said.
“This is something we know how to do,
as long as the administration is willing to learn from what we did in the 1990s,
and that’s a big if.”

Daalder, a former Clinton administration official,
has argued that the reconstruction of Afghanistan would be much further along
had the Bush administration contributed U.S. forces
to an international peacekeeping force that is now confined to the Kabul area.
Senior Bush officials, including the president, came into office
disdainful of what they said
was an over-commitment of American forces by President Bill Clinton
to needless nation-building operations around the world.

“If Afghanistan is the model for Iraq, we’re in deep, deep trouble,”
Daalder said.
“The administration has done the minimum necessary there to avoid disaster,
and I think what Iraq requires is the maximum necessary to ensure success.
It’s a different standard.
If they do the minimum necessary to avoid disaster,
there’s going to be a problem.”

Underscoring the concerns, retired Army Lt. Gen. Jay Garner,
head of the Pentagon’s office for postwar planning,
cancelled his scheduled testimony today
before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R.-Ind.), the committee chairman, said
the Pentagon declined to send a deputy in Garner’s place,
and called the cancellation “a missed opportunity for the administration.”

Postwar Iraq promises to be highly volatile.
In the north, two well-armed and well-organized Kurdish factions
have enjoyed semi- autonomy
under the protection of U.S. and British jets
patrolling the northern “no-fly” zone.
Longtime rivals, they have achieved an uneasy truce
in anticipation of a U.S. invasion to unseat Hussein.

They have been warned by the administration not to push for a Kurdish state.
In turn, the Kurds have warned Turkey
not to send troops into northern Iraq once the fighting starts
to establish a buffer zone to control Kurdish refugees.

In the south, around Basra,
Shiites -- who represent a majority of Iraq’s population --
have bitterly opposed Hussein’s leadership since 1991,
when the Iraqi president crushed Shiite uprisings after the Gulf War.
Many Shiites,
led by the Iranian-backed Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq,
still hold the United States responsible for facilitating the slaughter
by allowing Hussein’s military to fly attack helicopters against them.

Hundreds of Shiite militiamen,
backed by the Supreme Council and the Iranian government,
have recently moved across the border
and set up an armed camp in northern Iraq,
from which they plan on fighting the Iraqi military
once a U.S.-led invasion begins.

The heart of the country, greater Baghdad,
a sprawling metropolis of 6 million mostly Sunni and Shiite Muslims,
is also likely to be torn apart by strife and intrigue,
with revenge killings of officials from Hussein’s Baath Party likely
after its brutal reign.

Kenneth M. Pollack, a former CIA analyst who argues in favor of invading Iraq,
said he believes
most Iraqis would see U.S. troops as liberators, at least initially.
But he said he is worried about
the fall of Hussein creating a destabilizing power vacuum.
“What I am nervous about, if the U.S. goes to war in the next week or so,
is that we won’t have enough troops
to provide the kind of immediate security presence
to ensure that there isn’t going to be a power vacuum,”
he said.

The Army and the Marine Corps
have extensive experience conducting stability operations in Iraq,
having staged a humanitarian mission involving 20,000 troops
called Operation Provide Comfort for 31/2 months after the Gulf War ended.
Designed to protect Kurds,
it was far more forceful than is connoted by the phrase “relief operation,”
said Army Lt. Gen. John Abizaid,
who commanded an infantry battalion during the mission.

While U.S. forces began by confronting the Iraqi military,
they ended up squaring off with Kurdish militia,
a cautionary tale for U.S. peacekeepers entering the north.

“It was really a wild time, a very bloody time,”
said an officer who served in Provide Comfort,
noting that the operation involved multi-front fighting in which
Kurds attacked Iraqi security forces, and also attacked each other,
while the Turkish military attacked one Kurdish faction,
the Kurdish Workers Party, or PKK.

Provide Comfort could provide a glimpse of what postwar Iraq might look like,
particularly in the north --
and what type of military response may be necessary.

Indeed, one senior U.S. commander of the 1991 operation predicted that
northern Iraq could turn ugly quickly once again.
“If you put Turkish troops on the ground,
they will get in a fight with the Kurds,”
he said.
“The Kurds have had their own world down there, and they want to keep it,
and the Turkish tendency is to solve their own problems with force.”

Interestingly, several commanders from Provide Comfort
are key figures in the current confrontation with Iraq
and have made clear that
lessons learned 12 years ago have not been forgotten.
One of them is Garner,
the Pentagon’s coordinator for relief and reconstruction efforts in postwar Iraq.

Another, Marine Gen. James Jones,
who commanded Marines during the operation
and was accosted at one point by Iraqi forces,
is Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s combatant commander in Europe [SACEUR/COMEUCOM].
A third is Abizaid, an American of Lebanese descent who speaks fluent Arabic.
He is deputy commander of the U.S. Central Command,
which has responsibility for executing an invasion of Iraq,
and defense officials speculate that he may be designated
the U.S. military commander for postwar Iraq.

POSTWAR PLANS; Panel Faults Bush on War Costs and Risks
New York Times, 2003-03-12 (page A-15; 8 days before the war started)

[Paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

The cost of postwar reconstruction of Iraq
  • will be at least $20 billion a year

  • will require the long-term deployment of 75,000 to 200,000 troops
    to prevent widespread instability
    and violence against former members of Saddam Hussein’s government,
a panel of national security experts say in a new study.

The panel,
consisting of senior American officials
from Republican and Democratic administrations,
was organized by the Council on Foreign Relations.
It concludes that

President Bush has failed
“to fully describe to Congress and the American people
the magnitude of the resources that will be required
to meet the post-conflict needs” of Iraq.

The panel was led by
James R. Schlesinger, secretary of defense in the Nixon and Ford administrations, and
Thomas R. Pickering, ambassador to the United Nations under Mr. Bush’s father.
Others on the panel included
Gen. John M. Shalikashvili,
who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1993 to 1997 and is now retired, and
Jeanne J. Kirkpatrick,
who served in senior positions in the Reagan administration.

They urged Mr. Bush
“to make clear to Congress, the American people and the people of Iraq
that the United States will stay the course” in Iraq
by financing a “multibillion-dollar” reconstruction program
and seeking formal Congressional endorsement of it.

In Washington, meanwhile, Pentagon officials said yesterday that
the Bush administration was planning
to put Iraqi soldiers to work and
to pay the salaries of more than two million Iraqi civil servants
to enable them to rebuild their country if Saddam Hussein is ousted.
But the officials declined to estimate how much such support would cost.
[What happened to those plans?
Why were decisions changed in mid-stream?]

Through the Council on Foreign Relations report,
the panel of experts and the council sounded an alarm that
the Bush administration needed to be more forthcoming
about the risks and costs of an extended occupation of Iraq.

One risk arises from
the aspirations for independence by ethnic Kurds in the north,
which could set off a conflict with Turkey.
Another stems from the deep grievances of the Shiite population
against the Sunni minority that has dominated the country since its founding.
How political leaders are chosen and
how Iraq’s oil resources are managed
also carry the seeds of conflict
that will demand significant American resources.

Mr. Schlesinger,
who also served President Nixon in the Office of Management and Budget,
and later ran the C.I.A.
[i.e., he is and was a true Republican
(unlike Bush, Cheney and their neocon masters)]
said in an interview that

while he [Schlesinger] was reasonably confidant that
United States military forces would prevail
in a brief war against the degraded army of Saddam Hussein,
he was deeply worried about
the unwillingness of the Bush administration to speak plainly about
the much larger postwar costs and tasks.

“It is not clear to me
that the American people understand we are engaged in the long haul
if we are to be successful,”

he said.

The report calls particular attention to
the lack of planning and
inadequate resources devoted to the humanitarian front after the war.
Though Mr. Bush has created
a new Pentagon Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance,
overall planning by international agencies like the World Food Program
shows that only $30 million of a $120 million initial requirement for Iraq
has been financed.
The panel suggested that the White House
request an immediate $3 billion for Iraq reconstruction tasks and food aid
for the initial postwar phase.

[While this article,
like much of the media criticism of planning for Iraq,
lays the blame either on President Bush or “the Bush administration,”
it would be entirely appropriate
to focus attention on the highest level of that administration
that was responsible for national security,
i.e., the National Security Council.]

To the extent the United States
fails to move quickly to address the security and food needs
of the more than 16 million Iraqis
now dependent on the United Nations’ oil-for-food program,
Washington will quickly be blamed.
“It would fuel the perception that the result of the U.S. intervention
is an increase of humanitarian suffering,”
the report says.

In appended comments, James F. Dobbins,
who served as a special envoy to Afghanistan in the current Bush administration,
said that
“even the lowest suggested requirement of 75,000 troops” to stabilize Iraq
would mean
“that every infantryman in the U.S. Army
spend 6 months in Iraq out of every 18 to 24.”
The report gave credence to
a recent estimate by Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, the Army chief of staff,
that 200,000 troops would be needed to police Iraq after a war.
If that many troops are needed, the report says,
the $20 billion a year estimate of costs “would be much greater.”

At the Pentagon yesterday, two senior Defense Department officials,
speaking to reporters on condition that they not be identified,
said the new office charged with establishing a postwar administration
hoped to be able to turn over control to an interim Iraqi government
within months.
But they did not say how they planned to root out
the thousands of intelligence and security service agents
that Mr. Hussein is known to have placed
within virtually every government ministry.

The officials said Iraq’s frozen assets might be tapped
to pay for the Iraqi government salaries, or
some of Iraq’s oil revenues might be used to finance the interim government.
That had not yet been decided, they said.
[I.e.: “We’re winging it.”
How on earth did the NSC let them get away with such lack of planning?
How did our first MBA president?]

Shinseki Repeats Estimate of a Large Postwar Force
Washington Post, 2003-03-13 (W-7, page A12)

[Paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

The Army’s top general yesterday repeated his estimate that
a postwar occupying force in Iraq
could be as large as several hundred thousand troops,
a number disputed by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric K. Shinseki
told a House subcommittee on defense appropriations
the military could only estimate
what forces might be needed after any invasion of Iraq.
“It could be as high as several hundred thousand,”
he said, but added,
“We all hope that it is something less.”

Shinseki explained to reporters after the hearing that
he did not mean to suggest the postwar force would be all U.S. troops.
“That doesn’t presume that it will be done all by us,” he said.

[If not us, then who?]

Last month,
after Shinseki voiced the same estimate in another Capitol Hill hearing,
Rumsfeld told reporters that
the number “is far off the mark,” especially for U.S. troops.
The defense secretary said
other countries had promised to take part
in any stabilization effort in the event of a war.

[Did the reporters inquire
who else had committed to provide
the quantity (and quality) of troops
that General Shinseki estimated would be necessary?
Has there been subsequent follow-up (this is written in 2007) from reporters,
asking Rumsfeld about his assurance?]

Rumsfeld also said he did not think it was logical that
it would take as many forces after the conflict as it would to win the war.
[Logic is one thing, history is another.
When there is a conflict, history trumps logic.]

Defense officials say
there are more than 200,000 U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf region
ready for any order from President Bush to launch an invasion.
[That implies a misleading comparison.
General Shinseki was speaking, I believe, about ground forces.
That 200,000 figure includes air force and navy personnel,
important in the initial assault and conquest,
but far less useful in stabilization operations.
But perhaps that was not the sort of issue that the media wanted to cover.]

Shinseki told reporters yesterday:
“This is just an estimate of what it might take.
There are no specifics about what it [the postwar force] would do;
those tasks are yet to be determined.”

[I am surprised that on W-7 the Phase IV operation was so undefined.]

Army's civil war
By Robert D. Novak
Townhall.com, 2003-03-13 (7 days before the war started)
(All of Novak’s 2003 columns.)

[Paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

As the Pentagon prepared to go to war,
it was considered a 100 percent certainty there in the middle of last week
Thomas White would be sacked forthwith as secretary of the Army.
Sober second thoughts prevailed, however, about taking that step
on the eve of battle.
Even so, nobody can guarantee White’s survival.

White’s problem is not last year’s pseudo-scandal
concerning his disposal of stock options earned as an Enron executive.
His difficulty is Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who
desires total control over his vast realm.
Rumsfeld has experienced trouble with the Army,
especially its chief of staff, Gen. Eric Shinseki.

The retirement of Shinseki was announced long ago and will take effect in June.
White’s departure date is undetermined,
and his critics in the Office of the Secretary of Defense want to change that.

In his latest policy disagreement with Rumsfeld,
Shinseki on Feb. 25 testified to Congress that
“several hundred thousand soldiers”
might be necessary for post-war occupation of Iraq.
White last week did not join the Pentagon’s civilian leadership
in contradicting Shinseki’s estimate
but endorsed the general’s credentials.
Not only did this undermine
Rumsfeld’s efforts to gain control of the officer corps
that he felt ran wild during the Clinton days,
but it raised the specter of a long and difficult occupation of Iraq.

Until George W. Bush brought him to Washington,
Tom White had a storybook career as a highly decorated Army general
who entered private life after 23 years
to become a well-compensated Enron executive.
He found himself in the middle of
Rumsfeld’s determination to discipline the Army
by killing the Crusader mobile artillery system.

White appeared publicly with Rumsfeld
to express solidarity with the Defense secretary’s decision,
but his body language betrayed disagreement.
Rumsfeld later made clear to him he was not at all happy with White’s performance.

[By the way,
those who think that the “military/industrial complex” is calling the shots
should note this.
If the “military/industrial complex” is so powerful,
than why was the Crusader artillery system killed?
The Army was desperate to replace its 1960-vintage Paladin howitzer system
with something that offered more kinetic and CBRN protection,
and of course industry was eager to produce and sell it.
But it was killed anyhow.
So much for the mighty “military/industrial complex.”]

The Crusader is the tip of the iceberg.
Uniformed officers resented failure to use tube artillery in Afghanistan,
with Shinseki publicly testifying that
the Crusader could have saved American lives
at the battle of Anaconda.
Rumsfeld also crossed the Army
by eliminating funding for high-tech Army brigades.
Nothing better reflected the split than
Shinseki’s most recent appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Breaking all precedent,
Rumsfeld had announced 14 months in advance
that Shinseki would be stepping down as chief of staff.
Thus, the general was a longtime lame duck Feb. 25
when Sen. Carl Levin, senior Democrat on Armed Services, asked him
how many troops would be needed to occupy Iraq.

His “several hundred thousand” answer was so far from the official line
that it confirmed
Rumsfeld’s view of Clintonite generals out of control.
While Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz
declared Shinseki “wildly off the mark”
and Rumsfeld also disagreed,
the general stuck to his estimate.
That left it to the secretary of the Army
in testimony before Senate Armed Services last Thursday.

White anticipated the inevitable question,
and had carefully drafted an equivocal answer:
“Gen. Shinseki has some experience in this,
having run the stabilization force in Bosnia,
and he’s a very experienced officer.”
Pointing out that “there are others” who disagree,
White concluded:
“You have two views on this right now,
and expertise in support of each view.”
That surely was no ringing affirmation of the Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz line
at an hour when White’s future was shaky.

White and his closest associates were not aware of
how close he came to being fired last week,
and not even normally well-informed U.S. senators had any hint.
Naturally, nobody at the Pentagon will confirm a possible sacking.
Not speaking for quotation,
White’s critics in the Office of the Secretary of Defense portray him as
an impediment in the goal of reforming the Pentagon.
His admirers see him,
in contrast to a long line of lackluster service secretaries,
committed to the Army institutionally.

Actually, the 1986 Goldwater-Nickles Act
took the Army and other civilian service secretaries2
out of the chain of command,
so that White is largely a symbolic figure.
If he is dismissed on the eve of war,
it will happen because
Don Rumsfeld insists on the symbol of
everybody at the Pentagon singing the same song without dissent.

No 'Dissent at The Pentagon'
Letter to the Editor from
Victoria Clarke, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, DOD
Washington Post, 2003-03-24

Our phone logs and e-mail
show no record of Robert D. Novak contacting the Pentagon
to seek comment for his March 13 op-ed column,
“Dissent at the Pentagon.”
[The Post gave it a different title than Townhall.com.]

That’s unfortunate, because he got the facts wrong.
The secretary of defense has made no decision or announcements
regarding Gen. Eric K. Shinseki or Gen. John M. Keane.

Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs
U.S. Department of Defense

[Most readers of this letter
would probably not bother to go back to the original op-ed.
If they had, they would notice that Novak’s column
was about the future of Army Secretary Thomas A. White,
not that of Generals Shinseki or Keane.
General Keane was not mentioned at all,
while General Shinseki was mentioned briefly in paragraph 6.]

Prolonged Iraq War May Imperil Reconstruction
Analysts Foresee More Complex Problems for U.S.

by Peter Slevin
Washington Post, 2003-03-28 (W+8, page A36)

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

Indeed, at the Pentagon,
unexpected Iraqi resistance in the war has rekindled a debate
over how much manpower will be needed
to provide postwar security,

commanders report.
Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, the Army chief of staff,
was sharply contradicted when he told Congress last month that
“several hundred thousand soldiers” from around the world
would be required to stabilize the country.
Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz
called the estimate “way off the mark.”

But skirmishes and attacks on allied forces
affirm the logic behind a large number,

said retired Army Maj. Gen. William L. Nash,
who commanded peacekeeping forces in Iraq in 1991 and the Balkans in 1995.
He said allied forces, now stretched thin,
are not prepared for the relief and reconstruction mission.

[To wax pedantic:
The justification for a large number was always based on history,
not on logic.
What has happened in Iraq since 2003
simply is consistent with that historical record.
Rumsfeld and his crew erred in appealing to logic rather than history
(say, Algeria in the 1950s).
Perhaps they have trouble with history
(other, of course, than 1933-45 German).]

“Public security is the enabler
for all issues pertaining to humanitarian aid and reconstruction,”
said Nash,
who recalled revenge killings and political chaos
that kept U.S. commanders scrambling in 1991.
“There are insufficient forces to give that aura of security and stability.”

War's Military, Political Goals Begin to Diverge
by Rick Atkinson and Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post, 2003-03-30

STRATEGY; A New Doctrine's Test
New York Times, 2003-04-01

UNDER FIRE; Rumsfeld's Design for War Criticized on the Battlefield
New York Times, 2003-04-01

Why Aren't There Enough Troops in Iraq?
New York Times Op-Ed, 2003-04-02

Second-Guessing the War
New York Times Editorial, 2003-04-02

[An excerpt.]

[T]he judgment by the Army's chief of staff, Gen. Eric Shinseki,
that hundreds of thousands may be needed for the occupation
is looking more prescient, and troubling.

[How’s that for an astute judgment by America’s leading newspaper?
36 days after Shinseki’s testimony to Congress,
and 13 days after the war started,
the NYT gets around to saying that
maybe the Army’s Chief of Staff knew what he was talking about.
There were 23 days between Shinseki’s testimony and the start of the war,
during which none
of the NYT’s highly paid and widely listened-to columnists and editorialists
could be bothered to find evidence (it wouldn’t have been so hard)
that he was in fact right.]

Plans for Policing a Postwar Iraq
New York Times, 2003-04-09

[The relevant extract; emphasis is added.]

General Shinseki, who is retiring in June,
has repeatedly clashed with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld,
but the general’s supporters cite his experience
as a former commander of American peacekeeping forces in Bosnia, and
warn that
Pentagon officials have underestimated the job ahead of them.

“I don’t think they understand the scope of the problem,
but I think they’re starting to see it right now
with the chaos, looting, revenge killing and political intrigue,”

said William L. Nash, a retired Army major general
whose brigade stayed in southern Iraq
more than two months after the gulf war in 1991.

“We are extraordinarily vulnerable from a force-protection standpoint
as the cop on the beat,”

said one senior retired general,
who voiced specific concern about the Iraqi capital.
“There must be urgent consideration to have the Baghdad police do that job.”

[How about that.
The general (and Army chief of staff) has some supporters for his opinions.
The ace reporting staff of the NYT has finally managed to find them.
I guess it would have been too difficult for the Times to have found some
before the war started.
Maybe their reporters were all too busy talking to the neocons.]

A World Upside Down
New York Times, 2003-04-11

[The relevant extract; emphasis is added.]

Perhaps it’s churlish to say this so soon after an impressive military victory,
we may have underestimated the risk of chaos in postwar Iraq.


Gen. Eric Shinseki, the Army chief of staff,
infuriated the Pentagon’s civilian leaders
by saying that several hundred thousand troops
might be needed to police postwar Iraq.

General Shinseki knows this subject --
he commanded peacekeeping forces in Bosnia --

and he looks smarter each day.

Army Secretary Steps Down; Had Clashed With Rumsfeld
New York Times, 2003-04-26

[This article makes no mention that White was fired,
unlike Novak’s “Don Rumsfeld's Army”.]

Don Rumsfeld's Army
By Robert D. Novak
Townhall.com, 2003-05-01 (roughly one month after the war)
(All of Novak’s 2003 columns.)

[Paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

Don Rumsfeld called Secretary of the Army Thomas White into his office last Friday afternoon
for something the defense secretary had wanted to do for months.
He fired White.
The news leaked around 5:30 p.m.,
then was officially released at 7 o’clock.
That timing guaranteed minimal news coverage,
avoiding Friday night’s TV network newscasts and
limiting newspaper attention to Saturday morning’s editions.
Rumsfeld wasn’t around Saturday, leaving that morning for Iraq.

An unstated purpose of Rumsfeld’s mission was
to interview combat generals
for impending vacancies of Army chief of staff and vice chief of staff.
With the Army secretary’s post now also vacant,
Rumsfeld can put his own people in charge of the nation’s senior service
as he proceeds with downsizing.

His personal war against the U.S. Army
is ending with
a victory as complete as Saddam Hussein’s defeat.
It is now Don Rumsfeld’s Army.

Rumsfeld is forcing a thinner Army,
and does not want a service secretary allied with
“dinosaur” generals backing “heavy” forces with plenty of armor and artillery.
That makes Rumsfeld unpopular with Army generals, but they are not alone.
He has antagonized
other services’ officers,
senators and House members,
Secretary Colin Powell and his State Department colleagues,
Pentagon journalists and even
White House aides.
Only the people idolize Rumsfeld as a victorious war minister,
pushing his popular appeal over 70 percent.

Tom White hardly bargained for so ferocious a septuagenarian defense secretary.
White had won combat decorations and a brigadier general’s star
during 23 years in the Army
and was independently wealthy after a second career in business.
At age 58, he wanted to cap his life by helping the American foot soldier.

White found himself in the middle of
Rumsfeld’s struggle with the Army high command,
headed by Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki.
Instead of backing Rumsfeld or ducking for cover,
White sided with former fellow Army officers
in their futile effort a year ago to save the Crusader mobile artillery system.
White was in opposition against
Rumsfeld’s overriding efforts to lighten the Army
as he sent it into Afghanistan without tube artillery.

So, when the Enron scandal broke and
Democrats assailed White’s blameless record as CEO of Enron Power Corp.,
he received little support from his Pentagon civilian superiors.
A call for White’s resignation from Eliot Cohen,
a defense intellectual close to the Rumsfeld circle,
signaled trouble.

In planning the Iraq campaign,
Rumsfeld and the generals argued
behind the scenes over how many troops should fight the war and
in public over how many should occupy the country.
Rumsfeld was angry enough when Shinseki predicted
“several hundred thousand” soldiers needed for occupation duties,
but became incensed when White did not contradict the general.
On the eve of war in mid-March,
Rumsfeld was ready to fire White but was dissuaded because of poor timing.
The war would be short enough for him to wait.

Rumsfeld had defied precedent by announcing 14 months in advance
Shinseki’s retirement as chief of staff in June 2003,
making him a lame duck.
Shinseki’s highly regarded heir apparent,
Vice Chief of Staff Gen. John Keane,
recently announced his retirement for reasons of family illness.

That clears the board
for Rumsfeld to pick generals who will not oppose
reducing Army strength by the equivalent of two combat divisions.
The word at the Pentagon has been that
Rumsfeld on his visit to the Gulf
will ask the theater commander, Gen. Tommy Franks,
to become chief of staff.
Franks, who publicly supported the secretary in the Afghanistan artillery debate but privately insisted on more troops for Iraq, is expected to decline.
Rumsfeld could interview
Lt. Gen. John Abizaid, commander of coalition ground forces, and
Lt. Gen. Scott Wallace, commander of the U.S. 5th Corps,
for possible long trips up the chain of command.

No previous secretary of defense
has approached Don Rumsfeld’s authority or audacity.
He brought exile Ahmad Chalabi to Iraq
against Colin Powell’s wishes and without his knowledge.
He is regarded as the hidden hand
behind the assault on Powell by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich,
who has become Rumsfeld’s confidante.
Rumsfeld’s Army adversaries soon will be gone.

Lessons for Iraq Seen in Balkan Aftermath
New York Times, 2003-05-22

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz says
his recent trip to the Balkans and Eastern Europe
holds lessons on postwar stabilization
and the transition from dictatorship to democracy
that are helping shape his views on how best to rebuild Iraq.

The experience in Bosnia
shows the danger of rushing to hold elections in postwar Iraq
simply as a show of democracy taking root,
he said in an interview after his return this week.
The threat is that dangerously divisive leaders
may be the first to take power, he said.

Mr. Wolfowitz also said that
the peacekeeping missions in Bosnia and Kosovo
underline the importance of forces
“so big and strong that nobody would dare pick a fight with us.”

“I think there may be something to the notion that
the more you have at the beginning, the faster you can draw down,”

said Mr. Wolfowitz,
who was among those who criticized Gen. Eric K. Shinseki,
the Army chief of staff,
who suggested it could take
“something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers” to stabilize Iraq.

Mr. Wolfowitz said
the Pentagon still had no final total for the troops needed to stabilize Iraq
and indicated it would not reach General Shinseki’s estimate.

[This, and other similar comments by Wolfowitz,
make a pretty strong suggestion as to where people should start looking
for who in the Bush administration
caused the required occupation force structure
to be so radically underestimated.]


Pre-War Planning For a Post-War Iraq
by (USAF) Lt. Col. Robert K. Mendenhall
Army War College Strategy Research Project, 2005-02-18

[An excerpt from the abstract:]

Disagreements and personal beliefs
at the heads of the State Department and Defense Department
lead to a failed postwar planning effort.
The situation in Iraq after the removal of Saddam Hussein
was not what the U.S. expected.
OSD believed that following the removal of Hussein from power,
U.S. and coalition forces would be greeted as liberators by the Iraqi people.


New Strategy Vindicates Ex-Army Chief Shinseki
New York Times, 2007-01-12

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

Some civilians in government and military officers say
General Shinseki’s treatment intimidated other top officers.

“It sent a very clear signal to the military leadership
about how that kind of military judgment was going to be valued,”

said Kori Schake....
“So it served to silence critics
just at the point in time when, internal to the process,
you most wanted critical judgment.”


The general, who throughout his career was known for his selfless, or at least self-effacing, bearing, did not go before Congress on that day in February 2003 planning to stir things up. But he is also not one who backs down easily; he had risen to the top of the Army after surviving grievous injury in Vietnam, and under withering cross-examination by Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, he spoke matter-of-factly.

“Something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers are probably,
you know, a figure that would be required”

to stabilize Iraq after an invasion, he said.

“We’re talking about post-hostilities control over
a piece of geography that’s fairly significant,
with the kinds of ethnic tensions that could lead to other problems,”

he added.
“And so it takes a significant ground force presence
to maintain a safe and secure environment,
to ensure that people are fed, that water is distributed,
all the normal responsibilities that go along with
administering a situation like this.”

His comments brought to a boil long-simmering tensions with Mr. Rumsfeld,
who had been scrubbing the war plans to reduce the number of invading troops.

they were politically explosive,
coming less than a month before the start of the war,
which proponents were saying confidently
would be anything but a quagmire.

Former aides to the general said
his estimate summarized back-of-the-envelope calculations
but had been based on experiences as a commander in postwar Bosnia,
where the United States sent 50,000 troops to quiet five million people,
a population one-fifth that of Iraq.
American troops in Iraq reached a peak of more than 160,000 in December 2005.
There are now about 132,000.

General Shinseki was not fired for his comments,
but his influence as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
certainly was never the same.
He retired as scheduled.

During a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Thursday,
Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs,
was asked specifically
why General Shinseki’s recommendation of more troops had not been adopted,
and he replied:
“General Shinseki was not advocating for that number as an answer.
He gave that as a guesstimate of what it might take.
So I just want to put that in historical context.”

Some critics say General Shinseki should have spoken out more
after his Senate testimony,
and others ask why he did not resign to protest the war plan
if he thought it would not assure victory.
Even in retirement he declined to join
the so-called generals’ revolt of retired officers
calling for Mr. Rumsfeld to resign last year.

The Generals’ Revolt

The public criticism by retired generals of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
is almost precedented.
This section lists some of the milestones in that development.

Note especially 2006-04-28-Carpenter.
The vitriol and abuse that has been directed at these retired generals
for merely exercising their rights as American citizens to speak out
has been unconscionable.
Tony Blankley, in particular, gives conservatism a bad name
by the attacks he has launched, directly ([1], [2]), and indirectly,
on the generals.

Let’s be clear on one thing:
President Bush, in defending his war strategy,
has consistently asserted that
he has given his generals the troop levels that they have asked for.
But General Shinseki famously and publicly asserted that
several hundred thousand troops would be required in Iraq stability operations,
based on the force ratios that had been used in the Balkans.
There was no reason to believe that Iraq would be any less difficult
(unless, I suppose, you’re a pathological liar like Paul Wolfowitz).
General Shinseki was totally marginalized by Donald Rumsfeld for his candor,
and every general officer in the Army got the message loud and clear:
If you buck SecDef Rumsfeld’s demands, Your Ass Is Grass.

Given these facts (Bush’s claims and Rumsfeld’s pressures),
it is a matter of national importance that the public know just how the
(obviously less than totally successful) war strategy was developed.
To what extent did Rumsfeld and his neocon (often Jewish and homosexual) aides override military judgments?
That is the story that the generals are trying to tell and needs to be told.
Americans should be glad that they are willing to tell it,
despite the frantic attacks on their motives.

(I think that those who are questioning the motives of the generals
need to have their own motives questioned.
Is it not the case that many, if not all, of those so busily attacking the generals
are also passionately loyal to Israel?
(E.g., Krauthammer, Cohen, Blankley ([1], [2]), and Herbits.))

Dissension Grows In Senior Ranks On War Strategy
U.S. May Be Winning Battles in Iraq But Losing the War, Some Officers Say

By Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Washington Post, Sunday, May 9, 2004; Page A01

[Excerpts from the article:]

Deep divisions are emerging at the top of the U.S. military
over the course of the occupation of Iraq,
with some senior officers beginning to say that
the United States faces the prospect of casualties for years
without achieving its goal of establishing a free and democratic Iraq.

Their major worry is that the United States is prevailing militarily
but failing to win the support of the Iraqi people.
That view is far from universal,
but it is spreading and being voiced publicly for the first time.

Army Maj. Gen. Charles H. Swannack Jr.,
the commander of the 82nd Airborne Division,
who spent much of the year in western Iraq,
said he believes that at the tactical level at which fighting occurs,
the U.S. military is still winning.
But when asked whether he believes the United States is losing, he said,
"I think strategically, we are."

Army Col. Paul Hughes,
who last year was the first director of strategic planning
for the U.S. occupation authority in Baghdad,
said he agrees with that view and noted that
a pattern of winning battles while losing a war
characterized the U.S. failure in Vietnam.
"Unless we ensure that we have coherency in our policy,
we will lose strategically,"
he said in an interview Friday.

"I lost my brother in Vietnam," added Hughes,
a veteran Army strategist who is involved in formulating Iraq policy.
"I promised myself, when I came on active duty,
that I would do everything in my power to prevent that [sort of strategic loss]
from happening again.
Here I am, 30 years later,
thinking we will win every fight and lose the war,
because we don't understand the war we're in."


Some officers say the place to begin restructuring U.S. policy
is by ousting Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld,
whom they see as responsible
for a series of strategic and tactical blunders over the past year.

Several of those interviewed said a profound anger is building within the Army
at Rumsfeld and those around him.

A senior general at the Pentagon said he believes
the United States is already on the road to defeat.
"It is doubtful we can go on much longer like this," he said.
"The American people may not stand for it -- and they should not."

Asked who was to blame, this general pointed directly at
Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz.
"I do not believe we had a clearly defined war strategy, end state and exit strategy
before we commenced our invasion," he said.
"Had someone like Colin Powell been the chairman [of the Joint Chiefs of Staff],
he would not have agreed to send troops without a clear exit strategy.
The current OSD [Office of the Secretary of Defense]
refused to listen or adhere to military advice."

Gen. Zinni: 'They've Screwed Up'

“60 Minutes” interview with retired Marine General Anthony Zinni

[Excerpts from the interview:]

Zinni broke ranks with the administration over the war in Iraq, and now,
in his harshest criticism yet,
he says senior officials at the Pentagon are guilty of dereliction of duty --
and that the time has come for heads to roll.


In [his book, Battle Ready, co-written with Tom Clancey], Zinni writes:
"In the lead up to the Iraq war and its later conduct,
I saw at a minimum, true dereliction, negligence and irresponsibility,
at worse, lying, incompetence and corruption."

“I think there was dereliction in insufficient forces being put on the ground
and fully understanding the military dimensions of the plan.
I think there was dereliction in lack of planning,” says Zinni.
“The president is owed the finest strategic thinking.
He is owed the finest operational planning.
He is owed the finest tactical execution on the ground. ...
He got the latter. He didn’t get the first two.”

A Top-Down Review for the Pentagon

By PAUL D. EATON (a retired Army major general,
he was in charge of training the Iraqi military from 2003 to 2004)

New York Times, Op-Ed, March 19, 2006

Fox Island, Wash.

DURING World War II, American soldiers en route to Britain before D-Day
were given a pamphlet on how to behave while awaiting the invasion.
The most important quote in it was this:
"It is impolite to criticize your host;
it is militarily stupid to criticize your allies."

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

In sum,
he has shown himself incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically,
and is far more than anyone else responsible
for what has happened to our important mission in Iraq.
Mr. Rumsfeld must step down.

In the five years Mr. Rumsfeld has presided over the Pentagon,
I have seen a climate of groupthink become dominant and
a growing reluctance by experienced military men and civilians
to challenge the notions of the senior leadership.

I thought we had a glimmer of hope last November when Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, faced off with Mr. Rumsfeld on the question of how our soldiers should react if they witnessed illegal treatment of prisoners by Iraqi authorities. (General Pace's view was that our soldiers should intervene, while Mr. Rumsfeld's position was that they should simply report the incident to superiors.)

Unfortunately, the general subsequently backed down and supported the secretary's call to have the rules clarified, giving the impression that our senior man in uniform is just as intimidated by Secretary Rumsfeld as was his predecessor, Gen. Richard Myers.

Mr. Rumsfeld has put the Pentagon at the mercy of his ego, his cold warrior's view of the world and his unrealistic confidence in technology to replace manpower.
As a result, the Army finds itself severely undermanned —
cut to 10 active divisions
but asked by the administration
to support a foreign policy that requires at least 12 or 14.

Only Gen. Eric Shinseki, the Army chief of staff when President Bush was elected,
had the courage to challenge the downsizing plans.
So Mr. Rumsfeld retaliated by naming General Shinseki's successor more than a year before his scheduled retirement,
effectively undercutting his authority.
The rest of the senior brass got the message, and nobody has complained since.

Now the Pentagon's new Quadrennial Defense Review shows that Mr. Rumsfeld also fails to understand the nature of protracted counterinsurgency warfare in Iraq and the demands it places on ground forces. The document, amazingly, does not call for enlarging the Army; rather, it increases only our Special Operations forces, by a token 15 percent, maybe 1,500 troops.

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.

The true professional always looks to the "What's next?" phase.
Unfortunately, the supreme commander, Gen. Tommy Franks,
either didn't heed that rule or succumbed to Secretary Rumsfeld's bullying.

We won't know which until some bright historian
writes the true story of Mr. Rumsfeld and the generals he took to war,
an Iraq version of the Vietnam War classic Dereliction of Duty by H. R. McMaster.

Last, you don't expect a secretary of defense to be criticized for tactical ineptness. Normally, tactics are the domain of the soldier on the ground. But in this case we all felt what L. Paul Bremer, the former viceroy in Iraq, has called the "8,000-mile screwdriver" reaching from the Pentagon. Commanders in the field had their discretionary financing for things like rebuilding hospitals and providing police uniforms randomly cut; money to pay Iraqi construction firms to build barracks was withheld; contracts we made for purchasing military equipment for the new Iraqi Army were rewritten back in Washington.

Donald Rumsfeld demands more than loyalty.
He wants fealty.
And he has hired men who give it.
Consider the new secretary of the Army, Francis Harvey,
who when faced with the compelling need to increase the service's size
has refused to do so.
He is instead relying on the shell game of
hiring civilians to do jobs that had previously been done by soldiers,
and thus keeping the force strength static on paper.
This tactic may help for a bit,
but it will likely fall apart in the next budget cycle,
with those positions swiftly eliminated.

So, what to do?

First, President Bush should accept the offer to resign that Mr. Rumsfeld says he has tendered more than once, and hire a man who will listen to and support the magnificent soldiers on the ground. Perhaps a proven Democrat like Senator Joseph Lieberman could repair fissures that have arisen both between parties and between uniformed men and the Pentagon big shots.

More vital in the longer term, Congress must assert itself. Too much power has shifted to the executive branch, not just in terms of waging war but also in planning the military of the future. Congress should remember it still has the power of the purse; it should call our generals, colonels, captains and sergeants to testify frequently, so that their opinions and needs are known to the men they lead. Then when they are asked if they have enough troops — and no soldier has ever had enough of anything, more is always better — the reply is public.

Our most important, and sometimes most severe, judges are our subordinates. That is a fact I discovered early in my military career. It is, unfortunately, a lesson Donald Rumsfeld seems incapable of learning.

Paul D. Eaton, a retired Army major general, was in charge of training the Iraqi military from 2003 to 2004.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

Rumsfeld's Potted Plants
By George C. Wilson

New Military Offensive Against Rumsfeld
by Jim Lobe

Another general joins ranks opposing Rumsfeld
Defense secretary 'carries too much baggage,' Swannack says

CNN interview with retired Army Major General Charles Swannack

The Generals' Revolt
by Patrick J. Buchanan

Behind the Military Revolt

By Richard Holbrooke
Washington Post, Sunday, April 16, 2006; B07

The calls by a growing number of recently retired generals for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld have created the most serious public confrontation between the military and an administration since President Harry S. Truman fired Gen. Douglas MacArthur in 1951. In that epic drama, Truman was unquestionably correct -- MacArthur, the commanding general in Korea and a towering World War II hero, publicly challenged Truman's authority and had to be removed. Most Americans rightly revere the principle that was at stake: civilian control over the military. But this situation is quite different.

First, it is clear that the retired generals -- six so far, with more likely to come -- surely are speaking for many of their former colleagues, friends and subordinates who are still inside. In the tight world of senior active and retired generals, there is constant private dialogue. Recent retirees stay in close touch with old friends, who were often their subordinates; they help each other, they know what is going on and a conventional wisdom is formed. Retired Marine Lt. Gen. Greg Newbold, who was director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the planning period for the war in Iraq, made this clear in an extraordinary, at times emotional, article in Time magazine this past week when he said he was writing "with the encouragement of some still in positions of military leadership." He went on to "challenge those still in uniform . . . to give voice to those who can't -- or don't have the opportunity to -- speak."

These generals are not newly minted doves or covert Democrats. (In fact, one of the main reasons this public explosion did not happen earlier was probably concern by the generals that they would seem to be taking sides in domestic politics.) They are career men, each with more than 30 years in service, who swore after Vietnam that, as Colin Powell wrote in his memoirs, "when our turn came to call the shots, we would not quietly acquiesce in half-hearted warfare for half-baked reasons." Yet, as Newbold admits, it happened again. In the public comments of the retired generals one can hear a faint sense of guilt that, having been taught as young officers that the Vietnam-era generals failed to stand up to Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and President Lyndon Johnson, they did the same thing.

Second, it is also clear that the target is not just Rumsfeld. Newbold hints at this; others are more explicit in private. But the only two people in the government higher than the secretary of defense are the president and vice president. They cannot be fired, of course, and the unspoken military code normally precludes direct public attacks on the commander in chief when troops are under fire. (There are exceptions to this rule, of course: In addition to MacArthur, there was Gen. George McClellan vs. Lincoln; and on a lesser note, Maj. Gen. John Singlaub, who was fired for attacking President Jimmy Carter over Korea policy. But such challenges are rare enough to be memorable, and none of these solo rebellions metastasized into a group, a movement that can fairly be described as a revolt.)

This has put President Bush and his administration in a hellish position at a time when security in Iraq and Afghanistan seems to be deteriorating. If Bush yields to the generals' revolt, he will appear to have caved in to pressure from what Rumsfeld disingenuously describes as "two or three retired generals out of thousands." But if he keeps Rumsfeld, he risks more resignations -- perhaps soon -- from generals who heed Newbold's stunning call that as officers they took an oath to the Constitution and should now speak out on behalf of the troops in harm's way and to save the institution that he feels is in danger of falling back into the disarray of the post-Vietnam era.

Facing this dilemma, Bush's first reaction was exactly what anyone who knows him would have expected: He issued strong affirmations of "full support" for Rumsfeld, even going out of his way to refer to the secretary of defense as "Don" several times in his statements. (This was in marked contrast to his tepid comments on the future of his other embattled Cabinet officer, Treasury Secretary John Snow. Washington got the point.)

In the end, the case for changing the secretary of defense seems to me to be overwhelming. I do not reach this conclusion simply because of past mistakes, simply because "someone must be held accountable." Many people besides Rumsfeld were deeply involved in the mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan; many of them remain in power, and some are in uniform.

The major reason the nation needs a new defense secretary is far more urgent. Put simply, the failed strategies in Iraq and Afghanistan cannot be fixed as long as Rumsfeld remains at the epicenter of the chain of command. Rumsfeld's famous "long screwdriver," with which he sometimes micromanages policy, now thwarts the top-to-bottom reexamination of strategy that is absolutely essential in both war zones. Lyndon Johnson understood this in 1968 when he eased another micromanaging secretary of defense, McNamara, out of the Pentagon and replaced him with Clark M. Clifford. Within weeks, Clifford had revisited every aspect of policy and begun the long, painful process of unwinding the commitment. Today, those decisions are still the subject of intense dispute, and there are many differences between the two situations. But one thing was clear then and is clear today: Unless the secretary of defense is replaced, the policy will not and cannot change.

That first White House reaction will not be the end of the story. If more angry generals emerge -- and they will -- if some of them are on active duty, as seems probable; if the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan does not turn around (and there is little reason to think it will, alas), then this storm will continue until finally it consumes not only Donald Rumsfeld. The only question is: Will it come so late that there is no longer any hope of salvaging something in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Richard Holbrooke, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, writes a monthly column for The Post.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company

Why Iraq Was a Mistake
A military insider sounds off against the war and the "zealots" who pushed it

by Lieutenant General Gregory Newbold (USMC, Ret.)

Time, Apr. 17, 2006

Two senior military officers are known to have challenged Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on the planning of the Iraq war. Army General Eric Shinseki publicly dissented and found himself marginalized. Marine Lieut. General Greg Newbold, the Pentagon's top operations officer, voiced his objections internally and then retired, in part out of opposition to the war. Here, for the first time, Newbold goes public with a full-throated critique:

In 1971, the rock group The Who released the antiwar anthem Won't Get Fooled Again. To most in my generation, the song conveyed a sense of betrayal by the nation's leaders, who had led our country into a costly and unnecessary war in Vietnam. To those of us who were truly counterculture--who became career members of the military during those rough times--the song conveyed a very different message. To us, its lyrics evoked a feeling that we must never again stand by quietly while those ignorant of and casual about war lead us into another one and then mismanage the conduct of it. Never again, we thought, would our military's senior leaders remain silent as American troops were marched off to an ill-considered engagement. It's 35 years later, and the judgment is in: the Who had it wrong. We have been fooled again.

From 2000 until October 2002, I was a Marine Corps lieutenant general and director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. After 9/11, 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 retired from the military four months before the invasion, in part because of my opposition to those who had used 9/11's tragedy to hijack our security policy. Until now, I have resisted speaking out in public. I've been silent long enough.

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. The willingness of our forces to shoulder such a load should make it a sacred obligation for civilian and military leaders to get our defense policy right. They must be absolutely sure that the commitment is for a cause as honorable as the sacrifice.

With the encouragement of some still in positions of military leadership, I offer a challenge to those still in uniform: a leader's responsibility is to give voice to those who can't--or don't have the opportunity to--speak. Enlisted members of the armed forces swear their oath to those appointed over them; an officer swears an oath not to a person but to the Constitution. The distinction is important.

Before the antiwar banners start to unfurl, however, let me make clear--I am not opposed to war. I would gladly have traded my general's stars for a captain's bars to lead our troops into Afghanistan to destroy the Taliban and al-Qaeda. And while I don't accept the stated rationale for invading Iraq, my view--at the moment--is that a precipitous withdrawal would be a mistake. It would send a signal, heard around the world, that would reinforce the jihadists' message that America can be defeated, and thus increase the chances of future conflicts. If, however, the Iraqis prove unable to govern, and there is open civil war, then I am prepared to change my position.

I will admit my own prejudice: my deep affection and respect are for those who volunteer to serve our nation and therefore shoulder, in those thin ranks, the nation's most sacred obligation of citizenship. To those of you who don't know, our country has never been served by a more competent and professional military. For that reason, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's recent statement that "we" made the "right strategic decisions" but made thousands of "tactical errors" is an outrage. It reflects an effort to obscure gross errors in strategy by shifting the blame for failure to those who have been resolute in fighting. The truth is, our forces are successful in spite of the strategic guidance they receive, not because of it.

What we are living with now is the consequences of successive policy failures. Some of the missteps include: the distortion of intelligence in the buildup to the war, McNamara-like micromanagement that kept our forces from having enough resources to do the job, the failure to retain and reconstitute the Iraqi military in time to help quell civil disorder, the initial denial that an insurgency was the heart of the opposition to occupation, alienation of allies who could have helped in a more robust way to rebuild Iraq, and the continuing failure of the other agencies of our government to commit assets to the same degree as the Defense Department. My sincere view is that the commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions--or bury the results.

Flaws in our civilians are one thing; the failure of the Pentagon's military leaders is quite another. Those are men who know the hard consequences of war but, with few exceptions, acted timidly when their voices urgently needed to be heard. When they knew the plan was flawed, saw intelligence distorted to justify a rationale for war, or witnessed arrogant micromanagement that at times crippled the military's effectiveness, many leaders who wore the uniform chose inaction. A few of the most senior officers actually supported the logic for war. Others were simply intimidated, while still others must have believed that the principle of obedience does not allow for respectful dissent. The consequence of the military's quiescence was that a fundamentally flawed plan was executed for an invented war, while pursuing the real enemy, al-Qaeda, became a secondary effort.

There have been exceptions, albeit uncommon, to the rule of silence among military leaders. Former Army Chief of Staff General Shinseki, when challenged to offer his professional opinion during prewar congressional testimony, suggested that more troops might be needed for the invasion's aftermath. The Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense castigated him in public and marginalized him in his remaining months in his post. Army General John Abizaid, head of Central Command, has been forceful in his views with appointed officials on strategy and micromanagement of the fight in Iraq--often with success. Marine Commandant General Mike Hagee steadfastly challenged plans to underfund, understaff and underequip his service as the Corps has struggled to sustain its fighting capability.

To be sure, the Bush Administration and senior military officials are not alone in their culpability. Members of Congress--from both parties--defaulted in fulfilling their constitutional responsibility for oversight. Many in the media saw the warning signs and heard cautionary tales before the invasion from wise observers like former Central Command chiefs Joe Hoar and Tony Zinni but gave insufficient weight to their views. These are the same news organizations that now downplay both the heroic and the constructive in Iraq.

So what is to be done? We need fresh ideas and fresh faces. That means, as a first step, replacing Rumsfeld and many others unwilling to fundamentally change their approach. The troops in the Middle East have performed their duty. Now we need people in Washington who can construct a unified strategy worthy of them. It is time to send a signal to our nation, our forces and the world that we are uncompromising on our security but are prepared to rethink how we achieve it. It is time for senior military leaders to discard caution in expressing their views and ensure that the President hears them clearly. And that we won't be fooled again.

Rumsfeld's Fall Drags Hawks in Its Wake
by Jim Lobe

Generals’ Bold Words May Spell a Future for U.S. Military
by Georgie Anne Geyer

These generals have at least started to put military stones of integrity
in the road down which McNamara and Rumsfeld have led us.
They have begun the real questioning
of America wasting itself in "invented wars,"
in which our survival was not remotely at stake.

In this, they deserve our fervent thanks,
plus prayers that some lessons finally will be learned.

The Generals' Revolt
There are many reasons for Donald Rumsfeld to leave.
Finger-pointing by retired officers shouldn't be one.
Washington Post Editorial, 2006-04-18

[Paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

PRESIDENT BUSH’S stubborn support for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has
compounded U.S. troubles in Iraq,
prevented a remedy for the criminal mistreatment of foreign detainees and
worsened relations with a host of allies.
Now it is deepening the domestic political hole in which the president is mired.
Half a dozen senior retired generals have publicly criticized Mr. Rumsfeld,
touching off another damaging and distracting controversy
at a critical moment in the war.
Thanks in part to his previous misjudgments,
Mr. Bush has no easy way out.

Mr. Bush would have been wise to accept Mr. Rumsfeld’s resignation
when he offered it nearly two years ago.
At that time it was clear that the defense secretary
was directly responsible for the policy of abuse toward detainees
that resulted in the shocking Abu Ghraib photographs,
as well as far worse offenses against detainees.
By then, too,
Mr. Rumsfeld’s contributions to growing trouble in Iraq were evident:
  • his self-defeating insistence on minimizing the number of troops;

  • his resistance to recognizing and responding to emerging threats,
    such as the postwar looting and the Sunni insurgency;

  • his rejection of nation-building,
    which fatally slowed the creation of a new political order.
Had Mr. Bush replaced Mr. Rumsfeld in 2004,
the administration might have avoided
the defense secretary’s subsequent and similar mistakes,
such as his slowness to acknowledge
the emerging threat of Shiite militias and death squads
last year.

The president’s signal failure to hold his defense chief accountable
no doubt has helped to produce
the extraordinary -- and troubling --
eruption of public discontent from the retired generals.
A couple of those who have spoken out,
including retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni,
former head of U.S. Central Command,
opposed the war all along,
but three others served in top positions in Iraq.
Much of their analysis strikes us as solid --
but the rebellion is problematic nonetheless.

It threatens the essential democratic principle
of military subordination to civilian control --

the more so because a couple of the officers
claim they are speaking for some still on active duty.

[And just why is that?
There are serious problems, in my opinion, with the view of the WP,
but they are too lengthy to discuss here.]

Anyone who protested the pushback of uniformed military
against President Bill Clinton’s attempt to allow gays to serve
ought to also object to
generals who criticize the decisions of a president and his defense secretary
in wartime.
If they are successful in forcing Mr. Rumsfeld’s resignation,
they will set an ugly precedent.
Will future defense secretaries have to worry about
potential rebellions by their brass,
and will they start to choose commanders
according to calculations of political loyalty?

In our view Mr. Rumsfeld’s failures should have led to his departure long ago.
But he should not be driven out by a revolt of generals, retired or not.

Seven days in April - Generals prepare to "revolt" against Rumsfeld
By Tony Blankley
Washington Times, 2006-04-18

Court of Inquiry
By Tony Blankley
Washington Times, 2006-04-19

[This column appeared both as an op-ed in the Washington Times
(of which Blankely was then Editorial-Page editor)
and at TownHall.com.
Here is its full text;
paragraph numbers (from the printed text) and emphasis are added.]

the Washington Post published three quarters of an exceptionally fine editorial titled “The Generals’ Revolt.”
Referring to the retired generals who are speaking out,
the key paragraph reads:
“Much of their analysis strikes us as solid --
but the rebellion is problematic nonetheless.
It threatens the essential democratic principle
of military subordination to civilian control --
the more so because a couple of the officers
claim they are speaking for some still on active duty.
Anyone who protested the pushback of uniformed military
against President Bill Clinton’s attempt to allow gays to serve
ought to also object to
generals who criticize the decisions of a president and his defense secretary
in wartime.
If they are successful in forcing Mr. Rumsfeld’s resignation,
they will set an ugly precedent.
Will future defense secretaries have to worry about
potential rebellions by their brass,
and will they start to choose commanders
according to calculations of political loyalty?
In our view, Mr. Rumsfeld’s failures should have led to his departure long ago.
But he should not be driven out by a revolt of generals,
retired or not.”
As I wrote a column yesterday that also harshly criticized the revolting generals -- retired and active
(“Seven Days in April -- Generals prepare to ‘revolt’ against Rumsfeld,”
Washington Times) --
obviously I heartily agreed with the Post’s similar stance.

But the reason I argue
that the Post editorial is only three fourths fine
is that it does not recommend any curative action.
All they call for is that people should “object.”
But an editorial from the newspaper of record in our capital
that has identified the rebellion as
“[threatening] the essential democratic principle
of military subordination to civilian control”
is shirking its responsibility
by stopping short of recommending necessary action.

if The Washington Post thinks -- as I do -- that
we are seeing before our eyes

a coordinated act of multiple insubordination
by a group of generals,

then such action should not go unsanctioned.
The dangerous precedent must not be permitted to stand --
whether or not one agrees with
their substantive criticism of their civilian superiors.

When the United States teaches Third-World militaries how to be professional,
one of the key instructions is that
the officer corp should be taught to be loyal
to their government and its constitution --
never personally loyal to the current leader.
(Hitler famously required an oath of personal loyalty to him
from the Wehrmacht officer corp.)
And it is on exactly that point that the Post correctly fears
a dangerous precedent is in the process of being set.
They rightly fear that
based on what is currently happening to Secretary Rumsfeld,
“will future defense secretaries
have to worry about potential rebellions by their brass,
and will they start choosing commanders
according to calculations of political loyalty?”

The obvious answer to their question is yes --
unless the current insubordinations (if that is what they be)
are promptly and severely sanctioned.
Once generals start getting selected for their personal loyalty to a president,
we are a dangerous step closer to the plague of Caesarism
that not only corrupts governments around the world today --
but ended the Roman Republic and brought on Rome’s Imperial Age.

Can’t happen here?
Take a chill pill?
But bad habits start very innocently and slowly corrupt a person or a country.
For example, who would have thought 20 years ago that
if a congressman stood up and said that
our laws regarding our border and immigration should be enforced,
he would be broadly accused of racism?
And yet today,
after 20 years of incrementally increasing indifference to our border laws,
such is the case.

Things have been getting increasingly verbally sloppy in the military
for some time.
In the lead up to the Iraq War,
senior officers were on background in major newspaper articles
leaking bits and pieces of then currently debated secret war plans.
In our intelligence services -- NSA, CIA, DIA, ONI, etc --
similar loose lips have gone on unsanctioned so long
that it is now virtually standard operating procedure.

Rome was neither built, nor destroyed in a day.
But it was destroyed.

Of course, sitting around the bar at the officer’s mess
and letting off steam
about the secretary of defense or the president
is a time-honored practice.
But coordinated attacks on the secretary of defense
from active-duty generals
to retired generals
to cable television and the New York Times
is not a time-honored practice -- not yet.

And while I would have wished that the Washington Post editorial
had given action guidance (and thus political cover) to our government,
the real responsibility for vindicating
the principle of military subordination to the civilian government
lies with the president and secretary of defense.

Politically unpleasant as it may be,
they should promptly order a court of inquiry
pursuant to Article 135 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice
to determine if, as is widely suspected, or if not,
the current military clamor for Secretary Rumsfeld to be fired
involves any acts of insubordination.

Tony Blankley served as press secretary
to then Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich.
He is the author of
The West’s Last Chance: Will We Win the Clash of Civilizations? .

A Case for Accountability

By John Batiste, (Major General, USA, retired)
Washington Post, Wednesday, April 19, 2006; A17

We have the best military in the world, hands down. We must complete what we started in Iraq, and there is no doubt in my mind that we have the military capacity to do that, provided the political will is there. Our success in Iraq is due to the incredible performance of our servicemen and women. I believe that I have an obligation and a duty to speak out.

I had the opportunity to observe high-level policy formulation in the Pentagon and experience firsthand its impact on the ground. I have concluded that we need new leadership in the Defense Department because of a pattern of poor strategic decisions and a leadership style that is contemptuous, dismissive, arrogant and abusive. This dismissive attitude has frayed long-standing alliances with our allies inside and outside NATO, alliances that are fundamental to our security and to building strong coalitions. It is time to hold our leaders accountable. A leader is responsible for everything an organization does or fails to do. It is time to address the axis of arrogance and the reinforcing of strategic failures in decision-making.

We went to war with the wrong war plan. Senior civilian leadership chose to radically alter the results of 12 years of deliberate and continuous war planning, which was improved and approved, year after year, by previous secretaries of defense, all supported by their associated chairmen and Joint Chiefs of Staffs. Previous planning identified the need for up to three times the troop strength we committed to remove the regime in Iraq and set the conditions for peace there. Building the peace is a tough business; for a host of reasons, it requires boots on the ground.

Our current leadership decided to discount professional military advice and ignore more than a decade of competent military planning. It failed to consider military lessons learned, while displaying ignorance of the tribal, ethnic and religious complexities that have always defined Iraq. We took down a regime but failed to provide the resources to build the peace. The shortage of troops never allowed commanders on the ground to deal properly with the insurgency and the unexpected. What could have been a deliberate victory is now a long, protracted challenge.

The national embarrassment of Abu Ghraib can be traced right back to strategic policy decisions. We provided young and often untrained and poorly led soldiers with ambiguous rules for prisoner treatment and interrogation. We challenged commanders with insufficient troop levels, which put them in the position of managing shortages rather than leading, planning and anticipating mission requirements. The tragedy of Abu Ghraib should have been no surprise to any of us.

We disbanded the Iraqi military. This created unbelievable chaos, which we were in no position to control, and gave the insurgency a huge source of manpower, weapons and military experience. Previous thinking associated with war planning depended on the Iraqi military to help build the peace. Retaining functioning institutions is critical in the rebuilding process. We failed to do this.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld claims to be the man who started the Army's transformation. This is not true. Army transformation started years before this administration came into office. The secretary's definition of transformation was to reduce the Army to between five and seven divisions to fund programs in missile defense, space defense and high-tech weapons. The war on terrorism disrupted his work, and the Army remains under-resourced at a time when it is shouldering most of the war effort. Boots on the ground and high-tech weapons are important, and one cannot come at the expense of the other.

Civilian control of the military is fundamental, but we deserve competent leaders who do not lead by intimidation, who understand that respect is a two-way street, and who do not dismiss sound military advice. At the same time, we need senior military leaders who are grounded in the fundamental principles of war and who are not afraid to do the right thing. Our democracy depends on it. There are some who advocate that we gag this debate, but let me assure you that it is not in our national interest to do so. We must win this war, and we cannot allow senior leaders to continue to make decisions when their track record is so dismal.

For all these reasons, we need to hold leaders accountable. There is no question that we will succeed in Iraq. To move forward, we need a leader with the character and skills necessary to lead. To date, this war has been a strategic failure. On the ground, operationally and tactically, we are winning the war on the backs of our great soldiers, Marines, airmen, sailors and their families. Americans deserve accountability in our leaders. We need a fresh start.

The writer, a retired Army major general, commanded the First U.S. Infantry Division in Iraq. He is now president of Klein Steel Service Inc. in Rochester, N.Y.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company

The Rumsfeld detractors; What do the generals' service records say?
by Stephen E. Herbits
(a homosexual Jew
(to apply what he recomends for the generals to himself))
Washington Times, 2006-04-20, page A21 (Tony Blankley's oped page)

[Paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

Where is the rest of the story
on the recent attacks on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
by a few in the retired military?
The news media will better meet its obligations to the public
when it seeks more depth of experience and information
about these generals-turned-Rumsfeld critics.

Having had the privilege of participating in Defense Department transitions now
for four presidents,
with my own experience in military affairs going back to 1967,
I can offer such information.

The first observation to be made is that
now that these generals have stepped out of their uniforms
to make a personal and conscious entry into the political arena
by calling for the resignation of a Cabinet official

[They “stepped out of their uniforms” the day that they retired,
which was long before they
“[made] a personal and conscious entry into the political arena”.]
they are opening their own records and their own performance --
perhaps even their own motivations --
to public scrutiny.
[That seems fair enough.]
This is not only fair game for the media,
but absolutely essential for a public seeking to understand the full debate.

My experience points to several relevant issues --
some of which I personally know apply to some of those making the attacks.

First, while Mr. Rumsfeld has worked within
the long tradition of civilian control of the military
to modernize and strengthen
the promotion and assignment system for senior uniformed officers,
there are some who have actively tried to obstruct his efforts
and could be acting as an extension of that opposition.
For instance, within weeks of Mr. Rumsfeld’s arrival in 2001,
eight nominations -- two from each service --
were sent to the new secretary
for one of the nine top senior military officers in command positions.

Upon examination, however, a simple fact leapt off the pages.
The secretary had really been given one selection
and seven non-comparable alternates,
who, if not less qualified, were clearly less preferable than the one.
When it happened a second time, the secretary instituted a new process.
This new process has been in place for nearly five years
and has required significantly more scrutiny, vetting and long-term planning.

Over that time, many generals
who might have been promoted under the old system
did not make it in the new one.
The most telling indicator here is that

of the top 40 senior military positions today,
the Army now holds the fewest joint positions in its history.

For too many years,

the Army had simply not produced the needed talent
for such critical positions.

The effects of such cronyism had taken its toll.
Mr. Rumsfeld’s changes corrected that problem;
they also provoked the resentment of some top Army brass.

There are

a group of Army officers
who adamantly oppose
change, modernization, rationalization, transformation
or whatever one wants to call
the move to create a military for the future
rather than a battery of tank divisions for the past.

Many of these former officers stick together on retirement.
[Unlike Jews and homosexuals (Herbits is both),
who never stick together.]

They obtain the highest-level briefings from the active Army
and offer their opinions, if not more, on everything from weapons to promotions.
[I.e., institutional knowledge.]
The Army can gain greatly from their experience, of course.
But this clique is effectively a powerful, hidden informal force
outside the Defense Department structure and
outside the national political system.

There is at least one of the attackers
who was passed over for promotion
because of personal behavior which did not clear a routine morals examination.
Not a problem;
that is why top officers are vetted at each promotion and each assignment.
But shouldn’t the public be permitted to know this information
about those attacking the civilians in charge
so that they may better judge the reasons behind the reasons?

Finally, there is the style issue.
Anyone who has worked closely with this secretary will tell you that he is tough.
What do they mean?
He acts like a prosecutor.
It is often said that you had better not present policy options to this secretary
if you are not thoroughly prepared.
I was held to the same standard -- and it is the right one.

There is no way the secretary can be an expert
on every single issue that comes before him.
But he can ask questions and he can drive down into the facts and analyses
as few others can.
It is through that process that he gains confidence in those making the recommendations so he can put his stamp on them.
Or the opposite.
Some interpret the tough sessions as personally affronting.
Others, such as I, believe it is in the best service of this country.

It will also be a service to this country
when the media digs a bit below these attacks
to examine the generals who wish to play
a political role in our civilian society.
The public can then understand who is making the attacks and why.
Arguably, such an understanding is helpful in any public debate.
It is inarguably essential in this one.

Stephen E. Herbits has served five presidents as a military affairs adviser
since 1967,
including the Defense Department transition in 2001 and post-September 11 reforms.

Why didn’t these trash-talking generals resign?
by Thomas Lipscomb
DC Examiner, 2006-04-21

[The DC Examiner is a free daily paper in the DC metropolitan area,
both available at various locations and delivered to homes in high-income areas.
While surely not as significant as the Washington Post and Washington Times,
it does receive some attention.
Here is an article which appeared in its VIEWPOINTS (i.e., opinion) section on 2006-04-21.
For a trace of it on the web, click here.
Evidently the most prominent newspaper which published it
was the Chicago Sun-Times.

Paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

There is a great furor over
whether the opinions of a number of retired high-ranking officers
should tip the balance
in the ongoing debate over the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

But the question really isn’t whether Rumsfeld should resign.
He has already resigned several times;
President George W. Bush tore up his letters of resignation.
Rumsfeld clearly is taking responsibility for his actions on a continuing basis.

Now that a galaxy of flag officers are raining down on Rumsfeld
demanding his resignation,
no one seems to have bothered to ask which, if any, of these generals
ever submitted his own resignation
in protest against the conduct of the Iraqi war,
or the bumpy transition we are locked in now.

The demands for Rumsfeld’s resignation began with
retired General Anthony Zinni.
But I had an exchange regarding the issue of resignation over policy
with Zinni while he was serving on the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
an exchange that makes his position today appear bizarre, to say the least.

The occasion was the regularly scheduled annual dinner at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York
in honor of the Joint Chiefs.
Over the years, the CFR has morphed
from a small but influential voice in international policy issues
to a glorified Rotary Club for Park Avenue investment bankers and lawyers.
The once acerbic off-the-record questioning
that rattled many of its guest of honor
has degenerated into
a love fest hosted largely for star-struck millionaires.

After listening to subtle and not-so-subtle digs at national defense policy
from retired Army General Eric Shinseki and Zinni,
and appreciative sniggers from the audience,
I jotted a question down on the back of a card
and passed it to former Navy Secretary John Lehman, who was at my table:
“If you have so many significant disagreements with national defense policy,
what have you done about it?”

Lehman wrote back that if I asked that question, he’d buy me lunch,
and passed it to me with a smile.
So I asked it.

“What do you expect us to do?” an angry Zinni replied.

“Resign,” I said.
“Cyrus Vance did.
And he was Carter’s secretary of state.”

“You are questioning my cajones, and I am a Marine!”
Zinni shot back as the millionaire fan club gasped at my disrespect.

Zinni was right.
I was.
I still am—his and any general officers who apparently decided discretion was the better part of a nice retirement parade with a medal or two and a couple of offers of board positions.

At least Wesley Clark got himself fired and summarily retired as NATO commander in comparative disgrace
for submarining Oxford classmate President Bill Clinton’s
(and his Defense Secretary Bill Cohen’s)
policies in the Balkans.

As a book publishing executive for many years,
I have always welcomed the opportunity to make a buck by publishing
“now it can be told revelations” from those formerly in power.
And timing those “revelations” to promote a forthcoming book
is one of the oldest tricks in the trade.

But if Generals Greg Newbold, John Batiste, Zinni and others
believed Rumsfeld’s polices have been so dire
that they are calling for his resignation,
their opinions would have carried far more weight
if they had stated them at some personal cost to themselves,
for example, resigning in protest while on active service.
That action might have also carried
some evidence of the courage Americans expect
of the highest-ranking officers of its uniformed services.

And as the author of a forthcoming book,
Zinni will have the additional burden of having to explain
how we are expected to tell
whether he is more committed to the best interests of the American people
or his own pocketbook.

[Before the Iraq war,
there were any number of books published, mainly by Jews,
such as William Kristol, Kenneth Pollack, and Lawrence Kaplan,
advocating the war.
I don’t recall anyone, ever, asking such a question of those authors.]

Investigative reporter Thomas Lipscomb
is a senior fellow at the Annenberg Center for the Digital Future.
He also founded Times Books.

Charles Krauthammer,
"I-know-better" generals get on the slippery slope

Young Officers Join the Debate Over Rumsfeld
New York Times, 2006-04-23

Honor in Discretion
Conduct unbecoming from retired generals.

Wall Street Journal, 2006-04-23

[Paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

One could say much to defend Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
against the recent attacks of half a dozen retired generals--
that the indictments are either
old (“not enough troops,” a trope from April 2003) or
vague (“ignoring the Powell doctrine”),
plodding (“violating the principles of war,” a hazy collection of often-ignored, self-contradictory military platitudes), or
downright silly (being disrespectful in meetings,
as though generals would never, ever,
be caught dressing down subordinates in front of their peers).
Generals, one might note, may yield to
vanity and pique,
institutional parochialism and thwarted ambition,
limited introspection
and all the other foibles of proud men.
One might, finally, observe that in the unhappy generals’ account of Iraq
there is no alternative strategy proposed,
no fellow general held to account by name,
scant acceptance of personal responsibility for what went awry on their watch,
little repudiation of contrary statements made on active duty.

Still, let us stipulate, for the purpose of argument,
elements of truth to their fundamental charge of strategic mismanagement,
attribute to them only pure motives,
and note that serious public figures--Sen. John McCain, chiefly--
have indeed called for the beleaguered secretary’s resignation,
which he in turn, according to press reports,
has twice offered the president, to no avail.
Is this behavior on the part of the retired generals proper?
After all, this is a politically cleaner deed
than endorsing candidates for the presidency,
a partisan act that meets the silent disapproval of most retired generals,
who know that such behavior
taints their reputations for politically neutral professionalism.

Even making these assumptions
and conceding the narrowly defined nonpartisanship of these denunciations,
for recently retired general officers
to publicly denounce a sitting secretary of defense is
destructive of good order and discipline in the armed forces, and
prejudicial to functional civil-military relations.
It is not the same thing as speaking candidly before Congress,
telling all to civilian or military scholars collecting oral histories,
or indeed writing one’s own memoirs
after the heat of contemporary passions has cooled,
and the individuals in question have left public office.
Rather, this kind of denunciation means leaping into a political fight,
and tackling the civilians still charged with the nation’s defense.
Not the charges themselves, but the arrogation of responsibility is the problem:
When things go wrong at the top the civilians should, no doubt, take the heat.
But not this way.

Begin by noting that public denunciation will almost surely fail,
because no president who thinks much of his role as commander in chief
will throw the top Pentagon civilian overboard
to please officers of any kind.
If he did, he would
establish the precedent that secretaries of defense
serve at the pleasure of their subordinates,
overturn the most fundamental feature of civilian control of the military, and
neuter his own effectiveness in the conduct of national defense.

[Oh, what bullshit.
The generals surely did not think that
any decision would be made on their opinion alone.
Rather, it was one publicly stated addition to the decision-making process,
which surely would include
private consultations between
the White House,
uniformed and civilian members of DOD,
and, hopefully, distinguished members of past administrations and officers,
today’s version of the famous Wise Men.
In other words,
Cohen has merely set up a straw man so that he can knock it down.]

Even if ineffectual, however, these declarations do great harm.

Retired generals never really leave the public service--
that’s why, after all, we still call them “general.”

[Oh? Is that why former ambassadors are still called “ambassador”
long after they have gone back to the for-profit sector?
In fact,
generals, governors, senators, congressman, cabinet secretaries, and,
in some parts of the country, all levels of officers
(e.g., Captain Baker, Colonel Sanders)
retain their title in many social settings
even after they no longer hold the specified position,
as a courtesy.]

[The “Cohen Rule”:]
They set examples for those junior to them in rank,
and still on active duty.
Imagine, for example,
the disgruntled major in the Office of the Secretary of Defense
deciding to subvert policy with which he disagrees
by, say, leaking confidential memoranda to the press.
“Not the same thing,” one might respond,
but remember that angry majors do not, for the most part,
make discriminating moral philosophers.

[Let’s stop and examine Cohen’s argument here in some detail.
He argues that when
retired generals make on-the-record criticism of current policy and/or officials,
that that sets the example for
officers on active duty to make anonymous leaks to the media.
Why is this a bad argument?
First, consider the differences in the situations:
retired versus active-duty,
high-rank versus low-rank,
identified versus anonymous.
Hardly comparable at all, except perhaps to the fevered mind of Eliot Cohen.
Second, let’s see how selectively Mr. Cohen applies his argument.
How about when retired national security advisers
(Zbigniew Brzezinski for example)
criticize the policies of the current administation?
Does that give license for mid-level NSC staffers to start leaking?
Of course not, but if we apply the “Cohen Rule” it would.
Why does he not apply his rule there?

Why, then, does Cohen apply his rule only to generals,
and not to high-level civilian officials?]

The retired generals have, in effect and perhaps unwittingly,
made a case for disloyalty.
Indeed, their most troubling belief is that
an officer’s civilian superiors--
and the secretary of defense stands in the chain of command
just below the president--
do not merit the loyalty that they, as military superiors,
would deserve and expect.

[Once an officer is retired, he is out of the chain of command.
He has no superiors in the chain-of-command sense.]

This controversy has already, predictably,
produced anti-Rumsfeld generals and pro-Rumsfeld generals,
as earlier controversies produced the pro- and anti-Clinton
and pro- and anti-Bush generals.
Such squabbling among flag officers brings discredit upon the lot.
Furthermore, a politician who, after these and like events,
does not think carefully about
whether a military subordinate will likely turn on him
the moment he takes off the uniform
must be exceptionally naive.
No matter how low an opinion a general has of politicians,
he is a fool if he thinks them unaware of their own interests.
And those interests will lead them to promote flunkies
over the prickly but able officers they conceive themselves to be.

[That is not at all as clear as Cohen claims.
The civilian leaders of DOD will be judged by
the success of the organizations that they build,
reason enough to put the most able military in charge of them.
When things are successful, there is plenty of credit for those wanting it.]

A general is equally a fool
if he thinks he can engage in partisan polemic
without becoming a political target,
with all the miseries for himself,
and degradation to his honor and profession,
that that entails.
Generals have not always enjoyed
the high reputation for integrity, independence and dispassionate judgment
they do today.
[Is that why so few generals were elected president
in pre-twentieth-century America?]

That regard stems in large part from
the example of soldiers such as Gen. George C. Marshall,
chief of staff of the U.S. Army during World War II,
who held his tongue in public,
even as he argued vehemently with (and often loathed) his president in private.
Accustom the American people
to the public sniping and bickering of generals,
and generals will soon find that
the respect on which they now count has evaporated.

[And refuse to give America your best counsel,
and go along with Pollyannish, rose-colored views to please civilians,
and watch the same thing happen.
Just look at how the CIA escaped criticism
for going along with neocon views on Iraq.]

Again, the civilians brought us to this,
and in particular
politicians of both parties
manipulating soldiers as campaign props, and
using disgruntled generals to badmouth a president of the opposing party.
Democrats and Republicans alike have behaved disgracefully--
and the generals are the only ones who can limit the damage.

It remains up to them,
no matter what, or how well grounded,
their dismay about civilian leaders,
to grit their teeth
and maintain an honorable and discreet silence,

leaving it to those responsibility it is--
the president, the Congress and ultimately the voters--
to decide whether and when a secretary of defense to leave his office.

I am a voter too, and a citizen.
If generals,
who know more about what is going on in the military than most anyone else,
DoD civilians, military reporters, think-tank “experts,” and academics included,
feel that the public is being sold a bill of goods by the above,
then I sure as hell want to know about it.]

Mr. Cohen is a professor at Johns Hopkins University and the author of
Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime
(Free Press, 2002).

Free Speech for Generals
By Ted Galen Carpenter

Americans Ponder Rumsfeld's Resignation
Some results from a poll of Americans

[An excerpt from the article:]

Adults in the United States are divided on whether
their president should replace one of the key members of his administration,
according to a poll by Opinion Research Corporation released by CNN.
39 per cent of respondents believe
George W. Bush should fire defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld,
while 35 per cent disagree.

Stakes high in battle between Rumsfeld, generals
By James Kitfield
[This is an excellent overview, from a fairly neutral perspective.]

The testimony of Major General John R.S. Batiste (Ret.)
An Oversight Hearing on the Planning and Conduct of the War in Iraq
(Senate Democratic Policy Committee Hearing, 2006-09-25,)

[An excerpt from General Batiste’s testimony follows.
Paragraph numbers, emphasis, and comments are added.
I have taken the liberty in two places of arguing,
not, hopefully, with General Batiste’s military expertise,
which is unquestioned in my mind,
but rather about what it is realistic to expect the American military,
no matter how well-resourced, to accomplish in Iraq.]

Donald Rumsfeld is not a competent wartime leader.
He knows everything, except “how to win.”
He surrounds himself with like-minded and compliant subordinates
who do not grasp
  • the importance of the principles of war

  • the complexities of Iraq

  • the human dimension of warfare.
Secretary Rumsfeld
  • ignored 12 years of U.S. Central Command
    deliberate planning and strategy,

  • dismissed honest dissent, and

  • browbeat subordinates
to build “his plan,”
which did not address the hard work to
  • crush the insurgency,

  • secure a post-Saddam Iraq,

  • build the peace, and

  • set Iraq up for self-reliance.
[General Batiste seems to believe that
those were feasible goals for the U.S. military in Iraq.
I beg to disagree.
No matter what the U.S. military did, no matter how well-resourced,
we would, inevitably, have been seen by the Muslim world
as invaders and occupiers.
There are some tasks that are simply beyond military solution.
Reshaping the culture, values, and social system of a Muslim society
is one of them.
And without such fundamental societal reshaping,
an American military presence in Iraq
would simply be regarded as a foreign antibody,
to be attacked with all available societal resources.]

He refused to acknowledge and even ignored the potential for the insurgency,
which was an absolute certainty.
Bottom line,
his plan allowed the insurgency to take root and metastasize to where it is today.
Our great military lost a critical window of opportunity to secure Iraq
because of inadequate troop levels and capability required to
  • impose security,

  • crush a budding insurgency, and

  • set the conditions for the rule of law in Iraq.
We were undermanned from the beginning,
lost an early opportunity to secure the country,
and have yet to regain the initiative.
To compensate for the shortage of troops,
commanders are routinely forced to manage shortages
and shift coalition and Iraqi security forces
from one contentious area to another in places like
Baghdad, An Najaf, Tal Afar, Samarra, Ramadi, Fallujah, and many others.
This shifting of forces is generally successful in the short term,
but the minute a mission is complete
and troops are redeployed back to the region where they came from,
insurgents reoccupy the vacuum
and the cycle repeats itself.
Troops returning to familiar territory find themselves
fighting to reoccupy ground which was once secure.
We are all witnessing this in Baghdad and the Al Anbar Province today.
I am reminded of the myth of Sisyphus.
This is no way to fight a counter-insurgency.
Secretary Rumsfeld’s plan did not set our military up for success.

Secretary Rumsfeld’s dismal strategic decisions
resulted in the unnecessary deaths of
American servicemen and women, our allies, and the good people of Iraq.
He was responsible for America and her allies
going to war with the wrong plan and
a strategy that did not address the realities of fighting an insurgency.
  • violated fundamental principles of war,

  • dismissed deliberate military planning,

  • ignored the hard work to build the peace after the fall of Saddam Hussein,

  • set the conditions for Abu Ghraib and other atrocities
    that further ignited the insurgency,

  • disbanded Iraqi security force institutions when we needed them most,

  • constrained our commanders
    with an overly restrictive de-Ba’athification policy, and

  • failed to seriously resource
    the training and equipping of the Iraqi security forces
    as our main effort.
He does not comprehend the human dimension of warfare.
The mission in Iraq is all about
breaking the cycle of violence and
the hard work to change attitudes and
give the Iraqi people alternatives to the insurgency.
You cannot do this with precision bombs from 30,000 feet.
This is tough, dangerous, and very personal work.
Numbers of boots on the ground and hard-won relationships matter.
What should have been a deliberate victory
is now an uncertain and protracted challenge.

Secretary Rumsfeld built his team by
systematically removing dissension.

America went to war with “his plan”
and to say that he listens to his generals is disingenuous.
We are fighting with his strategy.
  • reduced force levels to unacceptable levels,

  • micromanaged the war, and

  • caused delays
    in the approval of troop requirements and the deployment process,
    which tied the hands of commanders
    while our troops were in contact with the enemy.
At critical junctures,
commanders were forced to focus on managing shortages
rather than leading, planning, and anticipating opportunity.
Through all of this,
our Congressional oversight committees were all but silent
and not asking the tough questions,
as was done routinely during both World Wars, Korea, and Vietnam.
Our Congress shares responsibility
for what is and is not happening in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Our nation’s treasure in blood and dollars continues to be squandered
under Secretary Rumsfeld’s leadership.
Losing one American life due to incompetent war planning and preparation
is absolutely unacceptable.
The work to remove Saddam Hussein and his regime was a challenge,
but it pales in comparison to the hard work required to build the peace.
The detailed deliberate planning to finish the job in Iraq
was not considered as Secretary Rumsfeld
forbade military planners from developing plans for securing a post-war Iraq.
At one point,
he threatened to fire the next person
who talked about the need for a post-war plan.

Our country and incredible military were not set up for success.

Our country has yet to mobilize for a protracted, long war.
I believe that Secretary Rumsfeld and others in the Administration
did not tell the American people the truth
for fear of losing support for the war in Iraq.

[That really is the key point.
But General Batiste takes too limited a view.
It is not just the Bush Administration who did not reveal the truth
about what the war could be assumed to cost.
Our entire “elite,” almost without exception,
failed to tell the American people what the war could be expected to cost.
Anyone with the least understanding of history
(at least as it was taught before the days of political correctness)
knew for certain that
Americans bringing the “gifts” of
feminist values and approval of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians
would never be welcomed as “liberators”
in the conservative Muslim Middle East.
What a lie we were told, and so many Americans refused to see through.
Don’t blame Bush and Company.
Blame the American “elite”
for its failure to provide an adequate picture of what could be expected,
and the American people for tolerating a patently improbable projection.]

Secretary Rumsfeld failed to address the full range of requirements for this effort, and the result is
  • one percent of the population shouldering the burdens,

  • continued hemorrhaging of our national treasure
    in terms of blood and dollars,

  • an Army and Marine Corps that will require
    tens of billions of dollars to reset
    after we withdraw from Iraq,

  • the majority of our National Guard brigades no longer combat-ready,

  • a Veterans Administration which is underfunded by over $3 billion, and

  • America arguably less safe now than it was on September 11, 2001.
If we had seriously laid out and considered
the full range of requirements for the war in Iraq,
we would likely have taken a different course of action
that would have
maintained a clear focus on our main effort in Afghanistan,
not fueled Islamic fundamentalism across the globe, and
not created more enemies than there were insurgents.


Questions from Senators

SEN. SCHUMER: Thank you....
My first question is to General Batiste,
and it goes to the general atmosphere in the military these days.
I think the thing that troubles me most of all about what you talked about --
and we've heard this in the past, not only in the DOD but in the administration --
is almost a head-in-the-sand attitude,
a view that there should not be debate,
that when somebody has an alternative suggestion,
that they are to be disparaged rather than listened to.
And so my question is,
do most of your colleagues, many of whom can't speak,
who are still in the military,
share it?
Is it different than it was 10 years ago?
And third, if you took, you know,
the hundreds of high-ranking one- and two- and three-star generals,
would most of them, if they could speak,
be as frustrated about the lack of ability
to debate the issues and get the truth out?

GEN. BATISTE: Thank you, sir.
There's no joy in the Dept. of the Army; I'll speak for that.
I know a lot of great officers that continue to serve our nation.
This business of
arrogance and dismissiveness and contemptuous behavior
has certainly transcended the department.
An organization reflects its leader.

SEN. SCHUMER: Is it worse than it's been in the past?

GEN. BATISTE: Oh, it's absolutely worse.
Now, I caveat that by saying I've been out of the service now for --

SEN. SCHUMER: I understand.

GEN. BATISTE: -- 11 months.
But I'm in close contact with a lot of great people.
I have yet to be contacted
by any serving general or admiral or flag officer to say,
"Stop what you're doing."
And as you know, I've been speaking out
with some regularity since the 4th of April.

SEN. SCHUMER: Have many of them contacted you and said, "Keep going"?

GEN. BATISTE: Absolutely.

SEN. SCHUMER: And so it's a pretty good surmise here that
if we could bring active generals who are in your position,
that they would be quite discontent with how things are being run right now,
and particularly discontent that they're not listened to
unless they sort of are rubber stamps, just agree with what's come from on top.
Is that unfair?

GEN. BATISTE: Sir, it's not unfair.
The great case study we should all study for the next 100 years is how
U.S. Central Command was coerced
into producing the strategy and the war plan
that we went to war on in March of 2003.

We ought to take that thing apart with a vengeance
and figure out what happened and why;
good after-action review.

The testimony of Major General Paul D. Eaton (Ret.)
on Secretary Rumsfeld

An Oversight Hearing on the Planning and Conduct of the War in Iraq
(Senate Democratic Policy Committee Hearing, 2006-09-25,)

[An excerpt from General Eaton’s testimony follows.
Paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

3. The Man in Charge

The President charged Secretary Rumsfeld to prosecute this war,
a man who has proven himself incompetent
strategically, operationally, and tactically.

Mr. Rumsfeld came into his position with an extraordinary arrogance,
and an agenda —
to turn the military into a lighter, more lethal armed force.
In fact, Rumsfeld’s vision is a force designed to meet
a Warsaw Pact type force more effectively.

We are not fighting the Warsaw Pact.
We are fighting an insurgency,
a distributed low-tech, high-concept war
that demands greater numbers of ground forces, not fewer.
Mr. Rumsfeld won’t acknowledge this fact
and has failed to adapt to the current situation.
He has tried and continues to fight this war on the cheap.

I decided to write my New York Times op-ed piece critical of Mr. Rumsfeld,
printed March 19, 2006,
after I read the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR).
The QDR is a flawed document that represents a poor compromise,
reducing the size of ground forces
at the moment we need to mobilize far greater ground combat units.
It was clear that the architect of the mistakes of the past
continued to make flawed decisions
that would have an even more lasting impact on the security of the nation.
Mr. Rumsfeld and his immediate team must be replaced
or we will see two more years of extraordinarily bad decision making
by the President’s most visible cabinet member.
Allow me to offer a recent quote from David Brooks of The New York Times:
“When asked if he should have expanded the military back in 2003,
to give the current commanders more manpower,
Bush used words that were uncharacteristically jargon-ridden:
‘The notion of warfare has changed, and therefore,
we’re modulizing (sic) the army so that
it becomes more operational and easier to move.’
That sounds more like a transformation briefing paper than the president.”

The President is not well served by his Secretary of Defense,
a man history will not handle kindly.

For Democrats, Welcome Words on Rumsfeld -- if Not the War
By Dana Milbank
Washington Post, 2006-09-27

The General's Misstep
By Eugene Robinson
Washington Post, 2006-10-17

[While dealing with British General Richard Dannatt,
the chief of staff of the British army,
rather than American generals,
it reveals the same hostility on the part of American opinion-leaders
to the idea that generals, active or retired,
should publiclly venture into policy debates.]

A Soldier's Soldier, Outflanked
Supporters Say Politics, Insurgency Tied Retiring Commander's Hands
By Ann Scott Tyson and Josh White
Washington Post, 2006-12-21


Politics During Wartime
By Michael DeLong
New York Times Op-Ed, 2007-04-27

[Paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.]

Tampa, Fla.

AS the deputy commander at United States Central Command from 2001 to 2003,
I represented the military in dealing with politicians
regarding the capture and rescue of Pfc. Jessica D. Lynch in Iraq,
and thus I can speak with authority about what really happened
after her maintenance convoy got lost near Nasiriya in 2003
and she was taken prisoner.
I feel compelled to respond to
accusations that have been made in recent days by several politicians.

The initial reports from the field regarding Private Lynch stated that
she had gone down fighting,
had emptied her weapon
and that her actions were heroic.
Based on these reports,
politicians from her home state, West Virginia,
wanted the military to award her the Medal of Honor.

Their request rose up the ladder until finally it reached me.

But initial combat reports are often wrong.
Time must always be taken to thoroughly investigate all claims.
In the case of Private Lynch, additional time was needed,
since she was suffering from combat shock and loss of memory;
facts, therefore, had to be gathered from other sources.
The military simply didn’t know at that point
whether her actions merited a medal.

This is why, when the request landed on my desk,
I told the politicians that we’d need to wait.
I made it clear that no one would be awarded anything
until all of the evidence was reviewed.

The politicians did not like this.
They called repeatedly, through their Congressional liaison,
and pressured us to recommend her for the medal,
even before all the evidence had been analyzed.
I would not relent and we had many heated discussions.

The politicians repeatedly said that
a medal would be good for women in the military;

I responded that the paramount issue was finding out what had really happened.

As it turned out, after a careful review of the facts,
the military concluded that the initial reports were incorrect.
Ballistic tests on Private Lynch’s weapon demonstrated that
she had never fired;
she had merely been a passenger in a vehicle that went astray,
came under fire and crashed.
Private Lynch was badly hurt, and in her condition, she could not fight back.
Her actions were understandable and justifiable,
but they could not be labeled heroic.

(It’s important to make clear, too, that Private Lynch has never claimed to be a hero. As she told Congress earlier this week, the “story of the little girl Rambo from the hills who went down fighting” was not true.)

Accusations that the military played up Private Lynch’s rescue
for its own publicity purposes are also false.

As someone who witnessed the operation from the planning to the execution,
I can tell you it was one of the most spectacularly executed rescues
I’ve seen in my 36-year career.
Our receiving word of Private Lynch’s rescue —
and subsequently, news of the rescue of the other prisoners —
was a high point of the war for all of us at CentCom.

None of us were in it for the publicity: we did it to save a comrade. Period. We never ordered the operation filmed — the troops who executed it decided to film it on their own. Ultimately, it was good that they did, not for publicity purposes, but because that film can now be used to train soldiers.

A nation needs heroes. Hero-making in itself is not a bad thing.
But hero-making without grounds is.
In the case of Ms. Lynch,
overzealous politicians and a frenzied press distorted facts.
For these politicians to step forward now
and accuse the military of capitalizing on the Jessica Lynch story
is utter hypocrisy.

Michael DeLong, a retired Marine lieutenant general,
is the author, with Noah Lukeman, of
A General Speaks Out:
The Truth About the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Army Officer Accuses Generals of ‘Intellectual and Moral Failures’
By Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post, 2007-04-27

An active-duty Army officer is publishing a blistering attack on U.S. generals,
saying they have botched the war in Iraq
and misled Congress about the situation there.

“America’s generals have repeated the mistakes of Vietnam in Iraq,”
charges Lt. Col. Paul Yingling,
an Iraq veteran who is deputy commander of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment.
“The intellectual and moral failures . . .
constitute a crisis in American generals.”


The article, “General Failure,”
is to be published today in Armed Forces Journal.
[AFJ is a commercial publication,
not part of the military’s system of professional journals.]

Its appearance signals the public emergence of a split inside the military
between younger, mid-career officers and the top brass.

Many majors and lieutenant colonels
have privately expressed anger and frustration
with the performance of Gen. Tommy R. Franks, Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez,
Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno and other top commanders in the war,
calling them slow to grasp the realities of the war
and overly optimistic in their assessments.


Until now, charges of incompetent leadership
have not been made as publicly by an Army officer
as Yingling does in his article.

“After going into Iraq with too few troops
and no coherent plan for postwar stabilization,
America’s general officer corps
did not accurately portray the intensity of the insurgency
to the American public,” he writes.
“For reasons that are not yet clear,
America’s general officer corps
underestimated the strength of the enemy,
overestimated the capabilities of Iraq’s government and security forces and
failed to provide Congress
with an accurate assessment of security conditions in Iraq.”


Yingling advocates overhauling the way generals are picked
and calls for more involvement by Congress.
To replace today’s “mild-mannered team players,” he writes,
Congress should create incentives in the promotion system
to “reward adaptation and intellectual achievement.”

He also recommends that Congress
review the performance of senior generals as they retire
and exercise its power to retire them at a lower rank
if it deems their performance inferior.
The threat of such high-profile demotions
would restore accountability among top officers, he contends.
“As matters stand now,
a private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences
than a general who loses a war,”
he states.

[This sounds to me like a disastrous invitation
to the politicization of the military.
Do we want more overt political meddling
like that mentioned by General DeLong?
It will be hard for Congress to stop its oversight with purely military matters.]

A failure in generalship
By Lt. Col. Paul Yingling
Armed Forces Journal, 2007-05

[I wish I had more time right now to discuss this in depth,
but some quick comments:

From what I can see Yingling is too critical of the generals.
In the first place, they have been handed “Mission Impossible.”
The military has a can-do spirit;
it is difficult to tell your superiors that a mission is impossible.
But in the case of our mission in Iraq,
extremely knowledgeable analysts such as former General Odom
have declared it (as conceived by some of the politicians) all but unwinnable.

But it is difficult for the active military
to publicly support this point of view.
If you do so,
it can always be spun that you are just confessing your own inadequacies.
And there are plenty of media figures
all too eager to demonize any military leader
who does not support their plans for domination and occupation
of parts of the Middle East.]

For the second time in a generation,
the United States faces the prospect of defeat at the hands of an insurgency.
In April 1975, the U.S. fled the Republic of Vietnam,
abandoning our allies to their fate at the hands of North Vietnamese communists.
In 2007, Iraq’s grave and deteriorating condition
offers diminishing hope for an American victory and
portends risk of an even wider and more destructive regional war.

These debacles are not attributable to individual failures,
but rather to a crisis in an entire institution:
America’s general officer corps.
[This is, in my (ex O-3) opinion, bunk.]
America’s generals have failed to prepare our armed forces for war
and advise civilian authorities on the application of force
to achieve the aims of policy.
[You can’t successfully give advice
to someone who doesn’t want your advice.]

The argument that follows consists of three elements.
generals have a responsibility to society
to provide policymakers with a correct estimate of strategic probabilities.
America’s generals in Vietnam and Iraq failed to perform this responsibility.
remedying the crisis in American generalship
requires the intervention of Congress.

Armies do not fight wars; nations fight wars.
War is not a military activity conducted by soldiers,
but rather a social activity that involves entire nations.
Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz noted that
passion, probability and policy
each play their role in war.
Any understanding of war that ignores one of these elements
is fundamentally flawed.

The passion of the people
is necessary to endure the sacrifices inherent in war.
Regardless of the system of government,
the people supply the blood and treasure required to prosecute war.
The statesman must stir these passions
to a level commensurate with the popular sacrifices required.
When the ends of policy are small,
the statesman can prosecute a conflict
without asking the public for great sacrifice.
Global conflicts such as World War II
require the full mobilization of entire societies
to provide the men and materiel necessary
for the successful prosecution of war.
The greatest error the statesman can make
is to commit his nation to a great conflict
without mobilizing popular passions
to a level commensurate with the stakes of the conflict.


Generals opposing Iraq war break with military tradition
By Mark Sauer
San Diego Union-Tribune, 2007-09-23

The generals acted independently,
coming in their own ways to the agonizing decision to defy military tradition
and publicly criticize the Bush administration
over its conduct of the war in Iraq.

What might be called The Revolt of the Generals
has rarely happened in the nation’s history.

In op-ed pieces, interviews and TV ads,
more than 20 retired U.S. generals have broken ranks with the culture of
salute and keep it in the family.
they are criticizing the commander in chief and other top civilian leaders
who led the nation into what the generals believe
is a misbegotten and tragic war.

The active-duty generals followed procedure,
sending reports up the chain of command.
The retired generals beseeched old friends in powerful positions
to use their influence to bring about a change.

When their warnings were ignored,
some came to believe it was their patriotic duty to speak out,
even if it meant terminating their careers.

It was a decision none of the men approached cavalierly.
Most were political conservatives who had voted for George W. Bush
and initially favored his appointment of Donald Rumsfeld as defense secretary.

But they felt betrayed by Bush and his advisers.


Military Reporters and Editors, 2007-10-12

Ex-Commander Says Iraq Effort Is ‘a Nightmare’
New York Times, 2007-10-13

[An excerpt:]

In a sweeping indictment of the four-year effort in Iraq, the former top commander of American forces there called the Bush administration’s handling of the war “incompetent” and said the result was “a nightmare with no end in sight.”

Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, who retired in 2006 after being replaced in Iraq after the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, blamed the Bush administration for a “catastrophically flawed, unrealistically optimistic war plan” and denounced the current addition of American forces as a “desperate” move that would not achieve long-term stability.

“After more than four years of fighting, America continues its desperate struggle in Iraq without any concerted effort to devise a strategy that will achieve victory in that war-torn country or in the greater conflict against extremism,” General Sanchez said at a gathering of military reporters and editors in Arlington, Va.

He is the most senior war commander of a string of retired officers who have harshly criticized the administration’s conduct of the war. While much of the previous condemnation has been focused on the role of former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, General Sanchez’s was an unusually broad attack on the overall course of the war.

But his own role as commander in Iraq during the Abu Ghraib scandal leaves him vulnerable to criticism that he is shifting the blame from himself to the administration that ultimately replaced him and declined to nominate him for a fourth star, forcing his retirement.

Though he was cleared of wrongdoing in the abuses after an inquiry by the Army’s inspector general, General Sanchez became a symbol — with civilian officials like L. Paul Bremer III, the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority — of ineffective American leadership early in the occupation.

General Sanchez said he was convinced that the American effort in Iraq was failing the day after he took command, in June 2003. Asked why he waited until nearly a year after his retirement to voice his concerns publicly, he responded that it was not the place of active-duty officers to challenge lawful orders from the civilian authorities.

General Sanchez, who is said to be considering writing a book, promised further public statements criticizing officials by name.

“There has been a glaring and unfortunate display of incompetent strategic leadership within our national leaders,” he said, adding that civilian officials have been “derelict in their duties” and guilty of a “lust for power.”


General Sanchez’s main criticism was leveled at the Bush administration, which he said failed to mobilize the entire United States government, not just the military, to contribute meaningfully to reconstructing and stabilizing Iraq.

“National leadership continues to believe that victory can be achieved by military power alone,” he said. “Continued manipulations and adjustments to our military strategy will not achieve victory. The best we can do with this flawed approach is stave off defeat.”

Asked after his remarks what strategy he favored, General Sanchez ticked off a series of steps—from promoting reconciliation among Iraq’s warring sectarian factions to building effective Iraqi army and police units — that closely paralleled the list of tasks frequently cited by the Bush administration as the pillars of the current strategy.

General Sanchez, now a Pentagon consultant who trains active-duty generals, said the administration’s biggest failure had been its lack of a detailed strategy for achieving those steps and “synchronizing” the military and civilian contributions.

“The administration, Congress and the entire inter-agency, especially the State Department, must shoulder responsibility for the catastrophic failure, and the American people must hold them accountable,” he said.

His talk on Friday at the annual convention of the Military Reporters and Editors Association was not the first time that General Sanchez has been critical of the administration.

He said in an interview in June with Agence France-Presse that the best the United States could achieve in Iraq would be stalemate. And he drew a standing ovation at a gathering of veterans last month when he argued that the country’s problems in Iraq were the result of a “crisis in national political leadership.”


Ex-Commander In Iraq Faults War Strategy
'No End in Sight,' Says Retired General Sanchez
By Josh White
Washington Post, 2007-10-13

[The beginning and end:]

Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, who led U.S. forces in Iraq for a year after the March 2003 invasion, accused the Bush administration yesterday of going to war with a “catastrophically flawed” plan and said the United States is “living a nightmare with no end in sight.”

Sanchez also bluntly criticized the current troop increase in Iraq, describing it as “a desperate attempt by the administration that has not accepted the political and economic realities of this war.”

“The administration, Congress and the entire interagency, especially the State Department, must shoulder the responsibility for this catastrophic failure, and the American people must hold them accountable,” Sanchez told military reporters and editors. “There has been a glaring unfortunate display of incompetent strategic leadership within our national leaders.”

Sanchez lashed out specifically at the National Security Council, calling officials there negligent and incompetent, without offering details. He also assailed war policies over the past four years, which he said had stripped senior military officers of responsibility and thus thrust the armed services into an “intractable position” in Iraq.

“The best we can do with this flawed approach is stave off defeat,” Sanchez said in a speech to the Military Reporters and Editors’ annual conference in Crystal City. “Without bipartisan cooperation, we are destined to fail. There is nothing going on in Washington that would give us hope.”

He faulted the administration for failing to “communicate effectively that reality to the American people.”


Sanchez opened by criticizing the U.S. news media, saying he was unfairly labeled “a liar” and “a torturer” because of the Abu Ghraib scandal, and he alleged that the media have lost their sense of ethics. He said that members of the media blow stories out of proportion and are unwilling to correct mistakes, and that the “media environment is doing a great disservice to the nation.”

Miscellaneous Articles


Your commanders oppose this war – and you should, too
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2003-01-20


Imperialism corrupts the occupier.
From India in the 19th century to Algeria in the 20th to Iraq in the 21st,
occupation duty corrupts civilized armies.

By Eric S. Margolis

Copyright The American Conservative, 2003-12-15
[But links and some comments have been added.]

“I thought we should act as their protector ...
not to try to get them under our heel ...
But now ... we have got into a war,
a quagmire from which
each fresh step renders the difficulty of extraction immensely greater.”

These words were not written
by a critic of President George W. Bush’s grand misadventure in Iraq
but by Mark Twain, who was outraged by
America’s occupation and bloody “pacification”
of the Philippines from 1900 to 1910
Yet Twain’s prescient words are as apropos today as they were a century ago.

If there is one lesson the 19th and 20th centuries teach,
it is that colonial ventures are ultimately unsuccessful and
often corrupt the nations and armies that wage them.
Unfortunately, in President Bush’s “bring ’em on” White House,
history, that doleful testament of mankind’s past follies,
is considered irrelevant.

So America unfortunately seems destined to repeat
the errors and brutalities of previous imperial powers,
including its own forgotten colonial adventures
in the Western Hemisphere and Asia.

[See, for example, the Wikipedia article on American Empire.]

The Bush administration keeps disguising
the true nature of the occupation of Iraq:
first we were fighting an urgent preventive war to save the U.S. [W1];
then rebranding it
a liberation;
human-rights intervention [W3];
humanitarian rebuilding;
war against Islamic terrorists [W2]; and, most recently,
altruistic mission to implant democracy in the Middle East.

[Compare Wolfowitz’s explanation of the reasons.
The “[W#]” above are keys into Wolfowitz’s three reasons.]

The rest of the world, however,
recognizes the Iraq invasion and occupation for what it is:
a return to imperialism.
In Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Russia, Holland, Portugal, and Japan,
memories of their past colonial eras are still vivid and painful.
They see a naïve, unlettered Bush administration
rushing into places where old colonial powers no longer dare or care to tread.

Americans have simply forgotten what colonial wars are like.
After seizing the Philippines from Spain,
U.S. forces waged a bloody, 10-year war
against independence-minded Muslims of the South known as Moros,
in which over 100,000 civilians (some sources say 500,000) died,
something rarely taught in American schools.
the Bush White House has dispatched U.S. Special Forces
to fight latter-day Moros,
Islamic separatists and bandits in Mindanao,
whom the U.S. mistakenly brands Islamic terrorists.

France’s 132-year rule over Algeria produced
one of the ugliest guerilla wars of the 20th century,
in which French colonial troops killed between 600,000 and one million Arabs.
After Paris gave its generals carte blanche
to break the FLN (Algerian resistance),
the French Army unleashed a ferocious campaign
of mass murders, collective punishments, assassinations, and tortures—
crimes that still shake France to this day.

In my idealistic student days,
I served as a European courier for the FLN and
organized pro-Algerian demonstrations.
La Main Rouge, a secret terror group created by French intelligence,
murdered scores of people who aided the Algerian cause and
repeatedly threatened my life.
A former French army general, Paul Aussaresses,
recently created an uproar by boasting he had
murdered senior FLN leaders and
routinely tortured suspects—often to death—
to break rebel networks during the famous Battle of Algiers [cf. le flic].

By the end of the Algerian war,
the French army had covered itself with shame and dishonor.
As one paratroop general famously remarked,
“We committed worse crimes than the Gestapo and S.S.
It took a decade after Algeria for the morale of the French Army to be restored.

Most colonial wars share common elements.
The imperial power always discovers that it
lacks sufficient troops to police the new colony and
must employ local mercenary forces,
as the U.S. now does in Afghanistan.
Imperial Britain and France were masters at raising native regiments:
Britain had its Indian sepoys, Sikhs, and Gurkhas;
France its dashing Sphais and tough Moroccan infantry.
[Not to forget the French Foreign Legion.]

Imperial powers often attempt to dragoon or bribe vassal states
into sending troops to aid the “pacification.”
German and Canadian units in Afghanistan are an example of the former;
rent-an-army Polish, Romanian, and Ukrainian units sent to Iraq, the latter.
The Persian Emperor Xerxes did the same
when he convoked his vassal kings for the invasion of Greece.

Imperialists invariably find
rebellious tribes, repressed religions, or restive regions
ready to rise up against the central government and join the colonial forces.
Civilian administration and colonial armies are usually filled by minorities,
like Hindus in Sri Lanka, Maronites in Lebanon, Sikhs in India, or Sunnis in Iraq.

At first, resistance to invasion is sporadic and scattered.
But, in time, many resistance groups become more combat effective.
Imperial troops initially retain strict discipline.
after suffering growing numbers of attacks and mounting losses
from a faceless enemy hidden among civilians,
they inevitably vent fear and frustration
on captives, individual civilians, then on entire villages.

Such brutality naturally sparks more local resistance,
which continues the cycle of rising violence,
bringing more repression by imperial forces, and so on.

This writer saw in the Indian-ruled portion of disputed Kashmir how
the Indian Army’s generally well-disciplined troops gradually deteriorated—
under pressure of ambushes, mined roads, and sniping—
into thugs who
burned villages,
gang-raped women,
conducted mass killings,
tortured suspects, and
brutalized Muslim civilians, whom they had grown to hate.

The same holds true of the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza,
the archetype of America’s mess in Iraq.
This writer accompanied Israeli troops when they first invaded Lebanon in 1982
and, as a former soldier,
was impressed by their discipline and restraint.
But after a few months of occupation duty in dangerous south Lebanon
and the occupied territories,
the world’s most intelligent, best-educated soldiers
began to become brutalized
by constant pinprick attacks and ever-present tension,
shooting down women and children and razing homes
with ever decreasing compunction.

Israeli officers have repeatedly warned their government that
the armed forces are being corrupted by occupation duty
and have turned a sword into a club.
A small number of courageous Israeli soldiers and aviators
have risked prison by refusing to serve in the occupied territories.

The Dutch, among the world’s most civilized people,
never tire of recounting their nation’s suffering under Nazi occupation,
yet rarely mention their own ruthless East Indies colonial wars from 1815–1942
In the sultanate of Aceh alone, in the 1870s,
Dutch soldiers and Christian mercenary troops from Ambon
slaughtered 60.000 Muslim Acehnese and sent large numbers into forced labor.
The Dutch East Indian Army became notorious for cruelty and brutality.

Even British imperial rule,
which Americans know only through the rose-tinted lens of old Hollywood epics,
could be savage.
During the great Sepoy uprising of 1857,
rebelling Indians were
tied by the British to the mouths of cannon and blown apart or
hanged en masse along main roads.
Chinese were slaughtered in great numbers by British troops
or forced into opium addiction.

Japan’s Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere
(the 1940s one, not today’s)
also began benignly,
with the Japanese invasion forces describing themselves
as “liberators” of Asian peoples from European colonialism—
which, in truth, they were.
But the callousness of the Japanese Imperial Army in China and the Philippines,
its arrogance and lack of understanding of local ways,
quickly turned the “liberators” into hated oppressors and targets of attack.

Russia’s record as a colonial occupier in Chechnya
is also a warning to Americans in Iraq.
The wars in Chechnya turned into a nightmare of atrocities:
torture, mass killings, bombings, murder, rape, banditry, and looting.
Russia’s demoralized soldiers in Chechnya resort to
heavy drinking, drugs, and routinely brutalize civilians.
Russian losses in the Caucasus are now approaching 10,000 dead,
66 percent of officially stated losses in the Afghanistan debacle.

What these and other colonial wars teach is that
the finest, best-disciplined armies
soon become corrupted
by police duties and anti-guerilla operations.

Lack of strategic and political purpose
will quickly destroy an occupying army’s morale,
as happened to U.S. forces in Vietnam.

American soldiers in Iraq are already showing
the same disturbing signs of colonial malaise.
[Recall this was published in late 2003.]
They have become trigger-happy and increasingly shoot innocent civilians.
Iraqis are being treated like a dangerous, conquered people
rather than “liberated” allies.
Increasingly brutal roundups and reprisals seem likely to follow.

Unless Washington
gets other unwilling nations to help police its new colony or
hands Iraq to the UN,
half the U.S. Army [and Marines] will be forced to stay in Iraq
and fight a low-grade, but extremely expensive, guerilla war.
The longer U.S. forces stay,
the more they will be resented and opposed by Iraqis.

So far, major resistance is only coming from the Sunni minority.
But once majority Shi’ites
are convinced Saddam Hussein will not return to power,
it will be only a matter of time
before they also turn violently against Iraq’s American rulers.

America was born through a war waged against colonialism.
The last thing its armed forces should be doing
is enforcing colonial rule on other nations.
The old-world image of the United States—
decency and law, titanic energy, liberty, and respect for human rights—
is fast being replaced by the ugly icon of
heavily armed U.S. troops kicking down the doors of Iraqi homes.
We seem fated to repeat history’s mistakes.

Recall the above was written in 2003-11 and published in 2003-12,
before the events at
For accounts of the events at Haditha,
which so clearly realize what Margolis’s article depicted,
see, e.g.,
“War's Risks Include Toll on Training Values” by Mark Mazzetti, and
“Getting Used to War as Hell” by John F. Burns.
The NYT’s editorial board, on the other hand,
places the blame on, naturally, the military brass
in their 06-04 editorial “A Hard Look at Haditha”.

For Margolis’s own response to the events in Haditha,
see 2006-06-19-Margolis.


by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2004-01-02

[The beginning of the article; emphasis is added.]

General Anthony Zinni, formerly chief of Central Command,
who voted for George W. Bush in the last election
and describes himself as a “Hagel-Lugar-Powell Republican,”
has been among the most vocal and visible
of the military critics of the Iraq war.

Last year, he spoke for many top military personnel when he warned that
an invasion of Iraq
would unleash forces
that could prove difficult if not impossible to control:

“You could inherit the country of Iraq, if you’re willing to do it –
if our economy is so great that
you’re willing to put billions of dollars into reforming Iraq.
If you want to put soldiers
that are already stretched so thin all around the world
and add them into a security force there forever,
like we see in places like the Sinai.
If you want to fight with other countries in the region
to try to keep Iraq together as Kurds and Shiites try and split off,
you’re going to have to make a good case for that.
And that’s what I think has to be done, that’s my honest opinion.”
[Speech before the Florida Economic Club, 2002-08-23.]

Zinni was right.
So was Gen. Merrill A. McPeak.
So was Marine Gen. John J. Sheehan.
So was Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf.
So was former Navy Secretary and much-decorated Marine veteran James Webb.
So was Commander Maj. Gen. Patrick Cordingley.
So were a host of other top officers, both retired and active duty,
who saw another Vietnam – or worse –
in the neocons’ plans for postwar Iraq.



Massacre of Civilians Was Inevitable
by Eric Margolis
[This after-the-fact analysis, by Margolis, of the events at Haditha
was presaged by two and a half years by his 2003-12-15-Margolis.]


At an Army School for Officers, Blunt Talk About Iraq
New York Times, 2007-10-14

[An excerpt:]

As the war grinds through its fifth year, Fort Leavenworth has become a front line in the military’s tension and soul-searching over Iraq. Here at the base on the bluffs above the Missouri River, once a frontier outpost that was a starting point for the Oregon Trail, rising young officers are on a different journey — an outspoken re-examination of their role in Iraq.

Discussions between a New York Times reporter and dozens of young majors in five Leavenworth classrooms over two days — all unusual for their frankness in an Army that has traditionally presented a facade of solidarity to the outside world — showed a divide in opinion. Officers were split over whether Mr. Rumsfeld, the military leaders or both deserved blame for what they said were the major errors in the war: sending in a small invasion force and failing to plan properly for the occupation.

But the consensus was that not even after Vietnam was the Army’s internal criticism as harsh or the second-guessing so painful, and that airing the arguments on the record, as sanctioned by Leavenworth’s senior commanders, was part of a concerted effort to force change.


A rift over U.S. troop cuts in Iraq
By Gordon Lubold
Christian Science Monitor, 2008-01-17

While General Petraeus is in no hurry for more than five brigades to leave,
Secretary Gates weighs a bigger drawdown.

Gates Seeks Troop Estimates
New York Times, 2008-01-18

[An excerpt.]

[Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the Army chief of staff,]
who was General Petraeus’s predecessor in Iraq,
said the ground force
was “being so consumed” by deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan
that the Army was having “difficulty sustaining the all-volunteer force.”

At White House, a Second Look at Iraq Troop Cuts
New York Times, 2008-01-30

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

Within the Pentagon, senior officers have struggled to balance
the demands of the Iraq war against
the competing demands
to recruit, train and retain a robust and growing ground force.
That institutional tension is personified by two of Mr. Bush’s top generals,
David H. Petraeus, the top commander in Iraq, and
George W. Casey Jr., the Army chief of staff.
General Petraeus’s mission is to win the war;
General Casey must also worry about the health of the whole Army.

“We’re concerned about the health of the force as well,
the most important thing is that they succeed in Iraq,”

said one senior White House official.

Army Is Worried by Rising Stress of Return Tours to Iraq
New York Times, 2008-04-06

Bush Listens Closely To His Man in Iraq
By Michael Abramowitz
Washington Post, 2008-04-06

In White House Deliberations on War, Gen. Petraeus Has a Privileged Voice

Generally Speaking
New York Times Week in Review, 2008-04-06

Iraq may be President Bush’s war,
but Gen. David H. Petraeus has become its front man:
a clear-speaking, politically savvy, post-Vietnam combat veteran
with a Ph.D. from Princeton.
Given the failures that have plagued the mission from the start,
he may yet be Mr. Bush’s best hope
for sustaining public support for an unpopular war once his presidency ends.



Generals Seek to Reverse Obama Withdrawal Decision
by Gareth Porter
Antiwar.com, 2009-02-03

[The last two-thirds of the article; empahsis is added.]

The opening argument by the Petraeus-Odierno faction
against Obama’s withdrawal policy
was revealed the evening of the Jan. 21 meeting
when retired Army Gen. Jack Keane,
one of the authors of the Bush troop surge policy
and a close political ally and mentor of Gen. Petraeus,
appeared on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
to comment on Obama’s pledge on Iraq combat troop withdrawal.

Keane, who had certainly been briefed by Petraeus
on the outcome of the Oval Office meeting,
argued that implementing such a withdrawal of combat troops
would “increase the risk rather dramatically over the 16 months.”
He asserted that it would jeopardize the “stable political situation in Iraq”
and called that risk “not acceptable.”

The assertion that Obama’s withdrawal policy
threatens the gains allegedly won
by the Bush surge and Petraeus’ strategy in Iraq
will apparently be the theme of
the campaign that military opponents are now planning.

Keane, the Army vice-chief of staff from 1999 to 2003,
has ties to a network of active and retired four-star Army generals,
and since Obama’s Jan. 21 order on the 16-month withdrawal plan,
some of the retired four-star generals in that network
have begun discussing a campaign to blame Obama’s troop withdrawal from Iraq
for the ultimate collapse of the political “stability”
that they expect to follow U.S. withdrawal,
according to a military source familiar with the network’s plans.

The source says the network,
which includes senior active duty officers in the Pentagon,
will begin making the argument to journalists covering the Pentagon that
Obama’s withdrawal policy risks an eventual collapse in Iraq.
That would raise the political cost to Obama of sticking to his withdrawal policy.

If Obama does not change the policy, according to the source,
they hope to have planted the seeds of a future political narrative
blaming his withdrawal policy
for the “collapse” they expect in an Iraq without U.S. troops.

That line seems likely to appeal to
reporters covering the Iraq troop withdrawal issue.
Ever since Obama’s inauguration,
media coverage of the issue has treated Obama’ s 16-month withdrawal proposal
as a concession to antiwar sentiment
which will have to be adjusted to the “realities”
as defined by the advice to Obama from Gates, Petraeus, and Odierno.

Ever since he began working on the troop surge,

Keane has been the central figure manipulating policy
in order to keep as many U.S. troops in Iraq as possible.

It was Keane who got Vice President Dick Cheney to push for Petraeus
as top commander in Iraq in late 2006
when the existing commander, Gen. George W. Casey,
did not support the troop surge.

It was Keane who protected Petraeus’ interests
in ensuring the maximum number of troops in Iraq
against the efforts by other military leaders
to accelerate troop withdrawal in 2007 and 2008.
As Bob Woodward reported in The War Within,
Keane persuaded President George W. Bush
to override the concerns of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
about the stress of prolonged U.S. occupation of Iraq
on the U.S. Army and Marine Corps
as well [as]
its impact on the worsening situation in Afghanistan.

Bush agreed in September 2007 to guarantee that
Petraeus would have as many troops as he needed for as long as wanted,
according to Woodward’s account.

Keane had also prevailed on Gates in April 2008
to make Petraeus the new commander of CENTCOM.
Keane argued that keeping Petraeus in the field was the best insurance against
a Democratic administration reversing the Bush policy toward Iraq.

Keane had operated on the assumption that
a Democratic president would probably not take the political risk
of rejecting Petraeus’ recommendation
on the pace of troop withdrawal from Iraq.
Woodward quotes Keane as telling Gates,
“Let’s assume we have a Democratic administration
and they want to pull this thing out quickly,
and now they have to deal with General Petraeus and General Odierno.
There will be a price to be paid to override them.”

Obama told Petraeus in Baghdad last July that, if elected,
he would regard
the overall health of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps
and the situation in Afghanistan
as more important than
Petraeus’ obvious interest in maximizing U.S. troop strength in Iraq,
according to Time magazine’s Joe Klein.

But judging from Petraeus’ shock at Obama’s Jan. 21 decision,
he had not taken Obama’s previous rejection of his arguments seriously.
That miscalculation suggests that
Petraeus had begun to accept Keane’s assertion that
a newly elected Democratic president would not dare to override
his policy recommendation on troops in Iraq.

Petraeus Leaked Misleading Story on Pullout Plans
by Gareth Porter
CommonDreams, 2009-02-10

[Its conclusion; emphasis is added.]

On top of the interest of Petraeus and other senior officers
in keeping U.S. troops in Iraq for as long as possible,
Petraeus has personal political interests at stake
in the struggle over Iraq policy.
He has been widely regarded as
a possible Republican Presidential candidate in 2012.


Obama is obviously treading warily in handling Petraeus.
His concern about Petraeus’s political ambitions may have been a factor in
the decision to bring four-star Marine Corps Gen. James Jones in
as his national security adviser.

“I’ve been told by a couple of people that
one of the reasons for Jones being chosen
was to have him there as a four-star to counter Petraeus,”

says one Congressional source.

Wearing the Beard for Petraeus
by Jeff Huber
Military.com, 2009-02-10

[Its beginning; emphasis is added.]

Former Washington Post Pentagon correspondent Thomas E. Ricks
has become the center of gravity in
the U.S. military’s information war on the American public.

The onset of the information campaign came close behind Porter’s forecast.
On Sunday, February 8,
Tom Ricks captured the airways and the headlines,
appearing on Meet the Press as
the first of his two part series on the stratagem behind the surge strategy
appeared in the Washington Post.
Ricks’s new book on the surge hits the shelves, not surprisingly,
on Tuesday, February 10.

Ricks gives us an astonishing insider’s look at
the machinations behind the campaign to force
a “long war” of indefinite occupation on Mr. Obama.
Some of Ricks’s narrative sounds wholly credible,
some reeks of Orwellian fabrication, and
none of it constitutes objective reporting.

Labels: , ,