The incoherence of the former generals

It is not surprising that these guys were unsuccessful at persuading the Secretary of Defense. They are still incoherent. It is certainly unclear what they wanted to do that was not done.

Maj. Gen. Charles H. Swannack Jr., for example says, "We need to continue to fight the global war on terror and keep it off our shores," General Swannack said in a telephone interview. "But I do not believe Secretary Rumsfeld is the right person to fight that war based on his absolute failures in managing the war against Saddam in Iraq."

Never mind that Saddam was defeated in three weeks by following a plan of General Tommy Franks not Don Rumsfeld. Does he really mean he does not like the post major combat operations phased planned and executed by Gen. Abizaid? Why do these guys act like Gen. Abizaid does not exist and bears no responsibity for whatever it is they are complaining about?

The NY Times says:

Among the retired generals who have called for Mr. Rumsfeld's ouster, some have emphasized that they still believe it was right for the United States to invade Iraq. But a common thread in their complaints has been an assertion that Mr. Rumsfeld and his aides too often inserted themselves unnecessarily into military decisionmaking, often disregarding advice from military commanders.
What decisions are they talking about? There is certainly an absent of alternative advice on winning the war. Do these guys just resent having someone question their ideas? Do they have a problem articulating why their suggestions should be implemented? Apparently the reporters did not think of those questions. The stories are written as if they assume some undefined something is wrong when these guys complain.

Rowan Scarborough points out more incoherence from General Batiste:

"I believe we need a fresh start in the Pentagon," Gen. Batiste said Wednesday on CNN. "We need a leader who understands teamwork, a leader who knows how to build teams, a leader that does it without intimidation."
Of the Iraqi people, he told CNN, "Iraqis, frankly, in my experience, do not understand democracy. Nor do they understand their responsibility for a free society."
But in Iraq last year, Gen. Batiste said: "The Iraqi 4th Division represents what is and what is meant to be in Iraq. The soldiers of the division not only reflect the rich ethnic/religious diversity of Iraq, but they also imbue with the energy, courage and determination which the vast majority of the Iraqi people have for freedom and representative government."
Scarborough also points out that Army Maj. Gen. John Riggs had been forced into retirement by the acting Army Secretary "because he let a civilian contractor do congressional liaison work that rules said should have been done by a government employee." Apparently many of his flag officer brothers resented the move.

So far none of these generals has complained about the Clinton administration's reducing the size of the military, although retired Maj. Gen. Robert Scales, who is not one of the gang of five, says we need 100,000 more troops. Scales is the former commander of the Army War College and has written several books. I think he is a pretty smart guy.

Update: The Belmont Club looks at the "troubles of Rumsfeld:

The Gateway Pundit gathered a history of the fire-Rumsfeld movement going back to 2003 which shows that while he has for long been the "near enemy" it was always the "far enemy" -- and his policies -- that ultimately mattered. Those policies framed strategy far beyond Iraq. Among the questions for which there is still no bipartisan consensus is how big should the Ground Forces be? On this fundamental point both the President and Congress must bear a fundamental responsibility on which depends the viability of "more boots on the ground". What should the strategy against terrorism be? The Real Security plan advocates a police approach aimed at pursuing a specific group called the Al Qaeda. Is this a correct appraisal of Al Qaeda's importance in the overall strategic landscape? Others have suggested a greater use of "soft power", including diplomacy, in place of utilizing the Armed Forces. Even within the bill of indictments against Rumsfeld there there is still debate over whether the de-Baathization of Iraq, which resulted in the dismantling of Saddam's Army was a mistake. There are many other unresolved questions; and that they have remained so 5 years into the War is an interesting commentary not only on the Bush administration but on American politics in general....

While the big bitch still seems to be over the number of troops, the critics seem to ignore the elephant in the room. The number of troops in the theater is determined by the military commanders in the area. The President and the Secretary of Defense have publically stated on numerous occassions taht if the commanders ask for more troops they will get them. Some seem to doubt their sincerity, but it would be easy to find out if Gen. Abizaid said he needed more. When some in Congress such as Sen. McCain tried to make the case for more troops, Gen Abizaid and Gen. Myers made it clear that they were not requesting more troops and did not think they needed them.

In fact the troop levels have fluctuated depending on commanders needs over the last three years. It should be added that with the addition of Iraqi troops now operating and those coming on line, we will have numbers close to what those who think Shinseki was right, have suggested was necessary. It should also be noted that by using Iraqi forces, our intelligence on the enemy has increased substantially.

At this point the complaints remain incoherent.

Update II: Douglas Hanson takes a look at what Gen. Zinni was saying before President Bush took office and what he is saying now. It is like reading all those 1998 Democrat statments on what a threat Saddam was, before they became anti war pukes. His February 2000 threat assessment provided to the Senate Armed Services Committee sounds nothing like his current statments on the rationale for war.

Update III: More links to commentary on the generals at Gateway Pundit.


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