Rumsfeld and the Generals

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Beginning in March 2006, a list of retired generals, some of whom have served in Iraq -- in what is being called a "chorus" -- have been calling for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's resignation.

  • Lt. Gen. William Odom, in his September 26, 2006, testimony before the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, "addressed points of argumentation that he hears too often and is tired of hearing, including being told to ignore the past and focus on the future, to ignore how we got into Iraq and only talk about what to do from here on. Unless, Odom said, we discuss whose interests this war served, we cannot decide what to do. It served no U.S. interests. It served the interests of al Qaeda and Iran."
  • Army General John Riggs told the Washington Post that "his peer group is 'a pretty closemouthed bunch' but that, even so, his sense is 'everyone pretty much thinks Rumsfeld and the bunch around him should be cleared out.'" [1]
  • General Riggs told National Public Radio that Rumsfeld had "instilled a culture of arrogance among the civilian administrators of the war." [2]
  • Lieutenant-General Greg Newbold, former director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote in Time magazine that "the invasion of Iraq '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'. He added: 'The cost of flawed leadership continues to be paid in blood'." [3]
  • Major General Paul D. Eaton, who oversaw the training of Iraqi troops in 2003-04, wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times calling for Rumsfeld "to go because he was 'incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically'." [4]
  • Major General Eaton's Sepember 25, 2006, testimony (YouTube video here and here) before the Senate Democratic Policy Committee.
  • Marine General Anthony Zinni told CNN that Rumsfeld "should be held responsible for a series of mistakes, beginning with 'throwing away ten years worth of planning, plans that had taken into account what we would face in an occupation of Iraq'." [5] [6]
  • Major General John R.S. Batiste (U.S. Army, Ret.), who commanded the 1st Infantry Division in Iraq in 2004-05, said: "'I believe we need a fresh start at the Pentagon... We need leadership up there that respects the military as they expect the military to respect them.' ... General Batiste’s comments have particular resonance within the Army because he was offered a promotion if he returned to Iraq as second-in-command. He declined and quit the military in November, reportedly because he no longer wished to serve under Mr Rumsfeld." [7][8]
  • Major General Batiste's Sepember 25, 2006, testimony (print and YouTube video here, here, here and here) before the Senate Democratic Policy Committee.
  • Major General Charles H. Swannack, Jr., who led the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq in 2004, accused Rumsfeld of "absolute failures." [9]
  • Swannack said in an April 14, 2006, telephone interview with the New York Times that "the number of forces that went into Iraq was insufficient for the ultimate task and said of Mr. Rumsfeld, 'His arrogance is what will cause us to fail in the future.'"
  • Marine General Paul Van Ripper, who "retired before Rumsfeld took office, but is currently engaged in war games with two branches of the military ... stated that Iraq was 'When I look at where we are in this war today, and imagine where we could have been if the right number of troops had been put in at the right time and been deployed correctly,... It makes me think we need new leadership. ... If I was the president, I would have relieved him three years ago.'" [10][11]

Swiftboating the Generals

Blame the Generals

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2006

2007