Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Rummy the cause of the change in power?


rumsfeld
Originally uploaded by Andysmart.
I was going to post earlier about the Slate analysis of the Army/Navy/Air Force/Marine Corps Times editorial calling for the removal of Secretary Rumsfeld, but I never got around to it. I'm here now.

In part, the Slate analsysis says,
They would not run an editorial like the one in today's editions unless they knew that it reflected a broad and deep consensus among high-ranking, active-duty officers across the military establishment.
When I heard the papers were making the case for the Secretary to go, I knew it meant something. I hadn't thought about the fact that it was an indication of a consensus among senior officers... I've heard rumblings about what junior officers and senior non-commissioned officers think (not favorable toward the Secretary), but nothing about senior officers. Slate suggested the cats out of the bag now.

Said the papers
“So long as our government requires the backing of an aroused and informed public opinion ... it is necessary to tell the hard bruising truth.”

That statement was written by Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Marguerite Higgins more than a half-century ago during the Korean War.

But until recently, the “hard bruising” truth about the Iraq war has been difficult to come by from leaders in Washington.

One rosy reassurance after another has been handed down by President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: “mission accomplished,” the insurgency is “in its last throes,” and “back off,” we know what we’re doing, are a few choice examples.

Military leaders generally toed the line, although a few retired generals eventually spoke out from the safety of the sidelines, inciting criticism equally from anti-war types, who thought they should have spoken out while still in uniform, and pro-war foes, who thought the generals should have kept their critiques behind closed doors.

Now, however, a new chorus of criticism is beginning to resonate. Active-duty military leaders are starting to voice misgivings about the war’s planning, execution and dimming prospects for success.

Army Gen. John Abizaid, chief of U.S. Central Command, told a Senate Armed Services Committee in September: “I believe that the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I’ve seen it ... and that if not stopped, it is possible that Iraq could move towards civil war.”

Last week, someone leaked to The New York Times a Central Command briefing slide showing an assessment that the civil conflict in Iraq now borders on “critical” and has been sliding toward “chaos” for most of the past year. The strategy in Iraq has been to train an Iraqi army and police force that could gradually take over for U.S. troops in providing for the security of their new government and their nation.

But despite the best efforts of American trainers, the problem of molding a viciously sectarian population into anything resembling a force for national unity has become a losing proposition.

For two years, American sergeants, captains and majors training the Iraqis have told their bosses that Iraqi troops have no sense of national identity, are only in it for the money, don’t show up for duty and cannot sustain themselves.

Meanwhile, colonels and generals have asked their bosses for more troops. Service chiefs have asked for more money.

And all along, Rumsfeld has assured us that things are well in hand.

Now, the president says he’ll stick with Rumsfeld for the balance of his term in the White House.

This is a mistake. It is one thing for the majority of Americans to think Rumsfeld has failed. But when the nation’s current military leaders start to break publicly with their defense secretary, then it is clear that he is losing control of the institution he ostensibly leads.

These officers have been loyal public promoters of a war policy many privately feared would fail. They have kept their counsel private, adhering to more than two centuries of American tradition of subordination of the military to civilian authority.

And although that tradition, and the officers’ deep sense of honor, prevent them from saying this publicly, more and more of them believe it.

Rumsfeld has lost credibility with the uniformed leadership, with the troops, with Congress and with the public at large. His strategy has failed, and his ability to lead is compromised. And although the blame for our failures in Iraq rests with the secretary, it will be the troops who bear its brunt.

This is not about the midterm elections. Regardless of which party wins Nov. 7, the time has come, Mr. President, to face the hard bruising truth:

Donald Rumsfeld must go.
A conservative Virginia blogger, living in Poquoson (which is, he says, "the first or second most Republican voting city of 134 cities and counties in the Commonwealth"), wrote today
I have anecdotal evidence on where we lost from 150 to 480 votes in Super C city. Older retired military officers and younger defense engineers gave me an earful on why Rumsfeld should have been fired and, thus, Bush had screwed up prosecution of the War in Iraq.

Reliable Republicans, former dues paying partisans, told me that they were sick of the Repubicans at the Federal level doing nothing (and spending way too much) except two good SCOTUS appointments - and those were to be determined for their real future strength, a tax cut not made permanent, the lesser of two evils on the WW IV against Islamist Terrorism but making mistakes in Iraq...and Republicans in the General Assembly who raise our taxes and keep trying to cram Regional Governments down our throats.

A usually Republican voter, retired Air Force Officer and Vietnam Marine enlisted Vet, from my church told me last Sunday that Allen lost his vote when he brought up Webb's writing. This guy said it was over reach, a sign of desperation, and just too much mud. Perhaps, the paid, professional analysts can show me that the loss of his one vote was offset by gaining other votes I don't know about. My evidence is anecdotal purely. My experience tells me that each contact I have living in grassroots politics is indicative of more votes.
Time Magazine's cover this past week said President Bush was "the Lone Ranger."
He's faltering in Iraq.
He's out of favor with his own party.
He's increasingly isolated.
Why this elction is
all about George W. Bush
and the world he's created.
Does, perhaps, the President's insistance at keeping Secretary Rumsfeld on, even going to far as to lie about it last week when he knew, already, he was going to replace the Secretary, have much to do with the change in Congressional power?

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