Pentagon Tries to Put Out the Rumsfeld Fires

The Wall Street Journal op-ed by 4 retired generals criticizing the military critics of Secretaty of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has some lame arguments. Even more interesting are the Pentagon’s other attempts to put out the fire and keep it from spreading.

In the op-ed, retired Lt. Gen. John Crosby, former deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command; retired Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, former assistant vice chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force; retired Maj. Gen. Buron Moore, U.S. Air Force, who was director of Central Command during Operation Desert Storm; and retired Maj. Gen Paul Vallely, former deputy commander of the U.S.. Army, Pacific*, make the following arguments:

— The criticism is aimed at Rumsfeld’s transforming the military to lighter, more mobile force.

— The officers who don’t agree with this transformation prefer conventional weapons of the past, that the authors consider useless in ‘asymmetric’ warfare.

— That since Zinni and Newbold don’t seem to understand the radical ideology of Islamic extremism, they should listen to the tapes of United 93

— Rumsfeld’s choice to use too few boots on the ground has proved to be a failure in Iraq, just as Shinseski suggested in his testimony to Congress. This one is beyond lame, it has no legs, period.

— Does disagreeing with inadequate troops on the ground automatically mean they want to use conventional weapons also? Isn’t the transformation criticism about the numbers of actual soldiers, not taking away their hi tech equipment? (See Note, Maj Gen John Riggs below). How useless has that tactical replacement been in fighting the asymmetric battle? As former Marine Captain Christopher H. Sheppard wrote, “the tactics of attacks were useless to truly crush the insurgents.” The smart ones just left town and only the dummies got killed or caught. Because? “In retrospect, we never had enough troops to firmly control the region;” The legs on this one seem to have been amputated, above the knees.

— Listening to the tapes of United 93 is going to increase Newbold and Zinni’s understanding of Islamic radical ideology? (Did the WSJ forget how editing is done?) Zinni was chief of CentCom. (CentCom runs military operations in the Persian Gulf and South Asia) The authors may not agree with his understanding of the extremists’ ideology (possibly because they consider the tape to be a crucial source of information), he does have a very solid background for having a different perspective on the whole situation. Maybe it is good WSJ left this no brainer in.

Sorry, Sirs, you can talk them but, without legs and a brain, you can’t make them walk.

What intrigues me more is, “The Pentagon has called a Tuesday meeting of all of its “TV generals,” retired generals who serve as analysts for television and newspapers and get regular Pentagon briefings. They’re expected to meet with Rumsfeld and discuss the current controversy.”

We are expected to believe there will be a DISCUSSION?? (That question is answered here) That this is not going to be a lecture and training session on which TV general analyst will give out which supporting idea in the MSM echo chamber? Have some pigs started flying? Send a picture.

Can’t wait to find out how they have the different hoses aimed to put this fire out.

*Note the contrast in military postions held between the WSJ group and the Rumsfeld critics:
– Maj. Gen. John Batiste (US Army, Ret), who led the First Infantry Division in Iraq
-Maj. Gen. Charles H. Swannack Jr. (US Army, Ret.), who led troops on the ground as the commander of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division in 2004
– Maj. Gen. John Riggs. (US Army, Ret) Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery in Vietnam.* had been entrusted with creating a high tech army for the 21st century*. Riggs was reduced in rank and retired early for criticizing Rumsfeld’s decision to invade Iraq with insufficient troops.
-Marine Corps Gen. Anthony C. Zinni (Ret), head of United States Central Command in the late 1990’s .
-Gen. Eric Shinseki (US Army, Ret), the Army chief of staff who told Congress 1 month before the invasion it would need more troops than Rumsfeld was planning. And was then retired early by the Pentagon
-Maj. Gen. Paul D. Eaton, (US Army, Ret), who ran the program to train the Iraqi military in 2003 -2004
-Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold (Ret) former operations director for the Joint Chiefs of Staff 2000- 2002

Who’re you gonna listen to more? With respect and appreciation, I SALUTE the Rummybusters.

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3 Responses to Pentagon Tries to Put Out the Rumsfeld Fires

  1. Ginny

    Bush listens to the voices… but he does not heed them! It must have been Cheney whispering in his ear when he said God told him to go to war in Iraq.

  2. Ginny in CO says:

    AP just released a report on the Pentagon meeting with the TV generals. This is predictable:

    “Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, who is a Fox News commentator, said in an interview afterward that the calls from other retired generals for Rumsfeld to resign came up only briefly. “We didn’t waste the secretary’s time with that,” he said, adding that he puts little stock in the criticisms because they come mostly from two-star generals who were not senior enough in rank to work directly for Rumsfeld.”

    Apparently if you aren’t part of the big brass, you have nothing to offer. True the military is a Top-down organization, it doesn’t mean there is NO input from the ranks.
    Well, three are generals that were on the ground in Iraq- where the fighting and dying goes on.
    Somehow I can’t believe that Shinseki and Newbold didn’t work with Rummy. And I’d bet that Riggs did. He was a 3 star until he was demoted for criticizing the boss.

    That leaves Zinni, the former CentCom commander just before W took office. I would trust his knowledge of the Middle East over Rumsfeld any day. Because W and his crew don’t like to think they are ignorant of anything. Therefore, they don’t seek out other opinions and they get mad if you force them to listen.

    Rummy just chalks it all up to his making changes; that people get upset about change and then get angry.
    Uh, ‘people’ do that in varying degrees. The military are drilled and trained in change. Complaining is not part of the mindset or accepted lightly. As a whole, the military is geared to the idea that if you don’t come up with new stuff first, and change before the enemy does, you lose.

    What does make them buck change is when it turns out to be WRONG, as in more deaths than needed. More problems. The increased levels of battle involvement of these soldiers puts them at much higher risk of PTSD. Even if they aren’t dying, the “battle fatigue” may eventually make them wish they had.

    The recurring theme in the complaints was not just that they TRIED the new tactic and it didn’t work, but that they kept trying to get the top to accept this and change tactics. No, the top just kept on with the plan, adding some other things the lowly two star generals didn’t like; torture being one.

    An important piece of Kerry’s Iraq plan will be to replace Rummy with someone who can work with the other players in developing the accord.

    Bring it on Senator.

  3. Ginny in CO says:


    I’ve wondered about that. I thought Richard Clarke came up with something interesting. Being sarcastic, he suggested that Bush’s determination to attack Iraq, regardless of the evidence, was like bin Laden was on a high mountain in Afghanistan sending mental telepathy messages to attack Iraq.
    Could easily have been dick from the get go. Probably couldn’t find a VP candidate who was willing to do it, so he took the job.