Sunday, April 16, 2006

lucky number seven

Well, it took about 24 hours to go from six to seven retired generals calling for the head of Don Rumsfeld. Of course, considering the size and breed of dog former NATO commander Wesley Clark has in the hunt, it’s kind of a wonder he waited this long.

I believe secretary Rumsfeld hasn't done an adequate job. He should go.

Um, Wes, when you are not the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, or sixth guy in the pile on, I really think you’ve gotta come with something a little bigger than “hasn’t done and adequate job.”

But, never you mind, the Pentagon has something to say to you and your band of bothersome brothers. As reported in today’s New York Times, the DoD has spent the time/energy/staff on drafting/issuing/distributing/leaking talking points for our recently retired generals. The memo starts:

U.S. senior military leaders are involved to an unprecedented degree in every decision-making process in the Department of Defense.

Of course, it doesn’t say if that “unprecedented degree” is unprecedented because it is large or small, but I guess we’re supposed to think whatever it is, it’s good.

The fact sheet was sent out to provide people with the facts. We would be doing a disservice to the analysts and the American public if we didn't provide exactly what the facts are.

That was Defense Department spokesman Eric Ruff, and he’s right, how would we know the facts about Iraq if the Bush Administration didn’t leak them?

That said, this ”politically motivated” “charm offensive,” as one general called it (and not in a nice way), is, itself, apparently rather unprecedented:

It is not uncommon for the Pentagon to send such memorandums to this group of officers, whom they consider to be influential in shaping public opinion. But it is unusual for the Pentagon to issue guidance that can be used by retired generals to rebut the arguments of other retired generals.

What’s not unusual (during the last five years) is that a part of our taxpayer-financed government is exhausting resources on public relations rather than policy. Maybe it’s me, but I think Iraq is an all hands on deck situation right now—somebody (Donald) should be a bit more concerned with the record rate of US casualties in the last two weeks. . . .

Wait, this just in, Don of the Dead wants us to think that he does care about what the generals think—and he’s summoned all of them to a photo-op, um, meeting this Tuesday to express their ideas about Iraq. I’m sure that will be as productive a gathering as the January coffee klatch Bush engineered with former Secretaries of State and Defense.

There’s just no substitute for experience. . . assuming you learn from it.

screen grab courtesy of Al Rodgers


Blogger Retired LTC said...

Clark hasn't waited. He's been calling for Rumsfeld's ouster since 2003. See and for just two examples.

The difference is, Clark has known all along that it's Bush who's ultimately responsible for our failed policies in Iraq and elsewhere around the world. Rumsfeld has made his share of blunders, but criticizing him directly just serves a diversion that takes the heat off the White House where it really belongs.

I suspect that Clark is only chiming in now as a show of support for the other generals, who are being vilified for exercising their right (and performing their duty) to speak out.

5:44 PM  
Blogger Terrell said...

I've collected comments of 13 generals so far who have had words to say about Bush, Rumsfeld, and/or their flawed policies. And Clark was first that I know of to call for Rumsfeld's resignation or firing.

What a pity the others didn't come forth before Nov. 2004!

6:24 PM  
Blogger guy2k said...

Good points, both.

Yes, LTC, Bush is where the buck stops--and even Gen. Myers said as much over the weekend. And, yes, Clark has been a vocal critic of Rummy and the running of the war in the past--I was, perhaps, guilty of thinking too much within a news cycle context.

And though I don't think all of your 13 are technically "generals," Terrell, they are close enough for this civilian--and I very much like running counts of critics. . . and the offenses they criticize.


8:43 AM  

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