OF THE GENERALS"
The handwriting is on the wall. All we need now is his signature on a resignation letter. When will megalomaniacal Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld do us all a public service by giving up the reins of power? At 73, the crotchety and needlessly abusive Rumsfeld may be getting senile and needs to go into retirement. The sooner, the better.
A long-overdue Rumsfeld resignation [see our related stories box at end of this article] would immediately improve morale throughout the armed forces, especiallly in Iraq, where an Army Times survery recently showed a majority of our troops there have little confidence in Rummie's "leadership" abilities.
This arrogant, obnoxious "my way or the highway" defense chief won't admit making any mistakes and continuing to make more, while the war in Iraq spirals into a Vietnam-like quagmire. Rumsfeld's military miscalculations, micro-managing ways, and refusal to heed good advice from his commanders in the field has only added to a growing casualty list.
A petulant remark such as "You go to war with the Army you got." offers little comfort to the parents and loved ones of our soldiers, airmen and Marines who have given their lives in a war that was bungled from the start.
As much as we dislike now-retired Gen. Eric Shinseki, for his disgraceful role in the "Black Beret" boondoggle, the little general was right when he told Congress at least 300,000 troops were needed on the ground in Iraq after Baghdad fell. But his warning was ignored, and the chaos and growing insurgency that resulted are just two legacies of a defense secretary who disregards sound military advice.
One of Rumsfeld's worst mistakes was failing to equip our troops with proper body armor and our vehicles with sufficient protection against roadside explosive devices. Those attacks have inflicted heavy casualties on American troops. It's inexcusable that even now, this problem has not yet been fully taken care of.
GEORGE BUSH AND THE PROVERBIAL "800-POUND GORILLA"
Remember the old saying: "Where does an 800-pound gorilla sleep? Anywhere he wants." Well, abrasive Donald Rumsfeld is that "gorilla," and he knows he can do whatever he damn well pleases. George Bush may be the "commander-in-chief," but Rumsfeld calls the shots on the war. Any other defense boss, with such a record of failure, would've already been fired. But not this one.
Which begs the question - why? We won't get into "who's got what on who" on these pages, but obviously, there's more here than meets the eye. Rumsfeld is a major political liability. His "popularity rating" may be even lower than Bush. It doesn't take political guru Karl Rove whispering in his ear for GW to realize Rumsfeld is absolute "poison" to Republican re-election prospects this fall.
It's sad and almost pathetic to see the political "right" in this country defend a man whose very presence in office could cost the GOP control of Congress in November. The Senate is a long-shot, but the House of Representatives is very much "in play." As we get closer to election day, some big-name Republicans will have to take a stand against Rumsfeld. The ones who don't will pay a price at the polls.
If Lyndon Johnson had dumped Robert "Strange" McNamara as defense chief back in say, 1967, before the devastating Tet Offensive, and asked his generals to tell him how the war was really going, he might have run for re-election in 1968 and history would have been drastically altered.
But he didn't fire the man most responsible, and neither will George Bush admit Rumsfeld has botched the war. Because that would cast doubt upon this Administration's whole premise for getting us involved in Iraq in the first place. Tragically, many more Americans will die because of a failed policy and the politicians who instituted it.
THE GENERALS GO PUBLIC, AN UNPRECEDENTED PROTEST
Anyone who knows how the military works realizes any dissent at all while on active duty brings severe retribution. MCC reported such a case last year. We wrote:
Byrnes wasn't the only flag officer brutalized by a bullying boss.
However, in an unprecedented development, six retired generals (as of press time) have come forward to denounce Rumsfeld's failed leadership. And of the half dozen, only one - Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni - is a Democrat.
The usual suspects, those who "endorsed" self-proclaimed "war hero" John Kerry in the last election, were fired Gen. Wesley Clark, a legend in his own mind, and the slimy former Navy Admiral William Crowe. Any criticism they would have of the war and Republicans in general could be dismissed as the wailings of partisan opportunists. In the case of the corpulent admiral, a political whore profiteering off the pain and misery of dangerous "anthrax shots" forced on our armed forces, anything he says could be easily discounted.
With the exception of Democrat Zinni, who backed Kerry despite knowing better, the retired generals who are Republicans that have spoken out in the month of April alone include the following:
Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, U.S. Army, who oversaw training of Iraqi forces as recently as 2004.
Maj. Gen. John Batiste, a West Point graduate, who commanded the Army's 1st Division in Iraq until November 2005.
Maj. Gen. Charles J. Swannack, former field commander of the famed 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq.
Marine Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold, former director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
And retired Army Maj. Gen. John Riggs.
Never before has there been such a vote of "no confidence" in the "leadership" at the Pentagon in a war yet underway.
A change at the top is needed now. For Bush
to keep in power a failed secretary of defense for whatever political
reasons is an insult and a disgrace to those who have already died in
this poorly-planned and unnecessary war.