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30 November 2005

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Sally

Let's hope he continues to meet his heavy obligations and every time he puts on that uniform is reminded he has under his control and command people who will be sent every day to death's door while in Iraq and Afghanistan. Something the rest of the brass don't seem to consider their obligation.

Geoff

He also questioned Iraq as an insurgent state yesterday.

To me, this is unbelievable, but perhaps I'm mistaken (PL weigh in on this if you want). I attempt to correct the dilusional Sec of Deffense here:

http://americanentropy.blogspot.com/2005/11/mr-rumsfeld-iraq-is-insurgent-state.html

W. Patrick Lang

Geoff

I heard that as well. What I understod from that was that Rummy was trying to peddle a cutesie name for the insurgents and Pace would not let himself be pushed into saying the "Rummyism." pl

Geoff

I'd call it revisionism

Squashed Lemon

Related item on torture/pentagon.

http://www.iop.harvard.edu/events_forum_archive.html

Douglass feith give short speech. (including Q/A where he does mental gymnastic on geneva convention. min'52')

I can't decide if he doesn't know real situation on the ground or he is OD-ing on halcyon.

George

Pat,
I've enjoyed your site very much. I'm not nor have I ever been in the military. Being 49 years old means I just missed Vietnam by a couple of years. As a result of Vietnam I've developed a distrust of our military.

I don't doubt that there are people of integrity in our military but I don't think everyone in our military is a person of integrity. Sadly, I think the majority of the high ranking military officers are particularly lacking in integrity. Too much has happened in Iraq for me to think otherwise.

If you haven't read this yet I hope you will read it soon.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/torture/interviews/lagouranis.html

Thanks for the great site and insight,
George

bud

Pat, by the creed that has been described in your post, Gen. Shelton was a total wanker for having being pushed around by Rummy and not standing for the soldier's ethos. He probably set the tone for Gen. Sanchez and others responsible for Abu Ghraib and all the other unAmerican instances of sanctioned torture. Totally repugnant behavior that has shredded any credibility that we have to moralize to anyone.

Barbara

in nuce : the arrogance of power.

Thank you Sir, this was exactly what it felt like to hear Mr Defense Secretary, Rumsfeld when he visited Germany, pleased to be extensively interviewed, generously sharing his views.

Unfortunately life is not a Greek tragedy where hybris is revenged, quite the opposite ...

Larry Mitchell

My former company commander in VN (now a retired COL) told me the same story. He felt is was a tragedy for the Chief of Staff and that he carried the weight of that decision to his grave. The story came up as we remembered the Chief of Staff and Westmoreland visiting FSB Burt early Jan 1968 after a large battle. I am looking hard for heroes in this current mess, and it looks like GEN Pace is a leading candidate. Thanks for your postings and commentary. This stuff is hard for us regular people to follow.

W. Patrick Lang

Larry

Your friend may have been a classmate of mine at AFSC?

The general (former CoS) was a good man. We all felt bad for him. He had been captured by the Japanese at Bataan in defeat of the isolated garrison there in 1942. He survived the war as a PW in Japan, had served with great distinction in the Korean War, and was generally thought of as a soldier's soldier.

Nevertheless, some failures are beyond forgiveness.

"It is not a mercy to tolerate poor performance in offcers. Think of the men. Think of the men." Robert E. Lee

pl

Hannah K. O'Luthon

Thanks to all for an interesting thread. I'm wondering if what we're seeing from the president on down the chain of command is merely "poor performance" or something more sinister and terrible. I don't know, but I'd be interested in hearing what people who have been in or close to that chain of command think.

Curious

I have to echoes the sentiment. (Repost)

To even discuss torture is disgusting.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/12/1/74117/6551

Newsweek reader scorned...

Reading your article on torture literally made me sick to my stomach ("The Debate Over Torture," Nov. 21). I am an 81-year-old citizen who served my country in the U.S. Army in WWII and as a flight surgeon during the Korean police action. I never dreamed that my beloved country would ever fall to the level of Third World dictatorships. For this government to even discuss torture is disgusting. If this is the level of morality of our leaders, many of whom are self-professed Christians, then may their Lord help us. This administration does not speak for me, nor do I believe that it does for the average American. I hope we can all come together and rid our country of this perniciousness in the next election. ---Harry I., Washington

George W. Bush and his spokesmen have felt free to argue that American interrogators may use torture on helpless prisoners because international law and treaties forbidding it--even ones we've signed--don't apply to us. The U.S. Constitution states that "all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby." The president swears an oath to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." Thus, contrary to the Bush Justice Department memo quoted in the sidebar ("How Terror Led America Toward Torture"), international law is binding on our nation's government even if this administration finds it inconvenient. President Bill Clinton was impeached for lying about an extramarital affair. Surely trampling on the Constitution and worldwide legal standards while disgracing not merely the office of the presidency but the United States merits treatment at least as serious. ---Eric B. L., Staten Island

There is no "debate" over torture. It is an evil at all times and all places. It is also a crime under international and national law. That makes two groups: those against torture and criminals. ---Dinah Shelton, George Washington University Law School

Joe Friday

Patrick,
My father has often told me the story of a meeting he attended during that period where the general you speak of rather adamently warned McNamara that the U.S. military should never fight a land war in Asia. According to my father, McNamara curtly dismissed him and froze him out of any future discussions on the subject. Is it possible that the general elected to take the fall because he later considered his attempt to be inadequate? Either way it is a shame.

searp

I don't see the heavy price, myself.

It is true that people get put into positions where they need to demonstrate courage and integrity. To me, this is an opportunity.

If more people in this country resigned over principle, disagreed publicly with bad policy, etc, then wouldn't the country be the better for it?

I don't know a starving, unemployed retired O-6, but I know plenty that are living in comfortable retirement.

Gen. Pace deserves commendation, but we should also expect no less.

W. Patrick Lang

searp

When you reach the stage at which you have a grand enough view of yourself to fear a loss of status then you will understand what the "price" is for these guys. pl

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