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16 April 2006


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I assume the comparison of Marshall to Rumsfeld was somewhat akin to a comparison of matter to antimatter ?

W. Patrick Lang


Yes. It got to me.




I hope my comments concerning Rumsfeld were not over the top.

It is disturbing to me that the retired generals have so publically spoken up. It must represent a good deal of frustration in the Pentagon for this disagreement to have gone so far and become so visable. It was obvious when Murtha spoke up that the generals had been reaching out to members of Congress, and also by Murtha's reaction that it was a message not well received by the WH.

I have absolutely no fears whatsoever that our military will overstep it's bounds and try in any way to undo the civilian leadership. (Most people do not realize how dangerous a mutiny or military coup could be - luckily our military does.) However, what we face is not so much that the military leadership is running amuck, but that the civilian leadership may be.

Like you I agree that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld are a "team" and it is extremely unlikely that Bush will act to break up the team. It is up to the Congress to provide the oversight required to "fix" this issue, but it is also imperitive that the generals speak out when asked by Congress. This is of some concern since it seems as if Congress has stopped doing it's job.

So it's up to Congress to ask hard questions, and to get honest answers. No doubt, if this takes place, it will end some careers, but like you, I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution, not the boss.

The ball's in Congress's court. But honestly, I doubt if we'll see this happen.



"he (Bush), Cheney and Rumsfeld will be thought of as a "triumvirate" for all time"

Sort of like Napoleon III, Rouher, and Bazaine, but without the benefits.



Rumsfeld is going to do "I am a survivor" Iraq tour again.

What's new. It's all PR spin and damage control for Bushco and team. Who needs to actually do the right thing?


"It seems appropriate that President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary Rumsfeld and Generals Myers and Franks should be left to the judgment of history. "

But the process of their becoming history should be expedited.

Apologies for the discourtesy of sloppy reading and commenting on the deleted thread.


By "becoming history" I mean as public persons - a return to private life.


"It seems appropriate that President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary Rumsfeld and Generals Myers and Franks should be left to the judgment of history." - PL

History always passes its judgement, however, in the here and now, we as citizens need to hold our leaders accountable for their actions.

The next opportunity under our political system is this Nov. Will we vote for change or more of the same?

In the mean time I'd like to see a transparent hearing into the decision making of this Administration. Of course I realize this is not realistic with a compliant Republican majority Congress. The Senate Intelligence Committee is never going to get to the bottom of how intelligence was used to develop policy and decisions in the invasion of Iraq with Sen. Roberts stonewall. As a citizen that gave this Administration the benefit of doubt, I now have deep qualms about their judgement and integrity. To put it bluntly, I don't trust these guys any longer and I would prefer that history does not also weigh in on us as citizens for not stepping up to the plate and demanding change.


Oh merde, did it again.

Considering the overreach of the Absolute Executive doctrine, the magnitude of the administration's clusterf**ks, and the absence/failure of institutional checks and balances, this deference to the president (in reality the out-of-control vice president), by refraining from comment on his choice of SECDEF seems like a scruple.


Gen. Zinni in an interview talked about Gen. Shelton, then Chairman, Joint Chiefs sending all 17 4 star generals the book, Dereliction of Duty and noting that all of them owe it to their oath to speak candidly to Congress and the President.

I hope that our current generals are men of character and will speak their mind and provide Congress and the American people their best professional judgement and not be cowed by what happened to Gen. Shinseki. It will be a tragedy for our country if the military leadership do not challenge political judgements leading to war based on incorrect facts and perceptions due to fear of reprisal.

Larry Mitchell

Given the fact that Bush & Cheney were going to invade Iraq no matter what, I'm not sure how much Rumsfeld could do about troop strength. There was no stomach for a draft, and no more troops to be had. I'm sure the generals involved got tired of being quoted as not needing any additional troops as they struggled to complete their mission with too few. Rumsfeld seems to be a prickly character who doesn't care to be your buddy, so he's a great target for everyone's impatience. I'm still convinced that the root of the problem is with Bush (who talks like he wants to be your buddy) and Cheney (who doesn't want to be anybody's buddy - except when hunting) and their plan. I think all three of them will have to answer to history with regard to prisoner abuse and torture - a low point in US history.

COL Lang has mentioned the limitations on the active military with regard to going public with complaints. I would appreciate a little education from him and others who are knowledgeable regarding not only what is allowed, but what we have a right to expect from the military. I read "Dereliction of Duty" to better understand the mess back in my day, but still I'm not clear on when and how military commanders can and should speak up. I'm guessing that it's a very difficult decision under the best of conditions.

W. Patrick Lang


It is a violation both of the UCMJ amd of military custom for an officer or anyone else on active duty to publicly criticize the grand officers of the government or members of Congress. The only exception is that Congress must be informed fully when it queries the military. This is at any tme (including wartime) since although the prsident is the commander of the military, the Congress is its creator and enabler in law.

Having said that, the president and his subordinates have always known that if they ignore military advice at the top they risk a "behind the scenes" disclosure to journalists who are either trusted or thought useful.

As to the troop strength, your assumption that there were not more troops available at the beginning of the campaign is incorrect. We have gotten into trouble over strengths becasue of the extended nature of the war and the necessity to spread the force available out over time in order to be able to make periodic rotations of units. We could have gone into Iraq with at least twice as many troops if we had wished to do so. pl


I believe the US could have gone into Iraq with "at least twice as many troops if we had wish to" only if one took them from other potential fronts, as well as jettison the plans supposedly articulated in NSPD 9, still classified. And, I would argue, you would have had to leave the bulk of the troops in place, and therefore leave the other fronts, particulary the Afghan front, vulnerable, for a long time into the future. And that in fact this is what we have done. And I would argue that would be even if the Iraqi army was not disbanded.

Going into Iraq absent a draft, and accepting the fact that said forces were going to stay there a while, was, and is, a giant, and reckless, gamble. For the nation and for the military personal, and their families, involved. Now if you could have gotten NATO forces or other Arab forces to act as peacekeepers, big if, but if that could have been done it would have lessoned the strain. But that was never going to be possible given the distain expressed towards not only potential allies, but to the diplomatic process itself.

Don't get me wrong. I am not saying we should have had a draft, and should have gone into Iraq. Going into Iraq was always going to be disaster.

Larry Mitchell

PL, thanks for the clarification. I'm sure you must be correct about the possibility of more troops initially, but could that number have been sustained long enough to make a difference?

Besides the inability to maintain civil order and immediately showing a weakness of plan, do we know what may have been lost due to the inability to secure some Iraqi military sites? I remember stories about an ammo dump that was pretty well carried off by Iraqis by the time it was discovered. I have not heard much more about that kind of thing, but it seems like a pretty important mistake. Can we ever know what all was forfeited by going into it short handed?

W. Patrick Lang


IMO aside from the folly of the idea of occupying Iraq,
our difficulties center on two basic mistakes:

1-Too few troops in the intial invasion force. these could not have been kept there for long but could have been effective in thoroughly occuping the country and intimidating resistance long enough to

2-bring back Iraqi security forces under new managemnt.

We could then have withdrawn much of our force. pl


I promise this is the last time i will harp on this but we made a huge mistake from the start. From Sept 12th. We set our nation on a course that personally I disagreed with. But to the extent one WAS going to go down that course the nation was going to need a greater sacrfice from the people than it got. We got no draft, no substantial increase in the number of our forces, no tax increase, no call to cut oil use, in fact just the opposite. We were told, literally, to go to Disneyland. Go on with our lives while others got ready for war. This was dead wrong policy for a number of reasons.



A Link. I am having one helluva time negotiating this system this morning. Have had two posts eaten.


From reading Cobra II, it seems to me that all the military estimates of # of troops needed, derived from the 1995 Parameters study I linked to above.

Pat, is there such a thing as "doctrine" in a subject such as this?

SEDEF, in my opinion, was applying a very revolutionary new approach.

Dangerous, but revolutionary.


Rumsfeld is plainly a very capable man but hasn't been able to recover from major strategic errors some of his making but many of which were inherent in this very risky venture. The time to fall on his sword was two years ago, a successor focused on damage limitation might have made mitigated the consequences, I doubt it would make a difference now.

We went into an Iraq broken by decades of wars, sanctions and divisive dictatorship, with a shifty US administration ill disposed to nation building, an indebted American people unprepared for the trillion dollar tax burden needed to stuff a war chest let alone a couple of decades of blood sacrifice, too few militarily significant allies and no deal with Iran over the Shi'a South. This was a strategic muddle and structurally unsound from the start.

Franks would certainly have been wiser to have the strategic flexibility that a larger invasion force offered. But this isn't as critical as mistaking looting for a happy manifestation of freedoms march rather than something terribly dangerous that had to be stomped on hard. We came as eager liberators not as responsible neo-colonial occupiers. Our troops were standing idle or guarding decayed oil infrastructure that was meant to bankroll the construction of free market economy while arms dumps were being looted and a decapitated Iraqi society slipped into Hobbesian warfare.


Good thoughts, Ali, but I think SECDEF and his group are revolutionaries who pride themselves in not thinking conventionally. Rumsfeld outlined his thoughts in a speech, “Beyond Nation Building in New York, Feb. 14 2003:


Drawing on his perception of the Afghan success at that point, Rumsfeld drew up his model. Go in light, shock and awe, decapitate the regime, get out quick, and spend their money on reconstruction, not yours. Since this was a public speech we have to highlight our creation of schools for the kiddies. Or something equally warm and fuzzy.

Short Rumsfeld: JDAM the china shop; take away Fu Manchu; they can clean up the shards; you have set them free; you have “enabled” them ; you don’t owe them anything else.



Please define "capable". Just for the record I don't see Rumsfeld as a "plainly capable man" at all.


"Rumsfeld is plainly a very capable man ..."

for some reason reminds me of Thabit's admiration for Frankish therapeutics.

"A case illustrating their curious medicine is the following ....I returned home, having learned of their medicine what I knew not before."



What I find interesting about the revolt of the generals is the timing. I suspect that this has less to do with present disaster in Iraq and more to do with heading of the potential disaster with Iran. There is a growing drumbeat in the media about a coming war with the Iranians that, I suspect, the general officers of the United States Army & Marine Corps look upon with horror.Some of the ideas being bruited about- idiocies like the regime collapsing out of shame and the cheering crowds rushing into the streets to praise America after we bomb them combined with stories leaked to the press of the Pentagon taking the MEK ( a viscously, unhinged, Iranian counterpart to the Shining Path or the Khmer Rouge}into our service after they swear allegiance to "Democracy"- make the blood run cold.
The Generals are a long suffering lot but something seems to be seriously unnerving them.


Many Iraqis believe we let the looters destroy Iraqi infrastructure on purpose.

Sadly it is not so implausible though the reasons may differ. It is a fact that we would not hire Iraqi engineers to rebuild things like the power infrastructure they knew or use Iraqi concrete because this involved firms still owned by the Iraqi government. Rightwing PC overruled expediency and getting jobs for Iraqis.

Many of the instititions and factiories looted were government owned and their destruction might have been viewed as good by the zealots.

This is a different motive than that given by Iraqis who think the goal was destroying the country, instead the lotting may have been condoned because of a faith based ideology apparently opposite but exactly similar to the distorted realities of communists.

John Howley

(1) I agree with rpe that the generals' timing merits consideration. Forestalling Iran foolishness is one possibility; are there specific Rumsfeld moves re Iran that could have aroused them? Are there other possible underlying causes of this outbreak? For example, has Rumsfeld proposed changes in force levels for Iraq on the eve of Nov 06 elections which need to be initiated now?

(2) Has anyone come across a good analysis of the objections raised by the various generals? Do they have a consistent set of complaints (besides Rumsfeld is a pain in the neck) or are they all over the place?

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