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16 May 2006


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I read Joe Galloway religiously, but that last email burst reminds me why he's the best in the biz even after all this time. He breaks out all the reasons why the policies of this SecDef have been so disastrous for the long-term health of our land forces. Great post, Colonel Lang!

john pfeifler

I received, on more than one occasion, a good ass-chewing, some deserved, others, not so much. I think Joe Galloway gave Secretary Rumsfeld a deserved one, albeit, by way of Mr. DiRita. Defending Secretary Rumsfeld to a man of Joe's experience is not advisable.

I am critical of Secretary Rumsfeld's conduct because of what I see as the wholesale outsourcing of national defense. Mind you, he didn't start it, but he certainly spoke out against it as a congressman and, therefore, should know better:

In 1966, Illinois Representative Donald H. Rumsfeld went perhaps further than most when he charged the administration with letting contracts which "are illegal by statute." He urged investigation into the relationship between the private consortium working in Vietnam and the Johnson administration, in particular the infamous "President's Club," to which Brown & Root, one of the principle Vietnam contractors, had given tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions. Rumsfeld argued on behalf of serious inquiry into the whole affair saying, "under one contract, between the U.S. Government and this combine, [RMK-BRJ] it is officially estimated that obligations will reach at least $900 million by November 1967...why this huge contract has not been and is not now being adequately audited is beyond me. The potential for waste and profiteering under such a contract is substantial." (Cong. Rec., August 30, 1966) Rumsfeld's alarm was echoed by others in the congress and in the press as well, although will little affect. All the while, the war in southern Vietnam continued to spiral out of control despite the dramatic increases in firepower and troops and military construction. The government's contract with the Vietnam Builders ended only in 1972 shortly before the project. (James M. Carter, "The Merchants of Blood")

I guess now that his good friend the VP has affiliations with KBR it's OK. And, if press accounts of Iraq are true, the contracting business there suffers from the same " potential for waste and profiteering" abuses Representative Rumsfeld spoke out against in 1966. It's as if President Eisenhower warned us about the military-industrial complex and then went to work as a defense lobbyist.

Joe Galloway has called the SecDef to task in many of his columns over virtually the entire range of Mr. Rumfeld's performance of his duties. Joe must be getting to him if DiRita had the temerity to challenge Joe. Thanks for sharing the exchange.


A very enlightening exchange. A tragedy that our military is being broken not to mention the CIA. 2009 is a long ways away. I hope now this administration does not attack Iran because if the wargame where Gen. Riper led the Red Force turns out to be the real one (meaning these guys have not learned anything which would be the likely scenario) the repurcussions for US influence in the world would be horrendous.

What is astounding is the energy they spend on PR and gimmicks and now wiretapping Americans while the real business of state flounders.

Larry Mitchell

Galloway continues to support the soldiers - young and old. 3 or 4 years ago he spoke at the dedication of a building in Hampton, VA to a MOH recipient from B Co. 4th Bn 9th Inf., 25th ID who soaked up enough grenade shrapnel to save the men around him in March 1967. I wish I could have heard his speech. I joined that company 6 months later in OCT67.

I'm not knowledgeable enough to referee the bulk of the email exchange, but I guarantee Joe's right on the last part. Fewer chicken hawks would have produced a much better plan and much less "bring em on".


Now that was REAL!


Like the cadaver that hadn't yet appraised itself of its situation, Mr. DiRita kept coming back for more.

In a way, I'm glad he did. Galloway literally brought me to my feet with his final entry, and DiRita's last few words highlighted his own insensibility more than any outsider could.


That is a stunning exchange. That is what you have when there is a "faith based" leadership. No amount of facts will alter peoples opinions of their leader when they have an imoveable ideal fixed in their mind.

Althought the nation is coming to. It is strange to now think that around 70% of the nation have roughly the same opinion of the Bush/Republican leadership as I do.

Things will get more surreal as the number drops more and the believers still follow.

Bush is approaching Kim Jong Ill territory...

Remember his wife just said: "I don't believe those polls."..When faced with facts she takes solace in the created world of stage managed crowds at Republican party campaign events.

Even "Boy Genius" Karl Rove is slipping. In his recent AEI appearance he flipped and twisted logic smoothly but not effectively. He cited consumer confidence polls as evidence of a good economy, then he was asked about the low polls for Bush. Rove said that polls don't matter that is not any way to govern. Besides, he argued, most of the polls showed that Bush was still personally popular despite his low job approval rating.

Yep, we are seeing how people can still support the most malevolent of leaders as long as their own "special interests" are met.



Truth to power for real. He goes to the heart of Rumsfelds strategy of high tech toys and a never ending state of war. The true state of the army I suspect is closer to what the link below indicates.



Galloway might as well have been talking to a bag of rocks. You have to admit, faith based "reasoning" allows for great policy lattitude.. have faith, don't believe the facts, ignore the results, go to heavily prescreened events with fellow true believers, continue to insist that the hugely complex forces are under control. And of course, in no circumstances take responsability for the outcomes - in the unlikely event that the outcomes are admitted.

Pat - can you or any of the military people out there comment on the war game outcomes? I assume this is a computer based game - how accurate was the result? How likely is it for such an unconventional attack overwhelm the Navy's defences? I've heard that war games tend to have a high "burn rate" associated with people taking risks in the game that they would not consider in combat - but then we could expect suicide attacks in these scenarios...


W. Patrick Lang


Over the years I have been thrown out of a variety of wargames for Van riper like behavior.

The first time was in Panama for cutting the jungle surrounded supply lines of a conventional force. I was told that this was "cheating."

I think Van riper's scenario is realistic. you have to have watched Middle Easterners in action when they are truly aroused to understand how ferocious they can be. Those headbands you see them wearing on TV are not enscribed "Welcome Walmart shoppers." pl


Col., I thought I was over it but Galloway's 4th response made me misty.

There is no sense in speaking truth to those now in power. "There are none so blind as those who will not see."


Dear Col. Lang,
Thank you for posting this. God bless Joe Galloway and Ernie Pyle. I hope and trust all is well, sir.


That they would be ferocious I don't doubt one bit - and I'm guessing that the cultural factors are greatly enhanced by facing an enemy of overwhelming military strength. Seems logical that the combo would instill not only ferocious fighting will but some of the inventive tactics you and your fellow gamers modeled.

But would such tactics over come the Navy's platforms? From what I've read, naval missiles are cheap, effective and hard to counter (wasn't that the Russian Navy's solution to our carrier groups?) - but in earlier posts others have assumed our Navy might lose a ship or two before pounding the crap out of the offenders.... Does Van Riper's results alter that assessment?

On the subject of altering the rules of the games for the desired outcome - what on earth purpose does that serve? When real world operations go south, they can't push the reset button and get their supply lines or carrier groups back!!!

W. Patrick Lang


I think the US Navy would prevail. I have said so before, but if the fleet did not take appropriate measures initial losses could be bad. pl


Exercises are expensive. For a good return-on-investment, game managers like to stay within the confines of an expected range of outcomes, rather than allow non-linear behaviors and the suprises that often accrue. This enables them to fine tune their game systems & argue for more gaming funds.

However, fidelity to the real world, where out-of-the-box behaviors by creative adversaries trump best-laid plans, is lost.

This admin's penchant for defining a self-referencing (faith-based?) model of national security dovetails nicely with the gaming technocrats desire for narrow, cost-effective control over exercises.

Too bad reality doesn't conform.

ps: Riper's action is analogous to Patton's famous rule-breaking (refueling his tanks out of his own wallet) in the Louisiana Games. One might think we need more of this style of martial creativity to defeat violent fundamentalism around the world.


The last email from the lap dog pissed me off. Yes, I believe that Rummy understands. I also believe that he truly doesn't give a flying fuck-about the loss of lives, about the squandered money or about the decimated and demoralized military. Impeach 'em all!!

Serving Patriot


Glad to see that Larry has not changed one iota from the man who smeared the then CNO (late ADM Boorda) while still an O-6 (an angry passed over O-6 perhaps?) in the pages of USNI's Proceedings magazine.

At the time, I thought he deserved an official rebuke. Alas, no one came along to clip his wings. IIRC, he was working with Newt Gingrich as a legislative fellow (not unlike his buddy (also retired Navy CAPT) Bill Luti, formerly of DoD, now of NSC). Dirita's article caused an outcry that died out and forgotten until ADM Boorda's later suicide (at which point it became exhibit A in the "Boorda got what he deserved" program).

Someone above said you cannot reason with these faith-based people. So true! To keep doing so only hurts one's head from the repeated wall bashing.

And so sad for our nation! The results are clear to Galloway, the troops, and the rest of us in the reality-based national security community.

What a whirlwind (internal and external) we are sowing. I fear the reaping when it begins and, at times, worry for our nation's survival in that trial.

Thanks for posting this.



Am I correct then in understandng that both Luti and DiRita served together as Congressional Fellows? Certianly men of similar (lack of) character. Luti of course played no small role under Feith helping to cherry pick his intelligence. Social networks help put things into perspective.

W. Patrick Lang


Dirita is a USNA grad.? What class?

He was a captain in the US Navy? My God?



Rumsfeld as SECDEF heads a very flawed institution. He has been a fool, he has lost and lacks the cojones to embrace that fact, but that is not the core of the problem.

The Pentagon is a self declared procurer. Barnett has said, uncritically, the Pentagon is an institution that imagines future wars then buys the army it needs. Unfortunately the wars imagined are more often calculated to comfortably lard the US defense industry rather than defend US citizens.

In the face of an obvious need to prepare the US Army for larger, longer constabulary operations that are almost certainly its fate in the aftermath of the disaster in Iraq Rumsfeld has stuck rigidly to far to many ludicrous procurement programs that Joe Galloway cites in his criticism of the QDR.

Much has been said about the failings of Langley, the Pentagon deserves far harsher criticism than simply attacking Rumsfeld. Decapitation may be deserved but won't end the cancer in this cold war revenant, this one needs to be taken down to the waist.

Norbert Schulz

According to Wikipedia:

Lawrence Di Rita, Class of 1980 - Special Assistant to and Spokesman for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Citizen Dane

As far as reality goes: In a recent exercise the Danish Maritime Home Guard (the Danish Home Guard is kind of like the equivalent of low priority US NG units - we're all proud volunteers though, serving our country for nothing but the sheer sence of duty; I'm a platoon leader in the Army Home Guard myself - full disclosure), actually managed to sink a German cruiser in the Danish "Great Belt" - they hid a Rigid Inflatable Boat behind a buoy to confuse the radars of the German convoy and succeeded beyond their wildest dreams: They managed to approach the Germans unseen by as well the human eye as high tech wizardry and toss a military "fire cracker" upon the aft deck of the German cruiser, which never knew what hit her before it was too late.

Only goes to show ...

July 6, 1535

There is an interesting twist to the DiRita/Galloway email exchange that has missed the attention of readers to date.

In the exchange Galloway is a hero--he speaks truth to power. I have had a few dealings with Galloway and this speaks to his underlying character.

I contrast this with the more recent actions of Gen. McCaffrey, the gentleman who prompted Galloway to post the exchange. A general who I hav, until late, greatly admired.

Here is the rub, McCaffrey tells Galloway to post the exchange out of a sense of duty to our fighting troops--duty, honor country. However, I recently read McCaffrey's latest trip report from Iraq and it speaks no such similar truths. In fact, it is a bunch of malarkey, kiss ass, hyperbole. Sure, he notes that this won't be a short battle and that it will take money and, sadly, blood, to make it work. However, there is none of the "Come to Jesus," face real realities that you see in the Galloway exchange. No, McCaffrey's trip report raises just enough issues to cover his own flanks, but not enough to make a difference.

In other words, it seems McCaffrey agrees with Galloway's analysis, enough to prod its disclosure, but not enough to put his own tail on the line.

I know, early on in the war McCaffrey was one of the few courageous generals who stood up and said there were real problems--but then the Rumsfeldites and Bushies smacked him back ("retired, now armchair general"). Since then he hasn't just gone AWOL, he has actually praised the leadership of the current team. I can only explain this as he has made a deliberate attempt to curry favor with the Pentagon leadership and Bushies--sadly that makes sense since he is now lobbying them for favors for the corporations he now represents. (The huge irony here is that the Bush team will never embrace him since he was a Clinton Cabinet member.)

Sad that such a fine warrior/statesman has made such a Faustian bargain. He could have done a lot for our troops if he had continued to publicly speak truth to power himself--instead of just encouraging others to fight these battles for him.

If he had stayed in this fight, who knows, perhaps he would have been the rising star of the next team of leaders--maybe even SecDef, VPOTUS, or . . .

“It isn’t difficult to keep alive, friends—just don’t make trouble. . . . If we should bump into one another, recognize me.”

Bebe Rebozo

Here's a PDF of the Word file. Not everyone can read a Word document with their computer and that's a good thing. Try http://tinyurl.com/mtye4


Colonel and all,

Great post as always. Ali I think nailed it as well as anyone - Rumsfeld, De Rita et al are really only the symptoms and not the cause of a much deeper disease - the revolving door between the military and the defense industries. During the Cold War we were able I think to justify this (even though it bothered the hell out of alot of us even then..) as we had a real enemy. It resulted in much waste and overspending but, WTH, we had the very real Soviet opponents to worry about. But since the wall came down they've had to completely re-tool their budget justifictaions, false estimates, wild-ass threat fabrications, you name it to feed this beast that we've rarely dared to name. Andrew Bacevich outlines the dangers of this as well as anyone in his "The New American Militarism", but doesn't really touch on the economic underpinnings, which is really the root of the evil. What to do, don't know....but preventing general and flag-rank officers (to say nothing of ex-legislators) from sitting on the boards of defense-related industries would be a hell of a start!

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