Friday, April 14, 2006

The military speaks out

The New York Times has the goods today (hat tip Americablog). Here's the full list of generals calling for Rumsfeld's resignation so far:
  • Retired Maj. Gen. Charles Swannack, former commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, who had troops on the ground in Iraq through 2004.
  • Retired two-star Maj. Gen. John Batiste, who commanded the Army's 1st Infantry Division in Iraq and turned down the no. 2 military job in Iraq rather than work under Rumsfeld.
  • Retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, former head of the U.S. Central Command under Clinton.
  • Retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, who oversaw training of Iraqi forces.
  • Retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold, former director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He now regrets that he and others did not speak out more forcefully: "When they knew the plan was flawed, saw intelligence distorted to justify a rationale for war, or witnessed arrogant micromanagement that at times crippled the military's effectiveness, many leaders who wore the uniform chose inaction."
  • Ret. three-star Army Gen. John Riggs, a 39-year veteran who led the Army's 21st century transformation task force and was demoted and cashiered in 2005 following two infractions so minor they were not even placed in his service record. Riggs had clashed repeatedly with Rumsfeld about overstretching the military.
And for good measure let's throw in some other ex-military personnel in a position to offer pointed criticism, even if they are not calling directly for Rumsfeld's ouster:
  • Former Secretary of the Army Thomas White, who was forced out of his job by Rumsfeld in 2003. Said White, "Rumsfeld has been contemptuous of the views of senior military officers since the day he walked in as secretary of defense."
  • Former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki, who retired in 2003 following a heated dispute with Rumsfeld over the proper troop strength needed for the invasion force.
  • Former Marine Capt. Christopher Sheppard, a "true believer" who served two tours of duty in Iraq as a combat engineer. Said Sheppard, "I now know I wrongfully placed my faith and trust in a presidential administration hopelessly mired in incompetence, hubris and a lack of accountability.... I will never trust any of them again."
On Thursday, White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters, "The president believes Secretary Rumsfeld is doing a very fine job during a challenging period in our nation's history."

Heckuva job, Rummy.

UPDATE: Digby has written a fascinating analysis in which he posits that the generals are speaking out to stop an Iran invasion, and says we are witnessing a "coup by media."

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