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Saturday, April 15, 2006

Getting Rummy

Maureen Dowd says Rummy needs to go. She's not alone:

The Rummy Mutiny, by Maureen Dowd, Commentary, NY Times: ... History will long dwell on how America made the same bloody errors in Vietnam and Iraq within a generation, trading the arrogant, obtuse, wire-rimmed Robert McNamara for the arrogant, obtuse, wire-rimmed Donald Rumsfeld.

First the public began bailing on supporting the conduct of the Iraq war, and now top military voices are balking. Six prominent retired generals say that Rummy discounted the dangers in Iraq and managed with an intimidating style... He promoted sycophants like Richard Myers and Peter Pace, while slapping down truth-tellers like Eric Shinseki. ...

W. should have fired Rummy long ago, after the sickening news of Abu Ghraib and torture stories out of Gitmo. He should have fired him as soon as it became clear that the defense secretary who bungled the occupation and insurgency has no idea how to get out of Iraq and stop American kids from getting blown up day after day by homemade bombs.

But W. took a break from a long holiday weekend ... at Camp David to defend Rummy and tamp down the mutiny. The commander in chief is the one who put Rummy in charge ... and hates admitting a mistake as much as his defense chief. He thinks that if he caves to keening generals, he will be seen by his base as weak. His whole presidency, his whole muscle-bound adventurism in Iraq, has been designed to prevent him from being labeled a wimp, as his dad was.

Mr. Bush's pretense — that he was just following the advice of the military when he endorsed Rummy's inadequate troop levels — rings hollow now that the former generals have spoken out ... Convinced Iraq was all but won, Rummy prodded Tommy Franks to cancel the final Army division in the war plan, the First Cavalry Division.

"Rumsfeld just ground Franks down," [said] Tom White, the former Army secretary... "The nature of Rumsfeld is that you just get tired of arguing with him." Retired Lt. Gen. Greg Newbold writes ... in Time ...: "My sincere view is that the commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions — or bury the results."

Anyone who challenged the administration was painted as traitorous, so why not respected military leaders? A few Rummy apple-polishers raced forth yesterday to accuse the candid generals of undermining the military and the country...

With ... Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, Rummy set up a ... C.I.A. within the Defense Department to ferret out "evidence" of a Saddam-Al Qaeda link, when the real C.I.A. couldn't. ... [T]hey set up their own Defense Department within the Defense Department, snatching back power from a military establishment they felt had grown too cautious about risking troops in combat.

Rummy thought he could banish American skittishness after Vietnam with his new streamlined intervention policy. But he ended up enhancing American skittishness...

In a separate column, Henry Kissinger suggests guidelines for the use of preemptive action:

If each nation claims the right to define its pre-emptive rights, the absence of any rules would spell international chaos. ... a policy that allows for preventive force can sustain the international system only if solitary American enterprises are the rare exception, not the basic rule of American strategy.

A very rare exception, if ever, in my view. Here are Kissinger's comments and suggestions: American strategy and pre-emptive war, IHT.

Update: More on Iran and solitary preemptive action:

Retired colonel claims U.S. military operations are already 'underway' in Iran, by Ron Brynaert, Raw Story: During an interview on CNN Friday night, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Sam Gardiner claimed that U.S. military operations are already 'underway' inside Iran... "I would say -- and this may shock some -- I think the decision has been made and military operations are under way," Col. Gardiner told CNN International anchor Jim Clancy (as noted by Digby at the blog Hullabaloo).

Gardiner ... also claimed that Aliasghar Soltaniyeh, the Iranian ambassador to the United Nation's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told him a few weeks ago that units who had attacked the Revolutionary Guard had been captured and confessed to working with Americans.

"The ... Iranians have been saying American military troops are in there, have been saying it for almost a year," Gardiner said. "I was in Berlin two weeks ago, sat next to the ambassador, the Iranian ambassador to the IAEA. And I said, 'Hey, I hear you're accusing Americans of being in there operating with some of the units that have shot up revolution guard units.'"

"He said, quite frankly, 'Yes, we know they are. We've captured some of the units, and they've confessed to working with the Americans,'" said the retired Air Force colonel.

Last Thursday, Raw Story's Larisa Alexandrovna reported (...US outsourcing special ops, intelligence to Iraq terror group...) that, according to former and current intelligence officials, the Pentagon has been using a right-wing terrorist organization known as Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) as an operational asset "to create strife in Iran in preparation for any possible attack."...

    Posted by on Saturday, April 15, 2006 at 12:12 AM in Economics, Iraq and Afghanistan, Politics | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (43)


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