Retired Generals Besiege Rumsfeld
Retired Major General John Batiste said Friday of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, “We went to war with a flawed plan that didn’t account for the hard work to build the peace after we took down the regime . . .” and added, “We also served under a secretary of defense who didn’t understand leadership, who was abusive, who was arrogant and who didn’t build a strong team.” He is the latest in a string of retired generals to call on Rumsfeld to step down.
There has been some snarking that Gen. Batiste did not speak out while in uniform. These comments come from civilian chickenhawks. Moreover, in the kind of shop Rumsfeld has been running, the US field commander, Lt. Gen. William S. Wallace, was almost fired for simply remarking on the guerrilla tactics of the Saddam Fedayeen, saying, “This is not the war we gamed for.” His innocent and entirely accurate remark sent Rummy ballistic and Tommy Franks almost fired him. Franks was furious that Wallace and others wanted to deal carefully with the dangerous guerrillas, and told them he didn’t care about keeping US casualties low. He actually put his hand over his mouth and yawned to show his uninterest in casualties. Rumsfeld was the one who pushed on Wallace a tiny military force that could not deal with, and never was able to deal with the guerrillas. US civil administrator Paul Bremer also admitted that we never had enough troops on the ground, and he told Rumsfeld so. He got no response. Rumsfeld keeps saying that no one told him things like that. But people did. He just wasn’t listening. He should go.