Archive for ‘Rumsfeld Bites’

November 8th, 2006

Rid of Rummy

by Venomous Kate

Breaking news: Rumsfeld is resigning. I’ll be back with more coverage after I’m finished dancing the Happy Dance.

Fox News this morning:

Earlier today, a spokesman for Rumsfeld said he’d given no indication that he would step down in the wake of Democratic election gains. The spokesman said Rumsfeld would work with Congress on Iraq but added that the focus on stabilizing the country will remain the same.

Eric Ruff, the Pentagon press secretary, said he participated in meetings with Rumsfeld on Wednesday morning and heard no talk of changing war strategies or of Rumsfeld leaving his post. He said he did not know whether Rumsfeld has talked to President Bush about his future in light of the election results.

Considering that President Bush is currently live on air explaining Rumsfeld’s departure, the MSM’s a bit slow on the uptake. I, meanwhile, have not stopped cheering.

UPDATE: CNN confirms Rumsfeld is resigning.

On TV, The President just named former CIA-head Robert Gates as Rumsfeld’s replacement.

UPDATE: Wikipedia’s fast. The entry on Robert Gates already indicates he’s to be Rummy’s replacement.

UPDATE: No doubt InstaPundit will increase his coverage of this soon. Maybe he’s still sleepy from his streaming video appearance at CNN’s Blog Party last night?

UPDATE: Reader email from James C. asks if I’ll be attending Rumsfeld’s speech at Kansas State on Thursday just so I can gloat. Um, no. I’ll be staying home to trim my toenails. I also won’t be answering the door.

UPDATE: For those of you not near a TV set, here’s video of the President’s speech.

FINAL (?) UPDATE: Looks like this will be the second-to-last entry in my Rumsfeld Bites category. By gum, I already miss it.

November 6th, 2006

Army Times Against Rummy

by Venomous Kate

I’m sure to some my anti-Rumsfeld posts have taken on the tone of “I told you so.” But, let’s face it: I did. For three years. If it seemed premature back in the early days of the war when I began my tirade against Donald Rumsfeld, perhaps it’s because I believe a problem should be acknowledged and dealt with the instant it arises. That’s just one more difference between Donald Rumsfeld and me.

The Army Times has learned their lesson about Rumsfeld, too. In fact, the Air Force Times, the Navy Times, the Marine Corps Times and the Military Times (all owned by the same company) ran the editorial as well.

Although well worth reading in its entirety, the gist is:

For two years, American sergeants, captains and majors training the Iraqis have told their bosses that Iraqi troops have no sense of national identity, are only in it for the money, don’t show up for duty and cannot sustain themselves.

Meanwhile, colonels and generals have asked their bosses for more troops. Service chiefs have asked for more money.

And all along, Rumsfeld has assured us that things are well in hand.

Now, the president says he’ll stick with Rumsfeld for the balance of his term in the White House.

This is a mistake. It is one thing for the majority of Americans to think Rumsfeld has failed. But when the nation’s current military leaders start to break publicly with their defense secretary, then it is clear that he is losing control of the institution he ostensibly leads.

The Defense Department issued a response:

The new ‘chorus of criticism’ noted by the editorials is actually old news and does not include commanders in the field, who remain committed to the mission.

Of course not. For all the U.S. military’s efforts to protect and promote freedom throughout the world, the fact remains that there is no free speech in the military. Nor, I think, would many in the military argue for such a right: those in active duty know that cohesion and unity is essential, that morale suffers when commanders speak out against those who command them, and that the primary mission for active personnel is to get the job done.

The DoD’s response is disingenuous at best, for it neglects to acknowledge the myriad of skilled and knowledgeable leaders who’ve served in Iraq and who have called for Rumsfeld’s replacement. (It also fails to acknowledge that Donald Rumsfeld himself has never served there, either.)

Yes, they are retired now, some because they refused to serve further under Donald Rumsfeld, one because he did not believe the rationale given for the war in Iraq. They no longer must remain silent to protect morale or their own careers.

But they are far from the inexperienced rubes the DoD’s statement makes them out to be:

  • Retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold… the former operations director for the Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • Major General Charles Swannack, who led the 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq
  • Maj. Gen. John Batiste, who led the 1st Infantry Division in northern Iraq
  • Former U.S. Central Command chief Anthony Zinni
  • Retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, who led the program to train Iraq’s military

And let us not forget former Secretary of the Army Thomas White who has gone on record noting that under Rumsfeld the DoD has consistently refused “come to grips” with the scale of committment needed in Iraq. Or Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, who has called Rumsfeld arrogantly out of touch with troops serving in Iraq and angrily noted Rumsfeld’s attempts to shift blame for tactical failings from himself to the Army.

Maj. Gen. Eaton’s March 2006 editorial in the New York Times skillfully summarizes the effects of Rumsfeld’s mismanagement and tactical ineptitude in Iraq:

Rumsfeld has put the Pentagon at the mercy of his ego, his Cold Warrior’s view of the world and his unrealistic confidence in technology to replace manpower. As a result, the U.S. Army finds itself severely undermanned – cut to 10 active divisions but asked by the administration to support a foreign policy that requires at least 12 or 14.

Only General Eric Shinseki, the army chief of staff when President George W. Bush was elected, had the courage to challenge the downsizing plans. So Rumsfeld retaliated by naming Shinseki’s successor more than a year before his scheduled retirement, effectively undercutting his authority. The rest of the senior brass got the message, and nobody has complained since.

Now the Pentagon’s new Quadrennial Defense Review shows that Rumsfeld also fails to understand the nature of protracted counterinsurgency warfare in Iraq and the demands it places on ground forces. The document, amazingly, does not call for enlarging the army; rather, it increases only Special Operations forces, by a token 15 percent, maybe 1,500 troops.

Rumsfeld has also failed in terms of operations in Iraq. He rejected the so-called Powell Doctrine of overwhelming force and sent just enough tech-enhanced troops to complete what we called Phase III of the war – ground combat against the uniformed Iraqis. He ignored competent advisers like General Anthony Zinni and others who predicted that the Iraqi forces might melt away, leading to chaos.

It is all too clear that Shinseki was right: Several hundred thousand men would have made a big difference then, as we began Phase IV, or country reconstruction.

There is, however, some truth in the DoD’s response to these calls for Rumsfeld’s resignation: this is not news. The number of those in the military, in the government, and in the voting populace who have lost faith in Donald Rumsfeld has been growing since the early days of the Iraq war. I have little doubt they will continue to grow.

Don’t get me wrong: I am not advocating that we pull out of Iraq. I, too, believe it would have devastating consequences. But I do believe it’s time to pull out of Rumsfeld’s pocket. I believe it’s time to listen to those who have been in Iraq.

In this country of ours where we pride ourselves on a government responding to the needs and voices of its people, the President’s staunch intractability on the matter of Donald Rumsfeld is both alarming and demoralizing to those expected to support those who fight.

UPDATE: Gee, I guess this makes me a ‘liberal.’ How interesting, though, that all the charts and graphs boil down to “Gee, this war’s produced fewer dead bodies.” Of course, there’s no way to know how even fewer there could have been if, say, Rumsfeld hadn’t hamstrung the ground troops but, instead, recognized the unique demands of fighting in urbanized terrain.

October 31st, 2006

Rid The Right Of Rummy

by Venomous Kate

The Anchoress points to two very salient articles this past week, both of which call for Rumsfeld’s resignation. Ben Stein’s article goes so far as to provide a pre-fabricated resignation speech, although Rumsfeld claims to have tendered his resignation twice only to have it refused by President Bush.

Boston Herald’s city editor, Jules Crittenden, discusses the erroneous yet increasing perception that Iraq has become the new Vietnam and lays the blame at the feet of Donald Rumsfeld.

Rumsfeld made the critical error four years ago of thinking he could do Iraq on the cheap. He thought he could fight a multifront war with a downsized, post-Cold War army. He thought he could, overnight, transform a politically and psychologically traumatized, ethnically divided nation.

It is one thing to make mistakes, and another to fail to learn from them. It is time for someone who can make the case for Iraq without becoming the issue himself. (Source: Boston Herald.)

I have long called for Rumsfeld’s departure (see the category “Rumsfeld Bites” for a long list of reasons). If you’ll pardon a bit more self-linking I’ll explain:

As I’ve written previously in other contexts, Rumsfeld has been a long-standing potential political liability for the President in the same vein as Cheney. We’ve watched as the Left pointed toward Rumsfeld as “proof” of the Bush Administration’s hawkishness, and we’ve watched as moderates and centrists have been increasingly alienated by Rumsfeld’s apparent belief that the American public should not know certain facts about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Remember the photos of the coffins we weren’t supposed to see? Or the Pentagon’s urging of the media to stop calling it a “War in Iraq” in favor of calling it the “Fight for Iraq”?) All that has been manageable until now, when Rumsfeld appears to believe that even the President does not need to know certain facts about the war. And that stance may very well cost Bush the Presidency.

The single greatest weakness of the Bush Administration – IMVO – has been the President’s heavy reliance on advisers who may have their own agendas and who, we’ve repeatedly learned, have not been fully candid with the President. Obviously, a President is supposed to rely on his advisors instead of micromanaging in a Carter-esque fashion, but the danger for Bush – which goes back as far as the 2000 campaign – is the appearance of over-reliance on his advisors. (Source: EV entry: “Foreshadowed and Forewarned“.)

That over-reliance is, of course, a product of what The Anchoress terms the famous “Bushian loyalty,” but which she also notes “is also famous for finally doing the Bushes themselves in.”

That entrenched loyalty is not costing the Bushes alone. It is costing taxpayers as well, now that the Pentagon has hired a PR firm to defend the SecDef against those critical of him.

The Pentagon has begun a new “rapid response” operation to quickly respond to news media stories critical of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the war in Iraq, as well as other stories the Defense Department leadership doesn’t like.

The operation is similar to those used in political campaigns, but officials say the new organization was not started specifically because of rising criticism of the war.

Defense Department Press Secretary Eric Ruff could not immediately provide statistics regarding the cost of the new operation or the number of people involved. He confirmed, however, that it is expected some of the new staff members will be political appointees or contractors. (Souce: CNN.)

While I wholeheartedly concur with the notion of counteracting the anti-war tirades of the Left (and the left-leaning MSM), I can’t help recalling that Rumsfeld ordered the DoD to bar any criticism of himself and his policies.

That prohibition against criticism, coupled with these new PR efforts, smacks of disinformation and the intentional misleading of those within government service in the hope that eventually the voting public will be misled as well.

October 15th, 2006

Whither the GOP?

by Venomous Kate

On the future — and possible erosion — of the GOP, Instapundit writes a “pre-mortem.”

So is it over for the GOP majorities in Congress? It’s still too early to say, I guess, but when even John Hinderaker is sounding extremely gloomy that’s certainly the way to bet.

So I want to stress, for the edification of any Republican leaders who might pay attention, that this is the result of a series of unforced errors on their part.

The errors, which are very well worth the read, can be summarized as:

1. The Terri Shiavo affair;
2. The Harriet Meyers debacle;
3. The Dubai Ports disaster;
4. Immigration;
5. William Jefferson; and
6. Foleygate.

To which I would add my own, specifically that President Bush has never, ever overcome the perception that he is politically controlled by others who are not accountable to voters… particularly Donald Rumsfeld. While that choice is clearly limited to Bush’s decision-making, I maintain the perception of non-accountability continues to hang over the Republican party, and the aforementioned list of errors actually lists the consequences of political puppetry.

July 27th, 2005

Spring Break For The Troops?

by Venomous Kate

I do believe we’ve heard this before, but the news from Gen. Casey’s press briefing — attended by Rumsfeld — sounds promising for a swift return for our troops.

The top U.S. military commander in Iraq said Wednesday that the U.S. military could begin a substantial troop pullout as early as next spring.

Gen. George Casey, who spoke to reporters during Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s unannounced trip to Iraq, said some conditions would have to be met for the withdrawal to take place.

“I do believe that if the political process continues to go positively and if the development of the security forces continues to go as it is going, I do believe we’ll still be able to take some very substantial reductions after these elections in the spring and summer of next year.” (Source: CNN.)

Then again, even though Casey was doing the talking, Rumsfeld’s lips weren’t moving… which makes me doubt any plans for a spring return are actually in the works.

June 2nd, 2004

You’re Still Stuck, Soldier

by Venomous Kate

After six months of waiting, we’re finally learning just how many soldiers will be affected by the Army’s stop loss program. Back in December, when the measures were first announced, the DoD and Army refused to give specifics, leaving many of us to hope the measures were limited to a handful of vital MOS’s. Today it’s clear that’s not the case.

The announcement Wednesday, an expansion of a program called “stop-loss,” affects units that are 90 days or less from deploying, said Lt. Gen. Frank L. “Buster” Hagenbeck, the Army’s deputy chief of staff for personnel.

It’s obvious from any day’s headlines that we’re undermanned in Iraq, and equally obvious that the shortage is due to the SecDef’s decision to ignore military experts’ advice concerning ground-troop deployment at the onset of the war in Iraq. Now those same ground troops – cut short in the beginning – must pay the price. It is, as former Army Captain Andrew Exum wrote in the New York Times, a shameful way to treat our troops.

These soldiers are falling victim to the military’s “stop-loss” policy — and as a former officer who led some of them in battle, I find their treatment shameful. Announced shortly after the 9/11 attacks and authorized by President Bush, the stop-loss policy allows commanders to hold soldiers past the date they are due to leave the service if their unit is scheduled to be deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. Military officials rightly point out that stop-loss prevents a mass exodus of combat soldiers just before a combat tour.

But nonetheless, the stop-loss policy is wrong; it runs contrary to the concept of the volunteer military set up in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. Many if not most of the soldiers in this latest Iraq-bound wave are already veterans of several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have honorably completed their active duty obligations. But like draftees, they have been conscripted to meet the additional needs in Iraq.[…]

These soldiers have already been asked to sacrifice much and have done so proudly. Yet the military continues to keep them overseas — because it knows that through stop-loss it can do so legally, and that it will not receive nearly as much negative publicity as it would by reinstating the draft.

Meanwhile, up to 6500 soldiers who have already retired may be involuntarily called back to duty as part of the Individual Ready Reserve pool.

Shameful.

At least there’s some indication that the DoD is considering the implementation of an idea I proposed back in August, albeit in different fashion.

The Army is also considering a plan to close its premier training center at Fort Irwin in California so the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, the much-vaunted Opposition Force against which the Army’s tank divisions hone their combat skills, would be available for combat duty in Iraq.

No decision has been made on that plan.

Do it, Rumsfeld. But first, apologize and admit your mistake. There’s no shame in admitting you were wrong. The shame lies in making ill use of those who gladly volunteered to serve.

May 23rd, 2004

Rumsfeld’s Replacement?

by Venomous Kate

Condi Rice as SecDef? Interesting thought!

May 17th, 2004

Rumsfeld Watch

by Venomous Kate

El Cid has a nice piece on the state of the Pentagon under Rumsfeld’s command.