Monday, November 29, 2004

Generals Consensus

Would a person who volunteered for combat, served honorably, and then was given medals for his service allow himself to be led around by the nose by a bunch of criminally inept hooligans and have no way of stopping it though he would presumably be the most powerful person in the world, or would a person with that experience -- knowing battle, understanding the importance of troop strength and allied support -- make reasoned decisions, challenging his advisors, military and civilian, to engage the hard questions so that success (for Iraq and America) could be reached? [This is presuming we would be in a war in the first place, which we obviously would not.] I'm just askin'.

Let's hear it from those who know a thing or two about this war business:

Gen. Merrill "Tony" McPeak
Air Force chief of staff, 1990-94
The people in control in the Pentagon and the White House live in a fantasy world. They actually thought everyone would just line up and vote for a new democracy and you would have a sort of Denmark with oil. I blame Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the people behind him -- Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Undersecretary Douglas Feith. The vice president himself should probably be included; certainly his wife. These so-called neocons: These people have no real experience in life.

Adm. Stansfield Turner
NATO Allied commander for Southern Europe, 1975-77; CIA director, 1977-81
I think we are in a real mess. ...We have lost the support of the Iraqi people who were glad to see Saddam go. ...Whatever you call it, this is now an insurgency using the techniques of terrorism. With the borders poorly guarded, the terrorists come in. All in all, Iraq is a failure of monumental proportions.

Lt. Gen. William Odom
Director of the National Security Agency, 1985-88
It's a huge strategic disaster, and it will only get worse. The sooner we leave, the less the damage. In the months since the invasion, the U.S. forces have become involved in trying to repress a number of insurgency movements. This is the way we were fighting in Vietnam, and if we keep on fighting this way, this one is going to go on a long time too. The idea of creating a constitutional state in a short amount of time is a joke. It will take ten to fifteen years, and that is if we want to kill ten percent of the population.

Gen. Anthony Zinni
Commander in chief of the United States Central Command, 1997-2000
Did we have to do this? I saw the intelligence right up to the day of the war, and I did not see any imminent threat there. If anything, Saddam was coming apart. The sanctions were working. The containment was working. He had a hollow military, as we saw.

Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy
Army deputy chief of staff for intelligence, 1997-2000
From the beginning, i was asked which side I took, Shinseki's or Rumsfeld's. And I said Shinseki. I mean, Rumsfeld proudly announced that he had told General Franks to fight this war with different tactics in which they would bypass enemy strongholds and enemy resistance and keep on moving. But it was shocking to me that the secretary of defense would tell the Army how to fight. He doesn't know how to fight; he has no business telling them. It's completely within civilian authority to tell you where to fight, what our major objective is, but it is absolutely no one's business but uniformed military to tell you how to do the job. To me, it was astonishing that Rumsfeld would presume to tell four-star generals, in the Army thirty-five years, how to do their jobs.

Gen. Wesley Clark
NATO supreme Allied commander for Europe, 1997-2000
Troop strength was not the only problem. We got into this mess because the Bush administration decided what they really wanted to do was to invade Iraq, and then the only question was, for what reason?

Adm. William Crowe
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1985-89
We screwed up. we were intent on a quick victory with smaller forces, and we felt if we had a military victory everything else would fall in place. We would be viewed not as occupiers but as victors. We would draw down to 30,000 people within the first sixty days.

All of this was sheer nonsense.They thought that once Iraq fell we'd have a similar effect throughout the Middle East and terrorism would evaporate, blah, blah, blah. All of these were terrible assumptions. A State Department study advising otherwise was sent to Rumsfeld, but he threw it in the wastebasket.

More at The Generals Speak...
Dissents and Laments


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