Rumsfeld’s critics offer no plans of their own

Cliff May has some direct questions for SecDef Rumsfeld’s critics:

The question is not whether Donald Rumsfeld should resign. The question is not even who should replace him. The question is: What goals would a new Secretary of Defense set, and what strategies would he implement to achieve them?
If Rumsfeld’s critics believe America’s military has met its match on the battlefields of Iraq, they should say so forthrightly. But they should talk, too, about the ramifications of an American defeat in the heart of the Arab Middle East.

A separate question � one well worth asking � is whether a Pentagon reshaped by Rumsfeld will be all that it can be; whether it will be capable of employing organized violence more effectively than America’s adversaries (which is, after all, the mission).

Retired generals should be welcomed into the debate on military transformation. But they can’t make much of a contribution until and unless they start asking the right questions.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

1 comment
  1. The point that people are missing in this debate is that, for the first time in several decades, former senior military leaders are calling for the head of the SecDef. This hasn’t happened since a certain gentleman by the name of McNamara held the position in the 60s during Vietnam (where a lot of the difficulties faced by the ground sloggers were caused by micro-mismanagement from the civilians in charge). The current war fighters cannot express their displeasure, at least not without incurring potential charges under the UCMJ.
    It is a very convenient argument to state that “by removing Rumsfeld we will lose the war.” Too bad it’s not true. If a company is in trouble due to mismanagement, they don’t immediately declare bankruptcy. They fire the CEO and hire a replacement with fresh ideas for achieving corporate goals (see Disney and Michael Eisner for a good example there). None of the generals calling for Rumsfeld�s resignation are suggesting an immediate pull-out from Iraq, but rather better leadership for the troops having to fight there.
    Having just come back from Wuerzburg, Germany (home until recently to the 1st Infantry Division), trust me when I say that Major General John Batiste is not pushing a political agenda, he is speaking out from what he perceives to be a failure of civilian leadership that results in American military lives being placed at unnecessary risk (the man is a life-long Republican, not exactly the credentials of a wide-eyed liberal looking for a book deal).
    Look at what he is really saying: “I think we need senior military leaders who understand the principles of war and apply them ruthlessly, and when the time comes they need to call it like it is.”
    There have been too many instances during the past three years of ineptitude by the civilian leadership that have resulted in the deaths of American troops and the defacement of American Ideals, all of which have been be directly attributable to interference from the administration. The best plan right now is to put in place new leadership with fresh ideas, preferably from a former war fighter who understands that every time the guns go off in Arlington across from the E-Ring, it is because another soldier is being laid to rest.

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