Army Times, Navy Times, Air Foce Times & Marine Corps Times – 2006-11-04 23:27:40
Time for Rumsfeld To Go
Editorial / Army Times, Navy Times, Air Force Times, Marine Corps Times
“So long as our government requires the backing of an aroused and informed public opinion … it is necessary to tell the hard bruising truth.”
That statement was written by Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Marguerite Higgins more than a half-century ago during the Korean War. But until recently, the “hard bruising” truth about the Iraq war has been difficult to come by from leaders in Washington.
One rosy reassurance after another has been handed down by President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: “mission accomplished,” the insurgency is “in its last throes,” and “back off,” we know what we’re doing, are a few choice examples.
Military leaders generally toed the line, although a few retired generals eventually spoke out from the safety of the sidelines, inciting criticism equally from anti-war types, who thought they should have spoken out while still in uniform, and pro-war foes, who thought the generals should have kept their critiques behind closed doors.
Now, however, a new chorus of criticism is beginning to resonate. Active-duty military leaders are starting to voice misgivings about the war’s planning, execution and dimming prospects for success.
Army Gen. John Abizaid, chief of US Central Command, told a Senate Armed Services Committee in September: “I believe that the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I’ve seen it … and that if not stopped, it is possible that Iraq could move towards civil war.”
Last week, someone leaked to The New York Times a Central Command briefing slide showing an assessment that the civil conflict in Iraq now borders on “critical” and has been sliding toward “chaos” for most of the past year. The strategy in Iraq has been to train an Iraqi army and police force that could gradually take over for US troops in providing for the security of their new government and their nation.
But despite the best efforts of American trainers, the problem of molding a viciously sectarian population into anything resembling a force for national unity has become a losing proposition.
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.
These officers have been loyal public promoters of a war policy many privately feared would fail. They have kept their counsel private, adhering to more than two centuries of American tradition of subordination of the military to civilian authority.
And although that tradition, and the officers’ deep sense of honor, prevent them from saying this publicly, more and more of them believe it.
Rumsfeld has lost credibility with the uniformed leadership, with the troops, with Congress and with the public at large. His strategy has failed, and his ability to lead is compromised. And although the blame for our failures in Iraq rests with the secretary, it will be the troops who bear its brunt.
This is not about the midterm elections. Regardless of which party wins Nov. 7, the time has come, Mr. President, to face the hard bruising truth:
Donald Rumsfeld must go.
Report: US Army Times
Calls for Rumsfeld’s Resignation
Xinhua — ChinaView.cn
WASHINGTON (November 4, 2006) — An editorial to be published Monday in independent publications that serve the four main branches of the US military will call for President George W. Bush to replace Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, CNN reported Saturday.
“Basically, the editorial says, it’s clear now, from some of the public statements that military leaders are making, that he’s lost the support and respect of the military leadership,” Robert Hodierne, senior managing editor for the publications’ parent company Army Times Publications, was quoted as saying.
“That they’re starting to go public with that now, with their disagreements, added up with all of the other missteps we believe he’s made, that it’s time for him to be replaced,” he said.
Army Times Publications publishes the Army Times, Navy Times, Air Force Times and the Marine Corps Times. The four weekly newspapers are distributed in the general stores and commissaries on military around the world, the report said. It is the second time the publications have called for Rumsfeld to resign.
In May 2004, when the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal broke, an Army Times editorial said that was not “just a failure of leadership at the local command level,” but “a failure that ran straight to the top.”
The editorial said accountability was essential, even if that meant relieving top leaders from duty in a time of war.
The timing of Monday’s editorial was prompted not by midterm elections, scheduled for Tuesday, but by Bush’s statement earlier this week that he intended to keep Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney in their posts through the end of his term, Hodierne said.
Hodierne said their aim was to express the message that “for the good of the service, for the good of the country, it’s time for this guy to go,” according to the CNN report.