What Advice Did Generals Give Rumsfeld?
Thom Shanker and Eric Schmitt write in The New York Times Young Officers Join the Debate Over Rumsfeld. While Rumsfeld is a major part of the problem, his military advisors also bear responsibility for the Iraq War II nightmare.
[tease] (emphasis added)
“We have not lost a single tactical engagement on the ground in Iraq,” the officer said, noting that the definition of tactical missions is specific movements against an enemy target. “The mistakes have all been at the strategic and political levels.”
This is about the moral bankruptcy of general officers who lived through the Vietnam era yet refused to advise our civilian leadership properly,” said one Army major in the Special Forces who has served two combat tours. “I can only hope that my generation does better someday.”
An Army major who is an intelligence specialist said: “The history I will take away from this is that the current crop of generals failed to stand up and say, ‘We cannot do this mission.’ They confused the cultural can-do attitude with their responsibilities as leaders to delay the start of the war until we had an adequate force. I think the backlash against the general officers will be seen in the resignation of officers” who might otherwise have stayed in uniform.
Most officers would acknowledge that we cannot leave Iraq, regardless of their thoughts on the invasion. We destroyed the internal security of that state, so now we have to restore it. Otherwise, we will just return later, when it is even more terrible.”
Some senior officers said part of their own discussions were about fears for the immediate future, centering on the fact that Mr. Rumsfeld has surrounded himself with senior officers who share his views and are personally invested in his policies.
“If civilian officials feel as if they could be faced with a revolt of sorts, they will select officers who are like-minded,” said another Army officer who has served in Iraq. “They will, as a result, get the military advice they want based on whom they appoint.”
Thi s is not a pretty picture.