Monday, April 17, 2006

Mutiny on the Rummy, part II

All this talk of Rummy having to resign or be fired is just making W. more stubborn. (Big surprise.) He issued a written statement on Thursday saying that Rummy "is doing a very fine job during a challenging period in our nation's history." Of course, part of the reason it's so challenging is because of all the blunders Rummy has made. If it hadn't been for him taking his eye off the ball in Afghanistan and letting OBL escape to fight another day, maybe the Taliban wouldn't be learning how to make IEDs from the Iraqi insurgents right now. More Americans died in Afghanistan last year than had died the previous three years. Now that's progress!

Rummy told al-Arabiya TV, "Obviously out of thousands of admirals and generals, if every time two or three [or six] people disagreed, we changed the secretary of defense, it would be like a merry-go-round around here." Right, except that there are only 850 or so generals and admirals, not thousands. And the ones who have a problem with Rummy's style aren't some toothless mob of torch wielding yahoos calling for Rummy's head. This is coming from six retired generals (so far), many of whom have actually served in Iraq, who say Rummy has made major military mistakes and they say they reflect the thinking of others still in uniform. This can't be dismissed as easily as all the congressmen, citizens and editorial pages from all over the country were in 2004, when they called for his resignation after the Abu Ghraib pictures came out.

Oh but, General Peter Pace came out and said he supports him, that proves Rummy has the support of the military. What a surprise that a currently serving general, who probably got his job because of his loyalty to Rummy, is saying this! And there's retired general Richard Myers, who also says Rummy is doing a great job. Man, the voices coming out in support of Rummy are just overwhelming, aren't they? Although, I wouldn’t say Myers exactly helped Rummy's cause on ABC's This Week yesterday. He looked like a dear in the headlights as George Stephanopoulos pelted him with all those hard questions about the mess in Iraq. The best part came when he tried to say that general Shinseki’s now notorious estimate that several hundred thousand troops would be needed to secure Iraq wasn't really what he meant to say. Myers claims that Shinseki was backed into a corner by a congressman's questioning. I guess that's why he was smeared by Rummy & Co. and cashiered shortly afterwards.

The issue of how many troops would be needed is the crux of the whole argument for Rummy's departure. It's not that these generals speaking out now were against the war back then, most of them are Republicans after all, what they're saying is that there was a longstanding plan for an invasion of Iraq based on military doctrine developed over thirty years that called for overwhelming force, and Rummy, despite their best advise, threw it in the trash. This is the reason that we're in the mess we're in now. If we had had enough troops and they had some idea of what was going to happen the minute Saddam's regime fell, maybe they would have had the numbers and preparation to prevent all the looting that went on. In those days of chaos, it wasn't only the museums that were being ransacked; it was the military bases that had all of Saddam’s bullets and bombs that are now being used against us. For that reason alone ---and his not providing the armor to protect the troops from those bullets and bombs ---he should be fired.

Hear a great interview with Bernard Trainer, MIchael Gordon and John crawford about Rummy's blunders at Radio Times.


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