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Rumsfeld Must Go
And no, it isn't some commie liberal dove saying so. Paul D. Eaton, a retired U.S. Army major general, in charge of training the Iraqi military from 2003 to 2004, writes in The New York Times and IHT:

...Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (bio here) is not competent to lead America's armed forces. First, his failure to build coalitions with U.S. allies from what he dismissively called "old Europe" has imposed far greater demands and risks on American soldiers in Iraq than necessary. Second, he alienated his allies in the U.S. military, ignoring the advice of seasoned officers and denying subordinates any chance for input.

In sum, he has shown himself incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically and is far more than anyone else responsible for what has happened to America's mission in Iraq. Rumsfeld must step down.

..Rumsfeld has put the Pentagon at the mercy of his ego, his Cold Warrior's view of the world and his unrealistic confidence in technology to replace manpower. As a result, the U.S. Army finds itself severely undermanned - cut to 10 active divisions but asked by the administration to support a foreign policy that requires at least 12 or 14.

Only General Eric Shinseki, the army chief of staff when President George W. Bush was elected, had the courage to challenge the downsizing plans. So Rumsfeld retaliated by naming Shinseki's successor more than a year before his scheduled retirement, effectively undercutting his authority. The rest of the senior brass got the message, and nobody has complained since.

Now the Pentagon's new Quadrennial Defense Review shows that Rumsfeld also fails to understand the nature of protracted counterinsurgency warfare in Iraq and the demands it places on ground forces. The document, amazingly, does not call for enlarging the army; rather, it increases only Special Operations forces, by a token 15 percent, maybe 1,500 troops.

Rumsfeld has also failed in terms of operations in Iraq. He rejected the so-called Powell Doctrine of overwhelming force and sent just enough tech-enhanced troops to complete what we called Phase III of the war - ground combat against the uniformed Iraqis. He ignored competent advisers like General Anthony Zinni and others who predicted that the Iraqi forces might melt away, leading to chaos.

It is all too clear that Shinseki was right: Several hundred thousand men would have made a big difference then, as we began Phase IV, or country reconstruction. There was never a question that we would make quick work of the Iraqi Army.

Last, you do not expect a secretary of defense to be criticized for tactical ineptness. Normally, tactics are the domain of the soldier on the ground. But in this case we all felt what L. Paul Bremer, the former viceroy in Iraq, has called the "8,000-mile screwdriver" reaching from the Pentagon. Commanders in the field had their discretionary financing for things like rebuilding hospitals randomly cut; money to pay Iraqi construction companies to build barracks was withheld; contracts for purchasing military equipment for the new Iraqi army were rewritten back in Washington.

He calls for Bush to accept the resignation Rumsfeld has tendered a number of times. I was never in agreement with the war in Iraq. But, if you go in, you have to go in prepared for the likely outcomes -- and stay that way. It all adds up to what Eaton wrote: Rumsfeld must go.

Posted by aalkon at March 20, 2006 8:45 AM

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Frogwash. There are excellent reasons to dislike Rumsfeld, none of which are supported by this piece.

Do you want to spend more or less of our resources on the war in Iraq? If you want more, don't you think the voters could overrule this technocract?

Posted by: Crid at March 20, 2006 6:37 PM

Like Lincoln said of General Grant, "I can't spare this man--he fights." There were a lot of cold war dinosaurs that didn't like Rumsfeld's transformation of the military into an internet-age weapon.

Shinseki was one of those dinosaurs and he was flat out wrong. It did not take several hundred thousand troops to defeat Saddam's army, which is what he was referring to. He was NOT referring to the occupation.

Interestingly enough, we had the same number of troops occupying Germany after WWII as we do in Iraq. I guess we failed that one too, huh?

Posted by: nash at March 21, 2006 6:21 AM

Last I heard, we still had a hunnert 'n twenty grand in Europe, and nobody's getting all qwaggy about it.

Posted by: Crid at March 21, 2006 6:36 AM

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