Joe Galloway is the "Ernie Pyle" of my generation and one of the greatest friends the American soldier ever had. He is the reporter who went to LZ X-Ray in 1965 with the First Battalion, Seventh Cavalry Regiment. Yes. He is the reporter in the film "We Were Soldiers."
Larry Dirita is Rumsfeld’s press guy.
Here we have an exchange of e-mail between Joe Galloway and Dirita with McCaffery urging Galloway on.
I read Joe Galloway religiously, but that last email burst reminds me why he’s the best in the biz even after all this time. He breaks out all the reasons why the policies of this SecDef have been so disastrous for the long-term health of our land forces. Great post, Colonel Lang!
I received, on more than one occasion, a good ass-chewing, some deserved, others, not so much. I think Joe Galloway gave Secretary Rumsfeld a deserved one, albeit, by way of Mr. DiRita. Defending Secretary Rumsfeld to a man of Joe’s experience is not advisable.
I am critical of Secretary Rumsfeld’s conduct because of what I see as the wholesale outsourcing of national defense. Mind you, he didn’t start it, but he certainly spoke out against it as a congressman and, therefore, should know better:
In 1966, Illinois Representative Donald H. Rumsfeld went perhaps further than most when he charged the administration with letting contracts which “are illegal by statute.” He urged investigation into the relationship between the private consortium working in Vietnam and the Johnson administration, in particular the infamous “President’s Club,” to which Brown & Root, one of the principle Vietnam contractors, had given tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions. Rumsfeld argued on behalf of serious inquiry into the whole affair saying, “under one contract, between the U.S. Government and this combine, [RMK-BRJ] it is officially estimated that obligations will reach at least $900 million by November 1967…why this huge contract has not been and is not now being adequately audited is beyond me. The potential for waste and profiteering under such a contract is substantial.” (Cong. Rec., August 30, 1966) Rumsfeld’s alarm was echoed by others in the congress and in the press as well, although will little affect. All the while, the war in southern Vietnam continued to spiral out of control despite the dramatic increases in firepower and troops and military construction. The government’s contract with the Vietnam Builders ended only in 1972 shortly before the project. (James M. Carter, “The Merchants of Blood”)
I guess now that his good friend the VP has affiliations with KBR it’s OK. And, if press accounts of Iraq are true, the contracting business there suffers from the same ” potential for waste and profiteering” abuses Representative Rumsfeld spoke out against in 1966. It’s as if President Eisenhower warned us about the military-industrial complex and then went to work as a defense lobbyist.
Joe Galloway has called the SecDef to task in many of his columns over virtually the entire range of Mr. Rumfeld’s performance of his duties. Joe must be getting to him if DiRita had the temerity to challenge Joe. Thanks for sharing the exchange.
A very enlightening exchange. A tragedy that our military is being broken not to mention the CIA. 2009 is a long ways away. I hope now this administration does not attack Iran because if the wargame where Gen. Riper led the Red Force turns out to be the real one (meaning these guys have not learned anything which would be the likely scenario) the repurcussions for US influence in the world would be horrendous.
What is astounding is the energy they spend on PR and gimmicks and now wiretapping Americans while the real business of state flounders.
Galloway continues to support the soldiers – young and old. 3 or 4 years ago he spoke at the dedication of a building in Hampton, VA to a MOH recipient from B Co. 4th Bn 9th Inf., 25th ID who soaked up enough grenade shrapnel to save the men around him in March 1967. I wish I could have heard his speech. I joined that company 6 months later in OCT67.
I’m not knowledgeable enough to referee the bulk of the email exchange, but I guarantee Joe’s right on the last part. Fewer chicken hawks would have produced a much better plan and much less “bring em on”.
Now that was REAL!
That is a stunning exchange. That is what you have when there is a “faith based” leadership. No amount of facts will alter peoples opinions of their leader when they have an imoveable ideal fixed in their mind.
Althought the nation is coming to. It is strange to now think that around 70% of the nation have roughly the same opinion of the Bush/Republican leadership as I do.
Things will get more surreal as the number drops more and the believers still follow.
Bush is approaching Kim Jong Ill territory…
Remember his wife just said: “I don’t believe those polls.”..When faced with facts she takes solace in the created world of stage managed crowds at Republican party campaign events.
Even “Boy Genius” Karl Rove is slipping. In his recent AEI appearance he flipped and twisted logic smoothly but not effectively. He cited consumer confidence polls as evidence of a good economy, then he was asked about the low polls for Bush. Rove said that polls don’t matter that is not any way to govern. Besides, he argued, most of the polls showed that Bush was still personally popular despite his low job approval rating.
Yep, we are seeing how people can still support the most malevolent of leaders as long as their own “special interests” are met.
Truth to power for real. He goes to the heart of Rumsfelds strategy of high tech toys and a never ending state of war. The true state of the army I suspect is closer to what the link below indicates.
Galloway might as well have been talking to a bag of rocks. You have to admit, faith based “reasoning” allows for great policy lattitude.. have faith, don’t believe the facts, ignore the results, go to heavily prescreened events with fellow true believers, continue to insist that the hugely complex forces are under control. And of course, in no circumstances take responsability for the outcomes – in the unlikely event that the outcomes are admitted.
Pat – can you or any of the military people out there comment on the war game outcomes? I assume this is a computer based game – how accurate was the result? How likely is it for such an unconventional attack overwhelm the Navy’s defences? I’ve heard that war games tend to have a high “burn rate” associated with people taking risks in the game that they would not consider in combat – but then we could expect suicide attacks in these scenarios…
Over the years I have been thrown out of a variety of wargames for Van riper like behavior.
The first time was in Panama for cutting the jungle surrounded supply lines of a conventional force. I was told that this was “cheating.”
I think Van riper’s scenario is realistic. you have to have watched Middle Easterners in action when they are truly aroused to understand how ferocious they can be. Those headbands you see them wearing on TV are not enscribed “Welcome Walmart shoppers.” pl
Col., I thought I was over it but Galloway’s 4th response made me misty.
There is no sense in speaking truth to those now in power. “There are none so blind as those who will not see.”
Dear Col. Lang,
Thank you for posting this. God bless Joe Galloway and Ernie Pyle. I hope and trust all is well, sir.
That they would be ferocious I don’t doubt one bit – and I’m guessing that the cultural factors are greatly enhanced by facing an enemy of overwhelming military strength. Seems logical that the combo would instill not only ferocious fighting will but some of the inventive tactics you and your fellow gamers modeled.
But would such tactics over come the Navy’s platforms? From what I’ve read, naval missiles are cheap, effective and hard to counter (wasn’t that the Russian Navy’s solution to our carrier groups?) – but in earlier posts others have assumed our Navy might lose a ship or two before pounding the crap out of the offenders…. Does Van Riper’s results alter that assessment?
On the subject of altering the rules of the games for the desired outcome – what on earth purpose does that serve? When real world operations go south, they can’t push the reset button and get their supply lines or carrier groups back!!!
I think the US Navy would prevail. I have said so before, but if the fleet did not take appropriate measures initial losses could be bad. pl
Exercises are expensive. For a good return-on-investment, game managers like to stay within the confines of an expected range of outcomes, rather than allow non-linear behaviors and the suprises that often accrue. This enables them to fine tune their game systems & argue for more gaming funds.
However, fidelity to the real world, where out-of-the-box behaviors by creative adversaries trump best-laid plans, is lost.
This admin’s penchant for defining a self-referencing (faith-based?) model of national security dovetails nicely with the gaming technocrats desire for narrow, cost-effective control over exercises.
Too bad reality doesn’t conform.
ps: Riper’s action is analogous to Patton’s famous rule-breaking (refueling his tanks out of his own wallet) in the Louisiana Games. One might think we need more of this style of martial creativity to defeat violent fundamentalism around the world.
The last email from the lap dog pissed me off. Yes, I believe that Rummy understands. I also believe that he truly doesn’t give a flying fuck-about the loss of lives, about the squandered money or about the decimated and demoralized military. Impeach ’em all!!
Glad to see that Larry has not changed one iota from the man who smeared the then CNO (late ADM Boorda) while still an O-6 (an angry passed over O-6 perhaps?) in the pages of USNI’s Proceedings magazine.
At the time, I thought he deserved an official rebuke. Alas, no one came along to clip his wings. IIRC, he was working with Newt Gingrich as a legislative fellow (not unlike his buddy (also retired Navy CAPT) Bill Luti, formerly of DoD, now of NSC). Dirita’s article caused an outcry that died out and forgotten until ADM Boorda’s later suicide (at which point it became exhibit A in the “Boorda got what he deserved” program).
Someone above said you cannot reason with these faith-based people. So true! To keep doing so only hurts one’s head from the repeated wall bashing.
And so sad for our nation! The results are clear to Galloway, the troops, and the rest of us in the reality-based national security community.
What a whirlwind (internal and external) we are sowing. I fear the reaping when it begins and, at times, worry for our nation’s survival in that trial.
Thanks for posting this.
Am I correct then in understandng that both Luti and DiRita served together as Congressional Fellows? Certianly men of similar (lack of) character. Luti of course played no small role under Feith helping to cherry pick his intelligence. Social networks help put things into perspective.
Dirita is a USNA grad.? What class?
He was a captain in the US Navy? My God?
Rumsfeld as SECDEF heads a very flawed institution. He has been a fool, he has lost and lacks the cojones to embrace that fact, but that is not the core of the problem.
The Pentagon is a self declared procurer. Barnett has said, uncritically, the Pentagon is an institution that imagines future wars then buys the army it needs. Unfortunately the wars imagined are more often calculated to comfortably lard the US defense industry rather than defend US citizens.
In the face of an obvious need to prepare the US Army for larger, longer constabulary operations that are almost certainly its fate in the aftermath of the disaster in Iraq Rumsfeld has stuck rigidly to far to many ludicrous procurement programs that Joe Galloway cites in his criticism of the QDR.
Much has been said about the failings of Langley, the Pentagon deserves far harsher criticism than simply attacking Rumsfeld. Decapitation may be deserved but won’t end the cancer in this cold war revenant, this one needs to be taken down to the waist.
According to Wikipedia:
Lawrence Di Rita, Class of 1980 – Special Assistant to and Spokesman for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
As far as reality goes: In a recent exercise the Danish Maritime Home Guard (the Danish Home Guard is kind of like the equivalent of low priority US NG units – we’re all proud volunteers though, serving our country for nothing but the sheer sence of duty; I’m a platoon leader in the Army Home Guard myself – full disclosure), actually managed to sink a German cruiser in the Danish “Great Belt” – they hid a Rigid Inflatable Boat behind a buoy to confuse the radars of the German convoy and succeeded beyond their wildest dreams: They managed to approach the Germans unseen by as well the human eye as high tech wizardry and toss a military “fire cracker” upon the aft deck of the German cruiser, which never knew what hit her before it was too late.
Only goes to show …
Joe Galloway and the \”Talking Dog\”
Anyone looking to understand my frustrations with the direction our nation\’s civilian leadership is taking the military has to read this. It is an email exchange between Lawrence DiRita (Rumsfeld\’s spokesmen) and Joe Galloway (author of \’We Were Sol…
The Di Rita- Joe Galloway exchange
Sic Semper Tyrannis links to an email debate between correspondent Joe Galloway and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Lawrence Di Rita over Donald Rumsfeld’s performance as Secretary of Defense….
There is an interesting twist to the DiRita/Galloway email exchange that has missed the attention of readers to date.
In the exchange Galloway is a hero–he speaks truth to power. I have had a few dealings with Galloway and this speaks to his underlying character.
I contrast this with the more recent actions of Gen. McCaffrey, the gentleman who prompted Galloway to post the exchange. A general who I hav, until late, greatly admired.
Here is the rub, McCaffrey tells Galloway to post the exchange out of a sense of duty to our fighting troops–duty, honor country. However, I recently read McCaffrey’s latest trip report from Iraq and it speaks no such similar truths. In fact, it is a bunch of malarkey, kiss ass, hyperbole. Sure, he notes that this won’t be a short battle and that it will take money and, sadly, blood, to make it work. However, there is none of the “Come to Jesus,” face real realities that you see in the Galloway exchange. No, McCaffrey’s trip report raises just enough issues to cover his own flanks, but not enough to make a difference.
In other words, it seems McCaffrey agrees with Galloway’s analysis, enough to prod its disclosure, but not enough to put his own tail on the line.
I know, early on in the war McCaffrey was one of the few courageous generals who stood up and said there were real problems–but then the Rumsfeldites and Bushies smacked him back (“retired, now armchair general”). Since then he hasn’t just gone AWOL, he has actually praised the leadership of the current team. I can only explain this as he has made a deliberate attempt to curry favor with the Pentagon leadership and Bushies–sadly that makes sense since he is now lobbying them for favors for the corporations he now represents. (The huge irony here is that the Bush team will never embrace him since he was a Clinton Cabinet member.)
Sad that such a fine warrior/statesman has made such a Faustian bargain. He could have done a lot for our troops if he had continued to publicly speak truth to power himself–instead of just encouraging others to fight these battles for him.
If he had stayed in this fight, who knows, perhaps he would have been the rising star of the next team of leaders–maybe even SecDef, VPOTUS, or . . .
“It isn’t difficult to keep alive, friends—just don’t make trouble. . . . If we should bump into one another, recognize me.”
Mike’s Blog Round Up
Here’s a PDF of the Word file. Not everyone can read a Word document with their computer and that’s a good thing. Try http://tinyurl.com/mtye4
Colonel and all,
Great post as always. Ali I think nailed it as well as anyone – Rumsfeld, De Rita et al are really only the symptoms and not the cause of a much deeper disease – the revolving door between the military and the defense industries. During the Cold War we were able I think to justify this (even though it bothered the hell out of alot of us even then..) as we had a real enemy. It resulted in much waste and overspending but, WTH, we had the very real Soviet opponents to worry about. But since the wall came down they’ve had to completely re-tool their budget justifictaions, false estimates, wild-ass threat fabrications, you name it to feed this beast that we’ve rarely dared to name. Andrew Bacevich outlines the dangers of this as well as anyone in his “The New American Militarism”, but doesn’t really touch on the economic underpinnings, which is really the root of the evil. What to do, don’t know….but preventing general and flag-rank officers (to say nothing of ex-legislators) from sitting on the boards of defense-related industries would be a hell of a start!
Saturation attacks of the type conducted by Van Riper will be very effective in restricted waters like the Gulf.
I doubt very much that the Navy is aching to take its capital assets into the Gulf. I’d say the plan would have to be for standoff attacks, with limited ground forces.
Won’t be very effective, in my opinion, but I cannot see a plan to sail carrier battle groups into the Gulf. It is a lake.
The response to Van Riper’s strategies bears an eerie resemblance to MacBeth.
Recall in MacBeth the King goes to the three witches who warn him of impending danger and then tell him that he will not “vanquish’d be until Great Birnam wood to high (Dunsinane Hill) shall come against him.” The King believing that there is no way the great woods can attack him and his mighty castle lets his guard down. His enemy then attacks the castle by cutting down the trees of Birnam Wood and using them as camouflage. In the end, for his failure to see the threats and take action, the King is killed and the kingdom falls.
Rumsfeld and others should have taken Van Riper’s actions–the ability of a low-tech enemy to counter all the technlogy and firepower of our American military through creative, asymetrical warfare–as a modern-era military prophecy of the witches. They have not.
I’m speechless. The the press twerp guy continues to defend his incompetent nincompoop boss, one of the Evil Triumvirate, Donald Rumsfield. God help us all.
Thank you for posting this, Colonel, and I thank all the insightful commenters. All this was truly a joy to read and it’s so great that someone has both the contacts and courage to surface these things.
The only thing I can contribute to the thread is that Van Riper’s 2002 wargaming was very well presented in Malclom Gladwell’s popular book ‘Blink.’ Worth checking out if you’re strolling in a bookstore sometime, both for the treatment and for the entire book. Van Riper’s scenario is used as an example of how intuition appears to work in subject matter experts.
Surely I’m not alone in finding the lapdog’s responses yet more bitter confirmation to well-founded fears for our nation. The joy I take is in their exchange, because as is seen over and over in the annals of conflict, Joe Galloways are battering rams which gather winning hopes behind.
For those that are interested, here’s the background on the Van Riper war game story.
Thank you Colonel Lang, for this sad evidence of what we all know. Rumsfeld is so concerned, Larry? I’m not impressed that anyone in this administration is concerned about much beyond covering up the endless crimes and hiding from the truth. You have moved the truth a little closer to the light and I am grateful.
And now Mr DiRita is off to a new job in industry. BOA is the owner of the DoD Govt Travel Credit Card program (ugh!).
At least that is what I read:
“Rumsfeld Aide Takes Job At Bank Of America
Wall Street Journal (May 17, 2006, Pg. B9)
By a WALL STREET JOURNAL Staff Reporter
Larry Di Rita, a top aide to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, is taking a communications post with Bank of America Corp.
Mr. Di Rita, 48 years old, recently oversaw the Pentagon’s vast public-affairs bureau. He is expected to start work later this month as a communications executive for Bank of America’s corporate and investment bank.
Mr. Di Rita is the third high-ranking federal employee hired by the bank this year. William J. Fox, former director of the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, started work in February as the bank’s senior compliance executive for financial crimes. He is 45.
Earlier this month, the bank announced that it hired Chris Swecker, a senior executive at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as its head of corporate security. Mr. Swecker, 49, who led the FBI’s criminal-investigation division, will oversee the bank’s protective and investigative services. He is expected to begin work in July.”
And here is a biographical sketch on Mr DiRita.
Top adviser to Garner Rumsfeld’s senior aide in Iraq, US Navy, worked for Republican senators and the conservative Heritage Foundation
Just below J. Garner, who reports to T. Franks, is a line to Larry DiRita, who is a special assistant to the defense chief. He is Rumsfeld’s senior aide and a Naval Academy graduate. Larry Di Rita joined the Department of Defense after serving as Legislative Director, then Chief of Staff, for U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison [R-Texas] from 1996 until 2001. Prior to that, he served as Policy Director to the 1996 Presidential campaign of U.S. Senator Phil Gramm. Previously, he served at the Heritage Foundation as Deputy Director of Foreign Policy and Defense Studies. DiRita is a veteran of the U.S. Navy. His final tour was on the Joint Staff under General Colin Powell. He is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, and he has a Master’s Degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.
We have not been able to find evidence that he has any particular qualifications or experience in post-war civilian reconstruction, socio-political and economic development, nation-building or reconciliation.”
His entire response to Galloway was nothing more than the usual insult to reality these folks make.
Yeah. DiRita had his paws in the the Iraq reconstruction.
There’s a quote in Cobra II(DiRita addressing Garner’s staff) goes something like this:
“We aren’t going to spend any money on them; we gave them their freedom”.
Sic Semper Tyrannis: Joe Galloway and the “Talking Dog”
Sometimes, speaking truth to power means a little more when it’s coming from someone who’s been there. Comprendes?
From the blog Sic Semper Tyrannis:
Joe Galloway is the Ernie Pyle of my ge
BTW and definitely OT. DiRita’s DOD bio has him leaving the service in 1994. If he’s a 1980 USNA grad he made O-6 in less than 14 years – hard to reconcile his leaving the service. Also hard to understand why his bio doesn’t cite his rank at all if he was a Naval Captain…FWIW
Great posting on Galloway. He and you are no doubt aware of the various war games ignored in 1964-65 by the Johnson Admin. McMaster writes about this in his book. I hear echoes.
Schooling Donald Rumsfeld
[Editor’s note: This is reprinted in its entirety. It was sent to me with a request to reprint is in order to disseminate it as far and wide as possible. Many thanks to Pat Lang, Larry Johnson, Barry McCaffrey and…
Larry Di Rita, a top aide to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, is taking a communications post with Bank of America Corp.
No doubt to facilitate the transfer of all transaction and customer information from BoA to NSA.
For those who missed it, here is a transcript of the Galloway appearance on Countdown last Friday–the lead story:
For those with broadband and high-tech toys, Crooks and Liars has the video:
Anyway TypePad is constipated
Story’s up on Crooks and Liars. Scroll down to to Friday.