I watched Rumsfeld this morning on Fox News Sunday. He was asked by Wallace (the younger and lesser) if:
a-commanders in the field in Iraq had been denied reinforcements they had requested and
b-there was an intention to begin large scale withdrawals from Iraq in calendar 2006.
On both points he responded that such issues were the responsibility of military commanders in the chain of command and the president of the United States. He said that commanders have a responsibility to make recommendations and the president has a responsibility to make decisions. He spoke as though he has no major responsibility in these matters. He portrays himself as a kind of "post office" or "message center." This, of course, is nonsense. The law is clear as to who is responsible for what, and his behavior in office as architect of military re-organization and generalissimo in charge of the size and strategy of the force that invaded Iraq gives him the lie.
This is typical Rumsfeld.
I once had the "privilege" of asking him a question concerning Army re-structuring. It was a professionally informed question concerning the future structure of the Army. He smiled, as he always seems to do in public, and said that he had no idea whether or not plans to change the army would "work," but that the generals told him it would. There were a number of these very senior officers present. All they could do is squirm.
You can be sure that if there is blame to be apportioned for mistakes in Iraq, Rumsfeld will not accept any of it.
Rummy is oily. He lies so well he belives himself.
Too many of those “squirming” generals failed thier troops by not stepping up (and perhaps “stepping on it”) when their gut check time came and went. They deserve blame and censure. “Following orders” will not protect them as it did not protect others – especially if they allowed themselves to be roped into the torture programs (or should I call them “sustained and aggressive interrogations?”).
As for Rumsfeld and the national command authority, I will not forget WHO gave the orders for our current strategic debacle. Eachh deployment order (and there were many) were signed by the SecDef on behalf of the President.
Rumsfeld is the quintessential Washington bureaucrat (along with Cheney). He plays the conservative well (or better he has PLAYED the Conservative movement well) — but he is really just another guy who has spent his life sucking on the government/taxpayer tit while masterfully waltzing between government jobs and military/industrial-complex corporate jobs. His extreme vanity allowed him to become the darling of the Neo-cons. He sleeps well at night because like so many of America’s older generation — Baby Boomers etc, he can never get enough money, power or adulation — all the while escaping any accountability.
I’d like to add the following article from Time magazine. It further puts the lie to Rumsfeld and Bush who always hide behind the Top Brass. (As I understand it, these guys do what they are told and don’t want to jeopardize their perks and retirements etc.):
Getting the Lowdown on Iraq
By SALLY B. DONNELLY
Posted Sunday, Nov. 20, 2005
If the republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee wants to get a second opinion on how the war in Iraq is going, where does he turn? To the Pentagon, but not to the top brass this time. In an unusual closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill last week, Virginia’s John Warner, joined by Democratic Senators Carl Levin of Michigan and Mark Dayton of Minnesota, sat across the table from 10 military officers chosen for their experience on the battlefield rather than in the political arena. Warner rounded up the battalion commanders to get at what the military calls “ground truth”—the unvarnished story of what’s going on in Iraq.
“We wanted the view from men who had been on the tip of the spear, and we got it,” said John Ullyot, a Warner spokesman who declined to comment on what was said at the meeting but confirmed that some Capitol Hill staff members were also present. According to two sources with knowledge of the meeting, the Army and Marine officers were blunt. In contrast to the Pentagon’s stock answer that there are enough troops on the ground in Iraq, the commanders said that they not only needed more manpower but also had repeatedly asked for it. Indeed, military sources told Time that as recently as August 2005, a senior military official requested more troops but got turned down flat. There are about 160,000 U.S. troops now in Iraq, a number U.S. commanders in the region plan to maintain at least through the Iraqi national assembly elections on Dec. 15. But the battalion commanders, according to sources close to last week’s meeting, said that because there are not enough troops, they have to “leapfrog” around Iraq to keep insurgents from returning to towns that have been cleared out. The officers also stressed that the lack of manpower—rather than of protective armor or signal jammers—posed one of the biggest obstacles in dealing with roadside bombs, which have caused the majority of U.S. casualties in Iraq. The commanders, according to the meeting sources, said there are simply “never enough” explosives experts on the ground. So far, no officer has been willing to go on record to complain about the need for more troops. But there is one positive sign: the Army recently decided to double the number of explosives experts to 2,500 over the next few years.
From the Nov. 28, 2005 issue of TIME magazine
Just for his continuing battle against expanding the Army, which has consequently burdened those who have enlisted all the more, Rummy should be run out of town on a rail.
Name me a single instance in which any member of this administration has taken responsibility for any error or miscalculation.
From the willfull embrace and perpetuation of Big Lies in a matter of war(!), to the denial that the “Mission Accomplished” sign aboard the Lincoln meant what it read, they have consistently slandered reality.
I curse them, that they all live long lives, in which their names have been rendered infamous among their countrymen.
Now that we have a clarity on where responsibility lies, those in-theater commanders better get right to work on their excuses for failing to find WMD & create a Western-style democracy.
Soldiers & Marines must explain their inability to solve the IED problem, too.