Monday, April 24, 2006
  The War on Rumsfeld
Some thoughts relevant to the current controversy, from those on both sides of the battle.

"I am convinced that the best service a retired general can perform is to turn in his tongue along with his suit, and to mothball his opinions." - General of the Army Omar N. Bradley

"The Rumsfeld vs. General Officer battle has run its course. Both sides have their points, but it's time for the media frenzy to end. It has become a distraction from the war on terrorism, the establishment of peace in Iraq and Afghanistan, and good order and discipline. ...
"As we fight among ourselves, our enemies and some politicians relish the friction within our military establishment. Not understanding an American military that serves a democratic governance, our enemies see the rift between our civilian leadership and general officers in the defense establishment as weakness and the beginning of the deterioration of our will to prosecute the war. Politicians and journalists love the negativism."
- Lt Gen David Grange (USA, Ret.)
"I have been extremely troubled by the efforts of a group of retired generals to force the resignation. ... President Bush is right to keep him in his post. It is the President's decision -- and his alone. ...
"It would discourage civilian leaders at the department from having frank and candid exchanges with military officers. And, today, at a time of war, such an effort sends exactly the wrong message both to our troops deployed abroad and to our enemies who are watching for any signs of weakness or self-doubt."
- President Gerald Ford
"This is about the moral bankruptcy of general officers who lived through the Vietnam era yet refused to advise our civilian leadership properly. I can only hope that my generation does better someday." - Anonymous Special Forces Major

"It's about asking the question: 'Who lost Iraq? Who gets blamed for the fiasco?' The officers remember Vietnam, and their attitude is: 'Never again; we're not going to be left holding the bag.' So these guys - and I think they speak for others - have fastened on Rumsfeld as a scapegoat. ...
"I know that people in the antiwar camp are happy to get the help, but they have to realize that they're playing with fire here. They may rue the day if military leaders decide that they should have a vote on who gets to be secretary of defense."
- Lt Col Andrew Bacevich (USA, Ret.)

"These generals are no doubt correct in asserting that they have spoken to and speak on behalf of some retired and, even more important, some active-duty members of the military. But that makes the generals' revolt all the more egregious. The civilian leadership of the Pentagon is decided on Election Day, not by the secret whispering of generals. ...
"It is precisely this kind of division that our tradition of military deference to democratically elected civilian superiors was meant to prevent. Today it suits the antiwar left to applaud the rupture of that tradition. But it is a disturbing and very dangerous precedent that even the left will one day regret."
- Charles Krauthammer

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Retired from the US Air Force after more than 20 years of service. Now working as a contractor for various government agencies.

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