ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Opinions of Some Generals Apparently Don't Count

Nice commentary in the WSJ today [requires subscription]:

In Defense of Donald Rumsfeld
April 17, 2006; Page A16

Foes of the Bush administration described the recent calls by six retired generals for Donald Rumsfeld to resign or be fired as "growing military pressure" for him to do so. These retired generals claim he should go for, among other things, ignoring the advice of senior military leaders and bungling the global war on terror in Iraq with poorly planned war-fighting strategies and post-Saddam planning efforts. We strongly disagree.

Like former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard Myers, we do not believe that it is appropriate for active duty, or retired, senior military officers to publicly criticize U.S. civilian leadership during war. Calling for the secretary's resignation during wartime may undercut the U.S. mission and incites individual challenge to the good order and discipline of our military culture. At best, such comments may send a confusing message to our troops deployed on dangerous missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. At worst, they can also inspire and motivate the evil forces we seek to defeat.

Since our nation's founding, the principle of civilian control over the military has been a centerpiece of our system of government. Under our constitutional system, it places elected and appointed government leaders in charge. American soldiers are bound by this tradition to subordinate themselves to civilian authority. We give advice but it is ultimately up to civilian leaders to make key strategic and policy decisions. Unlike many other democracies, this is one important reason why we have never been ruled by the military, and have been the most successful country the world has ever seen.
Much of the acrimony expressed by Secretary Rumsfeld's military critics appears to stem from his efforts to "transform" the military by moving to a joint expeditionary force that is lighter and more mobile in nature to meet the nation's current and future threats. Many senior officers and bureaucrats did not support his transformation goals -- preferring conventional weapons of the past like the Crusader artillery piece and World War II war-fighting strategies, which prove practically useless against lawless and uncivilized enemies engaged in asymmetric warfare. It unfortunately appears that two of the retired generals (Messrs. Zinni and Newbold) do not understand the true nature of this radical ideology, Islamic extremism, and why we fight in Iraq. We suggest they listen to the tapes of United 93.

I'm waiting to see these guys' faces plastered on every news segment for the next week.

ARC:St Wendeler