Friday, April 14, 2006

Batiste, Eaton, Newbold, Riggs, Swannack, Trainor, Zinni: Aren't We Glad They're Gone?

It happens rarely, but at last there's an issue both supporters of the global war on terror and supporters of the anti-war movement can agree on. It is that we are better off that six mid-level generals and one upper level general have retired from military leadership.

Recently seven retired generals have publicly criticized Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. General Anthony Zinni; Lt. Generals Gregory Newbold and Bernard Trainor; and Maj. Generals John Batiste, Paul Eaton, John Riggs and Charles Swannack Jr. have boo-hooed that their advice was ignored and that Secretary Rumsfeld is too tough. In the words of Lieutenant General Bernard Trainor:

Secretary Rumsfeld is a tough hombre to deal with, and he has a management technique that wears you down. Constantly asks questions and diverts you from the position that you’re trying to establish by attacking you from a different direction. Just wears you down. Having said that, I’d say that the U.S. military did not shine in, in pushing back against Rumsfeld more effectively. They, in effect, gave up and did everything that he pretty, pretty much wanted to do.

War critics can well say, "Where were these guys while the debate on the war was raging and before we had 2,270 casualties?"

War supporters can well say, "If these guys really believed this, how could they send their troops into harm's way and not have the backbone to stand up for them? Could the real problem be that their poorly voiced strong opposition to the plan made it difficult for them to competently carry it out?"

Our military forces need better leadership than these guys. They were not competent in pressing their case for how the war should be fought nor did they have the courage of their convictions to press forward and risk firing (as General Douglas MacArthur did).


Correction: General Zinni had already retired before the war started and before Donald Rumsfeld was appointed Secretary of Defense. He served under President Clinton. So his critique is not as an insider.

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