Monday, April 17

Safranski on Rumsfeld

This is the post I've been looking for: Rumsfeld and the generals

In terms of Rumsfeld's performance how one views the war in Iraq seems to have much to do with whether you give Rumsfeld a favorable review or believe he is a disaster.

+ Rumsfeld has done a really good job with transformation, which was sorely needed, despite having to fight the Pentagon, the military-industrial complex, and individual, affected Congresspeople.

+ But, Abu Ghraib and the CPA/Jay Garner/the whole occupation were nightmares.

The fact is that in major wars, there are major errors. Many major errors. Tactical, operational and strategic errors are committed before the war comes to a close.

+ And, the killing stroke:

My second thought is that while it is fine for former generals to criticize Rumsfeld's performance as Secretary of Defense - I would say they have an obligation to do so in regard to matters of professional competence - orchestrating a collective call for Rumsfeld's ouster is not. The United States is not Turkey, Guatemala or Pakistan. Uniformed soldiers in this country - and these generals are eligible to be recalled to duty - do not get to pick their civilian chiefs; they do not get so much as a veto. That remains the sole perogative of the President of the United States and the upper house of the legislative branch and no other.

This media campaign sets an incredibly bad precedent for the overt politicization of the American officer corps, one that is now being fed by the generals defending Rumsfeld and both sides need to stop immediately. If a retired general has an itch for politics, then he needs to run for office or particpate openly as a partisan in the democratic process and not attempt to speak as a gray eminence of the military college of cardinals. George Marshall, Omar Bradley and Dwight Eisenhower - men who knew something about separating the roles of military and civilian leaders and which of the two outranked the other - would be aghast.
Post a Comment