Sunday, April 23, 2006

I'm pleased that some young U.S. military officers are disgusted with Donald Rumsfeld, but some of the ones quoted in the New York Times story "Young Officers Join the Debate Over Rumsfeld" are a bit naive:

An Army major who is an intelligence specialist said: "The history I will take away from this is that the current crop of generals failed to stand up and say, 'We cannot do this mission.' They confused the cultural can-do attitude with their responsibilities as leaders to delay the start of the war until we had an adequate force...."

The idealism is admirable, but really now -- how do you think the world works, young man (or young lady)? Even in my line of the work, when the people at the top get a cockamamie notion that they can have a huge, sudden success by imposing unreasonable demands on every underling in the building, no one can say no -- "no" is not an option. Maybe you can tinker at the margins of the cockamamie scheme, but you can't stop it -- that's how people who get to the top are. Maybe not in the military, but certainly in civilian life. And I'm talking about more or less psychologically normal civilians, not monomaniac sociopath civilians like Cheney and Rumsfeld. (I'll leave out the Boy King, who just lives in a fantasy world and can't imagine a negative outcome when "good men" do battle with people who are "evil.")

But this is interesting (emphasis mine):

Many officers said a crisis of leadership extended to serious questions about top generals' commitment to sustain a seasoned officer corps that was being deployed on repeated tours to the long-term counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, while the rest of the government did not appear to be on the same wartime footing.

"We are forced to develop innovative ways to convince, coerce and cajole officers to stay in to support a war effort of national-level importance that is being done without a defensewide, governmentwide or nationwide commitment of resources," said one Army colonel with experience in Iraq.

I've said this before: Donald Rumsfeld has all but admitted that this war isn't his #1 priority, which is outrageous and is reason enough for his firing. The war was supposed to be over quickly and not interfere with his plans for Pentagon "transformation." (Of course, it wasn't over quickly in large part because of his utterly unrealistic theories about how it should be fought.) I've been against this war from the start, but we're fighting it now, and in the worst possible way: Rumsfeld made sure the war plan would fail, Bush insists that we can never withdraw, and so it will go on this way forever, or at least until January 20, 2009. I'll gladly join hands with war supporters who'll agree on this; let them say he screwed up a good war, I'll say he screwed up a bad war, but let's agree he screwed up.

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