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April 17, 2006

The Revolt of the Generals

By Thomas L. Walsh



“The decision to invade Iraq was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who never had to execute these missions---or bury the results….We must never again stand by quietly while those ignorant of and casual about war lead us into another one and then mismanage the conduct of it.”

There you have it. In two sentences. The immorality of the Bush administration’s preemptive war of choice against a country that was not a threat to us. It’s laid out for all to see.

Who wrote this? Some left-wing loony? Some Democratic operative, intent on showing what we all know, that Bush was possessed by neither principle nor introspection in starting his war of choice? Nope.

These words came from retired three-star Marine Corps General Gregory Newbold, who is only one of six former Generals (thus far) who have publicly called for the dismissal of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, for gross incompetence.

Are these some smarmy, quartermaster types, sitting behind a desk at some vast, but remote supply depot? I think not.

Look at a few pedigrees:

• Lt. General Newbold served as the military’s top operations offer prior to our invasion of Iraq.

• Major General Charles H. Swannack Jr. commanded the fabled 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq as recently as 2004.

• Major General John Batiste commanded the First Infantry Division in Iraq.

• Major General Paul D. Eaton was responsible for the training of Iraqi troops in 203 and 2004.

• General Eric Shinseki was the U.S. Army’s Chief of Staff, just prior to the 2003 invasion. He was summarily cashiered and retired early for stating that the occupation of Iraq would require several hundred thousand troops.

• Major General John Riggs, a 39-year army veteran and holder of the Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery in Vietnam had been a three-star general entrusted with creating a high tech army for the 21st century. Riggs was reduced in rank and retired early for criticizing Rumsfeld’s decision to invade Iraq with insufficient troops.

General Swannack stated, “I do not believe Secretary Rumsfeld is the right person…based on his absolute failures in managing the war against Saddam in Iraq.”

Shortly before General Newbold spoke out, retired General Eaton wrote in the New York Times that “President Bush should accept the offer to resign that Mr. Rumsfeld said he had tendered more than once.” Eaton also said, he (Rumsfeld) “Ignored the advice of seasoned officers and denied subordinates any chance for input.”

General Batiste spoke out on April 12th, after publicly condemning Rumsfeld’s performance, adding, “We have absolutely nothing to gain by this…There’s no political agenda at all…We’ve been loyal subordinates.”

General Riggs said, “Rumsfeld should step aside and let someone step in who can be more realistic…They (the Pentagon’s civilian leadership) only need the military advice when it satisfies their agenda.” Riggs had also criticized Rumsfeld for bringing his own brand of arrogance into the Pentagon.

Retired Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni added that Rumsfeld should be held accountable for a series of blunders, starting with “throwing away 10 years’ worth of planning, plans that had taken into account what we would face in an occupation of Iraq.”

In addition, even Bush’s Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice piled onto Rumsfeld this month, admitting publicly that the U.S. had committed “thousands of tactical mistakes in Iraq,” much to the consternation of Rumsfeld, who strongly objected to her comments.

On top of all of this, here is the one thing that should scare the hell out of every living American.

George Bush, a man who can never admit he is capable of making a mistake,
said last week, “I have seen firsthand how Don relies upon our military commanders in the field and at the Pentagon…Rumsfeld’s energetic and steady leadership is exactly what we need…”

Goodness! This from the man who has a hard time thinking! Do we need yet another, “You’re doing a heck of a job out there, Brownie?”

God save the Republic.

Submitters Bio:
Thomas L. Walsh graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Communications/Journalism degree in 1962. Following a successful business career, he retired to Idaho's Teton Valley in 1999, where he works as a free-lance writer. Walsh and his wife Wynne Ann both teach Alpine skiing at Wyoming's Grand Targhee Ski Resort in the winter. Tom recently published his first book.

"Damnyankee, a WWII Story of Tragedy and Survival off the West of Ireland," is the compelling story of a World War II U.S. Navy submarine patrol bomber which ditched off the west coast of Ireland in 1944 in a seething North Atlantic storm.

Four decades later an American arrived in Clifton, County Galway, claiming to have been a crew member on that aircraft lost at sea, and striving to reconfirm that this tragedy had occurred. With the help of a sergeant in the Garda, an Irish schoolboy, and an aging Irish maiden lady, the former bow gunner was able to reconstruct the incident. In the process, he found a way to honor those who lost their lives in the storm-lashed sea that tragic night.

The author's familiarity with Ireland and all things Irish adds additional perspective to the book. From a beginning in Norfolk, Virginia to a partial salvation at the tiny village of Ailleabreach along the Galway coast, this book has something for both WWII aviation buffs as well as those hopelessly in love with the West of Ireland.

Damnyankee is available through both and Barnes
& Noble.