Monday, April 10, 2006

Another general wants Rumsfeld gone

A retired three-star Marine general, Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold, is the latest general to criticize Donald Rumsfeld and the war in Iraq after retiring.

His Time Magazine essay is here.

He calls the Iraq war "unnecessary" and writes:

Inside the military family, I made no secret of my view that the zealots' rationale for war made no sense. And I think I was outspoken enough to make those senior to me uncomfortable. But I now regret that I did not more openly challenge those who were determined to invade a country whose actions were peripheral to the real threat--al-Qaeda.

He echoes my own sentiment when he adds

The cost of flawed leadership continues to be paid in blood. The willingness of our forces to shoulder such a load should make it a sacred obligation for civilian and military leaders to get our defense policy right. They must be absolutely sure that the commitment is for a cause as honorable as the sacrifice.

Finally, both his essay and the NYT story make clear that he is not alone. From the story:

Though some active-duty officers will say in private that they disagree with Mr. Rumsfeld's handling of Iraq, none have spoken out publicly. They attribute their silence to respect for civilian control of the military, as set in the Constitution — but some also say they know it would be professional suicide to speak up.

"The officer corps is willing to sacrifice their lives for their country, but not their careers," said one combat veteran who says the Pentagon's civilian leadership made serious mistakes in Iraq, but has declined to voice his concerns for attribution.

There's a lot more at both links. The essay is a must-read as a cogent distillation of how one can be a warrior and yet oppose this war, and of how military and constitutional principles go beyond simply "obeying orders."

It's not just "left-wing radicals" who oppose the war in Iraq. The true radicals are the ones in the administration who railroaded the country into war.


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