Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Do any generals actually support Rumsfeld?

Another recently retired general says Donald Rumsfeld has to go.

The retired commander of key forces in Iraq called yesterday for Donald H. Rumsfeld to step down, joining several other former top military commanders who have harshly criticized the secretary of defense's authoritarian style for making the military's job more difficult.

"I think we need a fresh start" at the top of the Pentagon, retired Army Maj. Gen. John Batiste, who commanded the 1st Infantry Division in Iraq in 2004-05, said in an interview. "We need leadership up there that respects the military as they expect the military to respect them. And that leadership needs to understand teamwork."

He joins retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold, Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton and Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni all of whom have spoken out against Rumsfeld in recent weeks. You could add to that list William Odom and Wesley Clark, as well as criticisms from the likes of Gen. Charles Swannack and Col. Paul Hughes.

Plus a lot of still-active officers, apparently; Batiste said that many of his peers felt the same way.

Batiste isn't some underachiever:

He was offered a promotion to three-star rank to return to Iraq and be the No. 2 U.S. military officer there, but declined because he no longer wished to serve under Rumsfeld. Also, before going to Iraq, he worked at the highest level of the Pentagon, serving as the senior military assistant to Paul D. Wolfowitz, then the deputy secretary of defense.

Of course, Bush didn't listen to these guys when they were in the military. Why would he listen to them now?

UPDATE: Colin Powell has joined the chorus against Rumsfeld. This isn't particularly surprising -- it was well known that he didn't like Rumsfeld's approach -- but up until now he had kept relatively quiet on the subject. Does this constitute a tipping point?

UPDATE II: If you're looking for posts discussing generals that support Rumsfeld, try here and here.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The question was: "Are there any Generals who support Rumsfeld?" The answer is "Yes." The one who worked with him the longest, General Myers. Myers also retired 6 months ago and is FREE to say what he wants now. And he chooses to say he supports Don Rumsfeld.

4/15/2006 1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rumsfeld said yesterday, "Out of thousands and thousands of admirals and generals, if every time two or three people disagreed we changed the secretary of defense of the United States, it would be like a merry-go-round."

And another retired General came out in support of Donald Rumsfeld: retired General Tommy Franks.

4/15/2006 2:05 PM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

Well, the question was meant to be half-joking. There are undoubtedly a few who support him. Franks isn't a big surprise, since Rumsfeld basically adopted Franks' plan for the invasion and occupation. So they sink and swim together. Likewise with Myers.

What I found funny was that Rumsfeld doesn't seem to know how many generals and admirals there are. I linked to a chart in this later post. There are fewer than 900 active-duty generals and admirals, not thousands and thousands.

Okay, he was probably referring to retired officers. Still worth a chuckle, though.

4/15/2006 3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suspect that just like your "half-joking" question, Rumsfeld's comment was only "half-joking" as well.

4/15/2006 8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are approximately 4700 retired generals and admirals at the moment.

And after checking your morning Wall Street Journal, you can add 4 more to the pro-Rumsfeld list:

Retired generals John Crosby, Thomas McInerney, Burton Moore and Paul Vallely.

4/17/2006 9:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, retired Generals are nothing but regular American citizens. They have a right to express their opinions, but their opinions are no better than ours. Moar of them who have complained....have complained about Rumsfeld's management style. IMHO, this is a manufactured, hyped-up story by the liberal media.

4/17/2006 10:07 PM  

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