Saturday, April 15, 2006

Heckuva a job, Rummy

Toast and I think it's burning, or it should be.
Rumsfeld Gets Robust Defense From President - New York Times: "'Secretary Rumsfeld's energetic and steady leadership is exactly what is needed at this critical period,' the president's statement read. 'He has my full support and deepest appreciation.'

The statement, issued as Mr. Bush interrupted a family holiday at Camp David, was part of a strong effort by the White House to fend off criticism of the handling of the war that has come from six retired generals, several of whom were involved in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. The generals are weighing in as polls show support for the war waning significantly in an election year.

Mr. Bush's statement was followed hours later by supportive comments from Gen. Richard B. Myers, the retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the retired commander of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Both appeared on cable news programs, and General Myers pointedly criticized former colleagues for publicly questioning civilian leadership."
We had this saying. CYA. It means cover your ass.

Guys, you don't have diapers big enough for the mess you made and continue to make.

And then Modo weighed in, in her inimitable fashion.
One rule advises: "Preserve the president's options. He may need them." Others include "It is easier to get into something than to get out of it" and "Try to make original mistakes, rather than needlessly repeating" the mistakes of your predecessors.

History will long dwell on how America made the same bloody errors in Vietnam and Iraq within a generation, trading the arrogant, obtuse, wire-rimmed Robert McNamara for the arrogant, obtuse, wire-rimmed Donald Rumsfeld.

First the public began bailing on supporting the conduct of the Iraq war, and now top military voices are balking. Six prominent retired generals say that Rummy discounted the dangers in Iraq and managed with an intimidating style that left commanders feeling jammed into submission. He promoted sycophants like Richard Myers and Peter Pace, while slapping down truth-tellers like Eric Shinseki. Again, Rumsfeld's rules could have helped. There's one about the "indispensable" and "gracious" art of listening.

W. should have fired Rummy long ago, after the sickening news of Abu Ghraib and torture stories out of Gitmo. He should have fired him as soon as it became clear that the defense secretary who bungled the occupation and insurgency has no idea how to get out of Iraq and stop American kids from getting blown up day after day by homemade bombs.

But W. took a break from a long holiday weekend (is there any other kind for him?) at Camp David to defend Rummy and tamp down the mutiny. The commander in chief is the one who put Rummy in charge of the botched postwar non-plan and hates admitting a mistake as much as his defense chief. He thinks that if he caves to keening generals, he will be seen by his base as weak. His whole presidency, his whole muscle-bound adventurism in Iraq, has been designed to prevent him from being labeled a wimp, as his dad was.

Mr. Bush's pretense — that he was just following the advice of the military when he endorsed Rummy's inadequate troop levels — rings hollow now that the former generals have spoken out about the defense secretary's airless policy of coercion. Convinced Iraq was all but won, Rummy prodded Tommy Franks to cancel the final Army division in the war plan, the First Cavalry Division.

"Rumsfeld just ground Franks down," Tom White, the former Army secretary, told Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor for "Cobra II," their Iraq war history. "The nature of Rumsfeld is that you just get tired of arguing with him."

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