Thursday, April 13, 2006

Rumsfeld's Critical Quartet


Top US military brass call for Rumsfeld to go. All is not well in the Pentagon...

A fourth former US army general in less than a month today called on the US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, to resign over his handling of the war in Iraq.
Retired Major General John Batiste - who commanded the US 1st Infantry Division in Iraq from 2004 until last year - criticised Mr Rumsfeld's authoritarian style and called for a "fresh start" at the top of the Pentagon.

Last month, Paul Eaton, a former major general who was in charge of training Iraqi forces until 2004, said Mr Rumsfeld was "not competent to lead our armed forces".

He said the US defence secretary had shown himself "incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically", and was "far more than anyone else responsible for what has happened to our important mission in Iraq".

Earlier this month, Anthony Zinni, the commander in chief of the US Central Command and in charge of all American troops in the Middle East from 1997 to 2000, joined the calls for changes at the Pentagon.

Mr Zinni said Mr Rumsfeld should resign for a series of disastrous strategic and political mistakes.

This week, Greg Newbold, a retired lieutenant general who was director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2000 to 2002, criticised "missteps and misjudgments" by the White House and the Pentagon.

"What we are living with now is the consequences of successive policy failures," he wrote in Time magazine.

He said that included the distortion of intelligence in the build-up to war, micromanagement that prevented US forces having sufficient resources to do the job and the alienation of allies.

On Tuesday, General Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said generals had the chance to voice their concerns during the planning of the Iraq invasion.

"We had then and have now every opportunity to speak our minds, and if we do not, shame on us," he said at a Pentagon briefing.



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