Military Brass deliver devastating indictment of Rumsfeld, war planning
Three retired military officers who served in Iraq called today for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, telling a Democratic "oversight hearing" on Capitol Hill that the Pentagon chief bungled planning for the U.S. invasion, dismissed the prospect of an insurgency and sent American troops into the fray with inadequate equipment.
The testimony by the three --two retired Army major generals and a former Marine colonel -- came a day after disclosure of a classified intelligence assessment that concluded the war in Iraq has fueled recruitment of violent Islamic extremists, helping to create a new generation of potential terrorists around the world and worsening the U.S. position.
Batiste charged in his testimony that Rumsfeld "is not a competent wartime leader" and surrounded himself with "compliant" subordinates.
"Secretary Rumsfeld ignored 12 years of U.S. Central Command deliberate planning and strategy, dismissed honest dissent, and browbeat subordinates to build 'his plan,' which did not address the hard work to crush the insurgency, secure a post-Saddam Iraq, build the peace and set Iraq up for self-reliance," Batiste said.
In addition, Rumsfeld "refused to acknowledge and even ignored the potential for the insurgency," the retired general said. "At one point, he threatened to fire the next person who talked about the need for a post-war plan," Batiste added.
"Secretary Rumsfeld's dismal strategic decisions resulted in the unnecessary deaths of American servicemen and women, our allies, and the good people of Iraq," Batiste said. "He was responsible for America and her allies going to war with the wrong plan and a strategy that did not address the realities of fighting an insurgency."
Eaton told the panel, "We went in with a bad plan," adding that "stay the course is not a strategy."
Hammes said removing the regime of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein "introduced major instability not just in Iraq, but in the greater Middle East." And while the Bush administration has repeatedly said the war in Iraq is critical to U.S. security, "it has asked nothing of the majority of U.S. citizens," he said.
"While asking major sacrifices, to include the ultimate sacrifice, from those Americans who are serving in Iraq, we are not even asking our fellow citizens to pay for the war," Hammes complained. "Instead we are charging it to our children and grandchildren."
This hearing, held by Dems since Republicans refuse to hold any sort of meaningful oversight hearings to do with Iraq, earned threats from Trent "Helmet Hair" Lott who threatened the Dems with "retribution" if they dared use a meeting room for such a purpose again.
The entire thing is must see, riveting and inspiring testimony from committed, high ranking, tough, life-long Republican, hardened military officers who bravely and unambiguously tore the bark off the myth of success and competence of both the Bush White House and in particular, Sec. of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. All of them made it a primary recommendation that among the first actions needed to ensure any degree of success in Iraq is the immediate resignation of Rumsfeld.
They detailed incompetence and arrogance on a truly disasterous and ridiculous scale from the Secretary of Defense both in the planning for and ongoing efforts in Iraq.
The entire thing is riveting and contains many bombshells (no pun intended)
View it on C-Span at rtsp://video.c-span.org/project/iraq/iraq092506_dems2.rm