June 28, 2005

Who Me? The Secretary of No Responsibility

In just one interview with Tim Russert this past Sunday, a whole raft of examples:

MR. RUSSERT: Do you think that was a misjudgment?

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Well, you never know what's going to happen. I presented the president a list of about 15 things that could go terribly, terribly wrong before the war started. And the fact that the oil fields could have been set aflame like they were in Kuwait, the fact that we could have had mass refugees and dislocations and it didn't happen. The bridges could have been blown up. There could have been a fortress Baghdad where the moat around it with oil in it and people fighting to the death. So a great many of the bad things that could have happened did not happen because of the terrific job that General Franks and his team did.

I think that the people who had been repressed by the Saddam Hussein regime did, in fact, feel a great relief when Saddam was gone, particularly the Shia who the Saddam Hussein regime killed hundreds of thousands of these people. He used chemicals on the Kurds. I mean, this is not a nice man who's in jail and going to be tried later on. On the other hand, the people who lost out, the Sunnis, didn't like it, and you're quite right. They did not greet our people as liberators and they're still fighting today.

MR. RUSSERT: Was a robust insurgency on your list that you gave the president?

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: I don't remember whether that was on there, but certainly it was discussed the possibility that you could have dead-enders who would fight. In fact, the Fedayeen Saddam did that during the course of the battle in getting up to Baghdad. They occupied the churches and the mosques. They occupied the schools and the hospitals and they tried to fight to the death and they tried to kill Iraqis that tried to cooperate with the United States and the coalition forces coming in.

Er, not really a big surprise that you'd have "dead-enders who would fight." But isn't it staggering that Rumsfeld would answer that he can't "remember" whether there was any post-war planning regarding a potential "robust insurgency"? Translation: There was no such scenario relayed to POTUS. Because, aside from a few bitter dead-enders in Tikrit around Saddam's old homesteads, we'd be greeted as liberators...

Later, Rumsfeld:

Right now, General Abizaid and General Casey are absolutely convinced that a heavy U.S.-coalition footprint creates the impression of an occupation and contributes negatively to the insurgency. It encourages more people to participate. So they are avoiding a large U.S. footprint and an intrusive behavior pattern, moving Iraqi forces out in front, more coalition forces back.

Abizaid and Casey are "absolutely convinced". "They are avoiding." Translation: I'm Secretary of Defense but I don't really have squat to do with troop levels, ya know... It's all the commanders in the field. Unless I strongly disagree, I'm just really following their lead...Please. Anyone who knows Don Rumsfeld doesn't buy this 'hands-off' depiction of his management of the decision-making process on key Iraq-related manpower level decisions. Also, this is a very disingenuous response to Russert, of course. We can have a serious debate about whether a lighter footprint or heavier footprint makes sense now (I'd still argue for the former--despite the risk of a greater occupation 'face', etc.--we need to control more terrain, really control it and hold it, so insurgents can't flee a Tal Afar and then regroup there days later as our troops move on to the next hot spot they need to cover). But what is virtually beyond dispute now, of course, is that at the beginning of the war effort massive, overwhelming force was critical (especially given the decision to dismantle the Iraqi Army en masse) so as to overwhelm the insurgents-to-be, provide order in the large cities so as to prevent large-scale looting and mayhem (disorder breeds disorder--so stronger early coalition control would have been very helpful on a going forward basis too), and so on. But Rumsfeld, more or less, dodges all this. That said, Russert nudges a bit (he's not a sterling inquisitor necessarily but, still, he's the best in the biz and doesn't always throw total softballs...)

Rummy and then Russert's follow on query:

From the beginning, General Franks, General Abizaid, General Casey have decided how many troops are needed. I believe they're correct. They have been worried about that tension between having too many, which require greater force protection, greater combat support and a more intrusive heavier footprint, more of an occupation force, more alienation of the Iraqi people, a larger insurgency. The idea that these numbers are coming out of the top of the Pentagon or the president or something is just nonsense. These are coming from General Abizaid, General Franks, General Casey, and they're right. There are people outside who say, "Oh, they should be more," "They should be less." But I don't know anyone right now who's suggesting there ought to be more.

MR. RUSSERT: So never any mistake made on troop level?

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: Who knows? Time will tell. But I happen to think they're right. I happen to think that General Franks was right. We were ready to go right up to multi-hundreds of thousands if needed. He said, "Stop. We've done it." And that level has been roughly where it is, just about level with where it was when the major combat operations were under way. And the goal of General Abizaid and General Casey is to reduce them over time so that it's less of a footprint and less intrusive.

Did Franks really tell Rumsfeld "Stop. We've done it."? I guess we need to take Rumsfeld at this word, though it's quite hard given this:

Then I turned to reveal the next chart: PHASE IV: POST-HOSTILITY OPERATIONS. "As stability operations proceed, force levels would continue to grow--perhaps to as many as two hundred and fifty thousand troops, or until we are sure we've met our endstate objectives."

--General Tommy Franks, in a briefing to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on his updated plan for an invasion of Iraq, February 1, 2002, according to Franks's memoir, American Soldier, p. 366.

Sure, this was just a pre-conflict briefing. Tommy Franks might well have told Rummy we didn't need more troops later, as Rummy says. But Bremer, at least at one stage, had asked for more. There was Shinseki, of course. And Franks writes in his memoirs that talk of up to 250,000 was in the air, as quoted above. At the very least, Rumsfeld's breezy representation that--if only Tommy Franks had said pretty please--500,000 would have been sent just like that, well, it rings pretty damn hollow.


MR. RUSSERT: But the fact is Lawrence Lindsey, one of the chief economic advisers to the president, was fired because he said the war in Iraq would cost $100 billion. We're way past that.

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: I don't think he was fired for that reason.

MR. RUSSERT: Oh, go back and read very carefully what happened.

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: I just don't know. I can't speak to that.

MR. RUSSERT: Did you make a misjudgment about the cost of the war?

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: I never estimated the cost of the war. And how can one estimate the cost in lives or the cost in money? I've avoided it consistently. And how can that be a misestimate? We've said that there are always going to be unknowns, that the battle was going to change, depending on what the enemy does and how they adjust and how we adjust, and to try to predict the amount of time--I mean, I remember the secretary of defense and the president announced they'd be out of Bosnia by Christmas, and that was--What?--10 years ago.

Again, someone else's problem. I don't do cost estimates, Tim. That's just Lindsey's terrain--don't waste your breath asking me such mundane details...

Still more, in the 'Who Me?' vein:

MR. RUSSERT: What is the problem with arming these Humvees so our soldiers won't get hurt?

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: They are arming the Humvees. They've gone up like this, and they've gone from a few hundred to tens of thousands of armored vehicles in there. The Army is responsible for equipping the United States Army. The Marines are responsible for equipping the Marines. And they've been working their heads off on doing it, and they've done it at a very rapid clip. I mean, I'd have to see the context of Duncan's quote, but, I mean, a lot of the arming was done in Kuwait. The fact that the armor was still in Kuwait is, in fact, where a good deal of it--the arming process was taking place.

They are arming. The Marines are responsible for equipping the Marines. The Army the Army. Abizaid has recommended the troop levels all along. Casey too. I'm just following suit--though I agree with them! I didn't advise the President that an insurgency might be in the offing--but did tell him nefarious dead-enders might fight another day...(Hey, then, bravo Don!) Cost estimates? Don't do them. That's Larry's brief, I guess, until he was told to move along...Oh, my old #2 (Wolfowitz) and #3 (Feith)--we'll there gone this second term. We did a bit of a house-cleaning, I guess. Why am I still around? Not sure, really. To my amen choir, because I'm the best SecDef to bestride the Beltway, since, well since my last go around! But, deep down, I know people like George Will and Bill Kristol and John McCain and John Warner think I should have probably stepped down. (And I also know there are ways to present a resignation to POTUS. The real way, I effed up, and I'm leaving Mr. President. This is for the good of the country, let's do it and move on, Sir, yes? And the half-hearted, wink-wink, here's my resignation letter way--but I'm happy to stay around well into your second term...). Ah, but the old lion wants to stick around, you see? The Great Rummy doesn't get run out of Washington! Pity that Bush won't get rid of him. But freedom is messy, and stuff happens, and so here we are with a failed, largely discredited leader manning the war effort. At least there will be some justice later given how the history books will view him. As an arrogant, embarrasing failure. Yes, I hear he is a good man in person. I'm sure this is true. I saw him carrying an injured or dead person on 9/11--running about the smoking Pentagon grounds--protecting his building with honor and courage. But his hubris has outdone him. I wish, for the good of the country, that he'd step down. Will I continue to wish in vain? I'm worried the answer is yes. But there are still more than three years left in Bush's second term. Might there be hope? No, new leadership is no panacea. But fresh thinking and approaches can make real differences. And Bush would also be signaling there is some accountability in his administration. Yes, loyalty matters. Mightily. And I know it is part of the Bush code. But performance matters too, Mr. President. A Secretary of Defense who has presided over the worst P.R. debacle since My Lai, who didn't even deign to contemplate the prospect of a post-war scenario characterized by the specter of a resilient insurgency, who went along with significantly under-manning the war effort--hasn't he dangerously under-performed?

NB: My emphasis throughout post.

Posted by Gregory at June 28, 2005 11:16 PM | TrackBack (9)

Now you're putting words in his mouth. He didn't say that it wasn't planned for, he said that he couldn't remember if it was on the list of things that could go terribly, terribly wrong. Two completely different issues.

You also don't want people to step down in the middle of a war just because the war hasn't gone perfectly. If they are capable of adjusting to meet the changes, they should stay on. By your logic, we would have fired Vandegrift after two months on Guadalcanal, Nimitz after the battle of the Coral Sea, because it was a draw, and MacArthur after the fall of Manila.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at June 29, 2005 12:00 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I understand that no plan survive contact. But the real question for the Secretary is "did we even have a plan?" And if we had a plan and it was not working, did we adjust fast enough?

My take is that we planned poorly and adjusted too slow to shifting condition. It is not too late, but we may need a change in leadership.

For the record, I support the war. I even went there. However we need a leader that can deliver victory.

Posted by: Minh-Duc at June 29, 2005 12:14 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

How about holding the President responsible, Greg? Reading your post, you'd never know that it's the President who holds ultimate and final responsibility for the war effort. Why do you treat Bush as if he were waiting, hat-in-hand, for old Rummy to deign to hand in his resignation? The President is the CinC, for pete's sake, and he has the power and responsibility for firing the guy if he refuses to resign.

It's not as if Bush is unwilling to fire people. But the sad fact is, as Andrew Sullivan repeatedly points out, that the only reason Bush ever fires anyone is for disloyalty to the party line. Anything else, including a $200B clusterf*** and the PR debacle of the century, is apparently acceptable.

Apparently, however, Bush thinks Rummy's done a fine job -- which surely makes Bush as culpable as Rumsfeld for the mess we're in.

Posted by: Nils Gilman at June 29, 2005 12:42 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Sorry Gregory....this was a pathetic piece.

Curious how you managed to miss this comment in and amongst your careful (and shameless) edits:

"SEC'Y RUMSFELD: There was a great deal of post-major combat planning. The suggestion that there wasn't, he may not have seen it. That's fair enough. But there was a good deal done in the government in a variety of locations. The commanders have an obligation in their war plans to have a postwar plan, a postwar stabilization plan, and they did. "

Your use of the term "largely discredited" is another example of self-valiidation of your own mythology. Except for liberal media elites and leftist professors Rumsfeld is regarded as one of our best Secy of Defense. His transformation of military into a 21st century force has been spectacular. Contrary to the know-nothing hysterics in the media, our operations in Iraq have been amazing. The rank and file military love him...as do most command level officers. He has made numerous enemies among the Pentagon's bureaucratic moguls because his transformation threatens their jealously protected budgets and empires. That fact alone proves his value.

Strategic planners in Beijing or Moscow are traumatized by what we've accomplished both during the war AND in the post-war period. Unlike the know-nothing pundits, these people understand military logistics....and what the've been seeing over the last three years is being studied carefully in every detail.

Try and remember....several years ago, China sent 800 peacekeepers to Angola...but had to withdraw them after only a couple of months because they couldn't support them logistically.

From a military planner's perspective....what Rumsfeld and his team have done in Afghanistan and Iraq is nothing short of spectacular.

Posted by: Blotto at June 29, 2005 12:42 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I too believe that Rumsfeld has done a wonderful job of trying to transform the military while also executing the GWOT on two fronts, e.g., Iraq and Afghanistan. It's a thankless job with everyone all too willing to point out your flaws while safely insulated from ever having to make those same decisions in real time with real human lives in the balance.

When I step back and look what has been accomplished since September 11, I'm thankful that Rumsfeld is leading the Department of Defense. Sure, maybe he didn't do everything right, but then I don't think it realistic to expect that anyone could have. I could not have done any better. Can you imagine what a disaster someone like William Cohen would have been in the same position? Personally, I'm glad that GWB had the courage to stick with him in a difficult situation.

Posted by: Marlin at June 29, 2005 01:35 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink


"The rank and file military love him?" I beg to differ. I am a soldier and I have no love for him. I have not poll the whole Army, but no one in my section like Rumsfeld.

You may mistaken the support for the war with support for Rumsfeld. The majority of troops support the President and the War (myself includes). But I personally think that Rumsfeld is the wrong choice. His "transformation" is a disaster. His "transformation" is for the wrong kind war. We are two divisions short because in 2001 Rumsfeld refused to increase the force structure. Not only did he refuse to an increase of two divisions, he planned to cut the Army of two more divisions. We can barely fight war with ten divisions, imagine trying to do it with eight.

Posted by: Minh-Duc at June 29, 2005 01:48 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

His transformation is to make the military more mobile, easier to transport, and easier to support, which is EAXCTLY what is needed for these types of actions. The exact specifics of the mix of armor, artillery, airpower, etc. will evolve. BUt had someone other than Rumsfeld been SecDef, we would still be working with the COld War force structure. As far as rank-and-file, I am retired Navy, and keep in close contact with a number of people still in the Navy and Marines, and a significant majority of them think he is doing a great job.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at June 29, 2005 01:55 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Minh Duc; " but no one in my section like Rumsfeld..... But I personally think that Rumsfeld is the wrong choice. His "transformation" is a disaster. His "transformation" is for the wrong kind war. "

Thanks for proving my point.

What "section" is that?

If it's the old Army leviathan force then no doubt you hate Rumsfeld. He's slashing your bloated Cold War budgeting and conventional near-peer posture fixation. And it's about time.

This is precisely my point - the old guard don't like him because he threatens ther jealously guarded empires.

I do not intend to get into a contest over who is more concected to the rank and file....that's not the point. The DoD has in excess of 2 million employees, I have no doubt that people whose futures hinge on large WWII style tank battles or WWIII super power conflicts with China would have bad things to say about Rumsfeld.

However....I will say that the young people in our services today are far more sophisticated than the old desk jockeys playing out war games on their computers about the Taiwan Straights. They understand fourth generation warfare because that's what they're currently living. They understand that Rumsfeld's focus on Special Ops is brilliant. They witnessed four bearded Special Ops guys on horseback in Northern Afghanistan direct the defeat of the Taliban at their stronghold in Konduz. They saw two special ops kill 900 Al-Qaeda/Taliban in the canyons north of Tora Bora prior to that offensive.

If you are in the military, than you better get on the force multiplier bandwagon....or risk decaying into irrelevance like a Napoleonic supply clerk.

Posted by: Blotto at June 29, 2005 02:14 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink


You Navy and Airforce type always advocate for more technology at the expense of human resource. Technology is not all that useful in unconventional warfare. I am an Army guy and a strong believer in boots-on-the-ground. At the, end of the day, nothing can replace rifflemen.

"Transformation" as it was proposed by Rumsfeld is not designed for a prolong unconventional warfare. Force restructure after the cold war is neccessary. But Rumsfeld restructuring is not intended to counter asymmatry warfare in Iraq. It was still intended to fight against conventional force.

I do not why we have to reinvent the wheel. The Israel Defense Force provide a perfect example of force structure (and equipment) to emulate.

Posted by: Minh-Duc at June 29, 2005 02:17 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Everyone who praise Rumsfeld "transformation" must not see it. Of course, we need force restructure after the Cold War. The question is what kind of force structure.

Here is Rumsfeld original idea of transformation. Reducing the Army from 10 divisions to 8 divisions. More funding to SIGINT and less to HUMINT. More technology, less people. There was no plan to increase Civil Affair, SpyOps, or Military Police.

Due to the War in Iraq, the current restructuring plan look nothing like Rumsfeld original transformation plan. He had to give up many of his original idea and replace them with more pragmatic idea. I am glad that in two years we will have 12 divisions but I hope that it will not be too late.

Posted by: Minh-Duc at June 29, 2005 02:34 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Minh Duc: "Here is Rumsfeld original idea of transformation. Reducing the Army from 10 divisions to 8 divisions. More funding to SIGINT and less to HUMINT. More technology, less people. There was no plan to increase Civil Affair, SpyOps, or Military Police."

Thanks for the Lou Dobbs Headline News version of Rumsfeld's plans. Its triviality is only surpassed by its inaccuracies.

In any case....I must be pretty stupid because my read of the various transformation documents shows an insightful effort to integrate architectures command and control, rapid joint concept development (like the armed Predator, which was developed in the Nevada desert in July '01 and operationally deployed in Afghanistan a breathtakingly mere three months later)....and on and on....

All weapon systems, procurement regimes and force structures have constituencies. It is impossible to reform DoD without threatening a lot of protected empires. Each of those empires have a lot of old time brass behind them, not to mention regional legislators forcefully lobbying on their behalf. It is precisely this system that results in so much waste at DoD. The fact that Rumsfeld is stepping on those toes is a never ending source of joy for me. If he's stepping on your toes too ....well...then... ooooops...sorry...try wearing some steel-tips....

Posted by: Blotto at June 29, 2005 03:18 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"You Navy and Air Force types"? Does that include the corpsmen with the Marines, and the Seals?

You criticize the widh new technology, but yet you wear sophisticated NVGs, have tanks with thermal imaging and NVGs, have Predator aircraft flying overhead doing virtually 24/7 surveillance, and now they are carrying Hellfires, too. The body armor you wear is far superior to that of 20 years ago. What about the new clotting substances and battlefield dressings available to the medics, as well as the "within minutes" air evacs to high-tech field hospitals? The F-15's circling overhead with their imaging equipment that allows them to watch people go in and out of houses, while they are in contact with the forces on the ground directing them in. Or the close air support available now compared to what was available ten years ago? How about the hand-held drones, and the robots used to clear out IEDs? The counter-battery radar that tracks incoming mortar shells, allowing for very quick, accurate return fire. The night scopes on your M-16s. That is all high-technology, too.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at June 29, 2005 04:06 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"He had to give up many of his original idea and replace them with more pragmatic idea"

That is exactly what makes him a great SecDef. He adjusts to changing circumstances.

Posted by: exhelodrvr at June 29, 2005 04:07 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

We were deployed last year with all of our MTOE equipments. There are million dollars piece of equipments that we had no need for, but since they are part of the MTOE, we had to drag them to Iraq, and then drag them back unused. Of course, there are things that we need, much cheaper stuffs, that we did not get. In fact, we did not have enough radios or humvee and our course they were unarmored. The most important need that no technology can cover are linguists. Try to fight an counter-insurgency war in a foreign country without an interpreter.

I am not expecting the Pentagon to anticipate the precisely all the need prior to the war. But we are two years into the war in Iraq and the Arabic program in DLI is still much smaller than the Russian Program. Did anyone get the memo that the Cold War is over?

Posted by: Minh-Duc at June 29, 2005 04:27 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Some perspective on this discussion of technology: the relevant question is not whether high technology is good or bad but how to fit what we need into a finite military budget.

In fairness to Rumsfeld, some of the choices in this regard that he might have liked to make he could not because of opposition in Congress and lack of interest from the White House. That still leaves us on a path to fund large purchases of both the F-22 and the Joint Strike Fighter, both of which have potential as weapons platforms but only one of which we can really afford -- the F-22 runs over a quarter billion dollars each including development costs, for a single seat air superiority fighter. Military transformation cannot really be successful until some hard choices are made, and for the most part Rumsfeld has not been willing to make them.

As I say, I am not unaware of the many difficulties any Secretary of Defense would face in this area. And the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan pose painful dilemmas; Rumsfeld was clearly not, pre-9-11, thinking in terms of a military configured for nation-building and civil conflict suppression. He sought to avoid these missions even to the point of insisting that they were not necessary, and wound up stuck with them anyway. Meanwhile his overall plans for military transformation, reflecting a very different -- and not illogical -- vision of what American defense posture ought to be, have been complicated and set back by the enormous drain on men and material imposed by years of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Having said all that it still looks to me as if Rumsfeld's most fervent defenders admire him more for what he looks like than for what he has done, and would defend him just as fiercely if he pursued completely different policies in many areas. It would not surprise me either to learn that among the services least affected by the ground combat in Iraq and most graced by very expensive new platforms Rumsfeld would still have many devoted admirers. I imagine this would go double for defense contractors.

Posted by: JEB at June 29, 2005 04:03 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Regarding planning for the post-war period, before the war the administration told us that things would be peaceful and orderly -- not might be, but would be.

The proper way to plan for the occupation would have been to set up a task force of occupation experts who would look at the situation in Iraq, consider all the possibilities, and decide what was the likelihood of an insurgency. That is what General Zinni did when he was head of Centcom, and his people concluded we needed 300,000 troups.

Alas, the administration ignored all the experts and instead choose to believe Chalabi when he told them everything would be fine, and planned on that basis. In fact, at the end of 2003 Rumsfeld was continuing to insist there was no insurgency.

I support the war, and am very unhappy that it is losing support among the public. If the administration had quickly admitted it made a huge mistake once it became apparent, then people would have trusted it to be honest. Instead it has continued to deny it made a mistake in planning, or admitted it only briefly and infrequently. The result is a lot of people have lost faith in its honesty, and so are less likely to believe the president when he says we should hold to the present course.

Posted by: Les Brunswick at June 29, 2005 08:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"The proper way to plan for the occupation would have been to set up a task force of occupation experts who would look at the situation in Iraq, consider all the possibilities, and decide what was the likelihood of an insurgency. That is what General Zinni did when he was head of Centcom, and his people concluded we needed 300,000 troups."

Zinni was not the head of Centcom when the war was planned and executed. Rummy and Dubya took the advice to Tommy Franks. BTW, Zinni was not fired; his term was complete. I suggest you Frank's book understand better Zinni's old school adherence to the Powell Doctrine.

Posted by: RiverRat at June 30, 2005 01:23 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"The proper way to plan for the occupation would have been to set up a task force of occupation experts who would look at the situation in Iraq, consider all the possibilities, and decide what was the likelihood of an insurgency. That is what General Zinni did when he was head of Centcom, and his people concluded we needed 300,000 troups."

Zinni was not the head of Centcom when the war was planned and executed. Rummy and Dubya took the advice to Tommy Franks. BTW, Zinni was not fired; his term was complete. I suggest you Frank's book understand better Zinni's old school adherence to the Powell Doctrine.

Posted by: RiverRat at June 30, 2005 01:24 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The Good News and Bad News: "The vacuum is being filled by the U.S. Army, which has been building bridges and schools, securing neighborhoods and power plants and, yes, adjudicating claims between Turkomans and Kurds. It is doing these things because someone has to. Secretary Rumsfeld has long argued that American troops should never engage in nation building, leaving that to locals. But while we waited for Iraqis to do it, chaos broke out and terror reigned. So the Army on the ground has ignored Rumsfeld's ideology and has simply made things work. (It's a good rule of thumb for the future.)"

Posted by: georgio at June 30, 2005 07:23 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

What ever progress we made in Iraq. It is not because of Rumsfeld, but inspite of him. The credicts go to the NCOs and the junior officers.

Posted by: Minh-Duc at June 30, 2005 08:10 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

RiverRat: "Zinni was not the head of Centcom when the war was planned and executed. Rummy and Dubya took the advice to [sic] Tommy Franks. BTW, Zinni was not fired; his term was complete. I suggest you Frank's book understand better Zinni's old school adherence to the Powell Doctrine."

Do you really mean to say that a careful study was done, and the conclusion was there was zero chance of an insurgency? Remember, that is what the administration told us before the war. If there was such a study done, all the Bush defenders would be refering to it to defend the decision. The fact that they never do this leads me be be pretty certain that no such study was done.

As to the Powell Doctrine, well, it turned out to be right.

I didn't say Zinni was fired. I guess you were thinking of Eric Shinseki, who said we would need a lot more troups to keep the order, and, though he was allowed to finish his term, as punishment his replacement was announced a year earlier than usual. Or perhaps you meant Secretaty of the Army Donald White, who complained the numbers were too low, and was fired. Or Joint Chief of Staff Hugh Shelton, whose term ended in 2001, and made similar criticism.

I have not read Franks book, but I heard him interviewed on Fresh Air, and he stated that before the war, he thought there was a variety of possibilities as to what would happen after the war was over, and carefully ducked around the question of why Rumsfeld ordered so few troups.

As to the story that it was Franks' suggestion, remember how Rumsfeld said at the end of 2003, when asked if there was an insurgency going on, replied that his generals weren't telling him that. In other words, generals tell the head what he indicates he wants them to tell him. Can you imagine, as a subordinate, telling Rumsfeld something contrary to what he wanted? You would get your head chopped off.

Look, the war was the right thing to do, but the administration totally fouled up the planning for what would happen afterwards. Eveyone knows that, and you just make your self look like an idiot or a liar when you try to argue otherwise.

Posted by: Les Brunswick at June 30, 2005 10:44 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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