Rumsfeld, the Pentagon, and the Generals

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Last Sunday, the St. Paul Pioneer Press published a piece  by former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith relaying his thoughts on the outgoing SecDef Donald Rumsfeld.  He exposes the antique media's and the retired flag officer cabal's blatant disinformation campaign while simultaneously reinforcing what AT readers have known  for years about Rummy's real contribution to the national defense.  A few examples.

On the 'not enough troops' issue:

Rumsfeld has been attacked for insisting that troop levels for the Iraq operation be kept low, supposedly out of ideology and contrary to the advice of the military.  What I saw, however, was that Rumsfeld questioned standard military recommendations for "overwhelming force.' ...But Rumsfeld never told Gen. John Abizaid or Gen. Tommy Franks that U.S. Central Command could not have the number of troops that the commanders deemed necessary.  ... If other generals are unhappy with the troop levels in Iraq, the problem is not that they failed to persuade Rumsfeld, but that they failed to persuade Abizaid or Franks.

This goes to the heart of the matter, despite the media and some members of the blogosphere promoting the myth that former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Shinseki 'warned' the Whitehouse that troop strength would have to be drastically increased for Operation Iraqi Freedom.  He did not issue any warning — official or otherwise, nor did the SecDef quash disagreement.

In fact, Shinseki worked with his Congressional sponsors to get his opposing views known to a Senate Committee during a Q&A after his official prepared statement on the readiness of the Army.  A statement that in retrospect was highly questionable concerning the real numbers of troops available for deployment, and how the Army could have even fielded such a large number of soldiers had Gen. Franks ultimately asked for Shinseki's 'several hundred thousand' troops.

On the 'Rumsfeld is a slave to transformation' criticism:

It's clear Rummy was being asked to save the Army from its own radical, and sometimes unreal concepts of warfighting.  When push came to shove and real war had to be fought or bureaucracies whittled down, the services, particularly the Army, complained about shifting assets from favored programs, including pie—in—the—sky transformation boondoggles and outmoded command structures.  Feith writes that the SecDef wanted,

...to drop outdated practices, programs and ideas — antagonized many senior military officers and civilian officials in the department.  When he told organizations to take on new missions, their instinct — typical of bureaucracies — was to say they needed more people and more money.  Rumsfeld responded: If changes in the world require us to do new things, those changes must also allow us to curtail or end old missions that we continue for no good reason.  He made numerous major changes in the Defense Department at the cost of goring a lot of oxen.

As we see more meltdowns from the so—called Democratic Congressional leadership, and as their cut and run strategy takes shape, Americans will only then realize that we have lost perhaps the key leader in the War on Islamo—fascism.  This also means a return to 'business as usual' at the Pentagon.  The problem is this time; these beltway types are playing footsie with our national security with the knowledge that if they complain loud enough, they can get the boss fired.  God help us.

Douglas Hanson   11 18 06

Last Sunday, the St. Paul Pioneer Press published a piece  by former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith relaying his thoughts on the outgoing SecDef Donald Rumsfeld.  He exposes the antique media's and the retired flag officer cabal's blatant disinformation campaign while simultaneously reinforcing what AT readers have known  for years about Rummy's real contribution to the national defense.  A few examples.

On the 'not enough troops' issue:

Rumsfeld has been attacked for insisting that troop levels for the Iraq operation be kept low, supposedly out of ideology and contrary to the advice of the military.  What I saw, however, was that Rumsfeld questioned standard military recommendations for "overwhelming force.' ...But Rumsfeld never told Gen. John Abizaid or Gen. Tommy Franks that U.S. Central Command could not have the number of troops that the commanders deemed necessary.  ... If other generals are unhappy with the troop levels in Iraq, the problem is not that they failed to persuade Rumsfeld, but that they failed to persuade Abizaid or Franks.

This goes to the heart of the matter, despite the media and some members of the blogosphere promoting the myth that former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Shinseki 'warned' the Whitehouse that troop strength would have to be drastically increased for Operation Iraqi Freedom.  He did not issue any warning — official or otherwise, nor did the SecDef quash disagreement.

In fact, Shinseki worked with his Congressional sponsors to get his opposing views known to a Senate Committee during a Q&A after his official prepared statement on the readiness of the Army.  A statement that in retrospect was highly questionable concerning the real numbers of troops available for deployment, and how the Army could have even fielded such a large number of soldiers had Gen. Franks ultimately asked for Shinseki's 'several hundred thousand' troops.

On the 'Rumsfeld is a slave to transformation' criticism:

It's clear Rummy was being asked to save the Army from its own radical, and sometimes unreal concepts of warfighting.  When push came to shove and real war had to be fought or bureaucracies whittled down, the services, particularly the Army, complained about shifting assets from favored programs, including pie—in—the—sky transformation boondoggles and outmoded command structures.  Feith writes that the SecDef wanted,

...to drop outdated practices, programs and ideas — antagonized many senior military officers and civilian officials in the department.  When he told organizations to take on new missions, their instinct — typical of bureaucracies — was to say they needed more people and more money.  Rumsfeld responded: If changes in the world require us to do new things, those changes must also allow us to curtail or end old missions that we continue for no good reason.  He made numerous major changes in the Defense Department at the cost of goring a lot of oxen.

As we see more meltdowns from the so—called Democratic Congressional leadership, and as their cut and run strategy takes shape, Americans will only then realize that we have lost perhaps the key leader in the War on Islamo—fascism.  This also means a return to 'business as usual' at the Pentagon.  The problem is this time; these beltway types are playing footsie with our national security with the knowledge that if they complain loud enough, they can get the boss fired.  God help us.

Douglas Hanson   11 18 06