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November 14, 2006
The quitter generals
I was looking at the Veterans Day celebrations Saturday. We remember the valiant actions of the past, but only half—heartedly. Why? Because, while nostalgia can be a good thing, what is now, and what we face in the near future, is far more pressing.
For the fist time in American history we are facing an enemy that is trying to destroy our nation. Our enemy, the Islamic Fascists, want nothing more than destroy America. They are willing to kill themselves, and their children to do so. It does no good for us to wonder why. That is a waste of time. Many of us have yet to accept the fact that a movement of perhaps 1 billon people wants us all dead.
While America celebrates our veterans of the past we should know that so far, in this struggle, there are no military leaders that are willing to become the next Patton or MacArthur. Certainly, this is not a war that fits the Powell doctrine.
Men like General Powell have too much baggage to effectively face this enemy. We can't look to men like General (Ret) Clark. They are inflexible leaders that have a cemented view of how to fight. Their claim to fame is reforming the Post—Vietnam Army. To them we say, "thanks, now get out of the way". They are the proponents of using overwhelming force or no force at all. That is hard to do for a country of 300 million against an enemy of 1 billion.
A new breed of leader is needed. Leaders that are willing to fight, even if victory is not assured. Leaders that are willing to mobilize a nation. Leaders that are willing to look at their failures and fix them.
But so far, in this war we see none of that. We see generals like Brigadier General (Ret) Janis Karpinski, the commander of Abu Grab Prison, who is giving our enemies comfort and aid in Germany next week against former SecDef Rumsfield. A general that sees her redemption in blaming her superiors for her dereliction of duty.
How about former 1st Infantry Division Commander Battest, who retired, then came out in full force, opposed to the President and the SecDef? If only he would have had the same commitment to winning in Iraq! Are we to believe that he suddenly formed his opinions after his retirement, that before his retirement he was a dedicated warrior? How can a man give a full honest effort to a cause that he does not support?
Our failures in Iraq lie with the military. We are the planners and executers of the operations that support the strategy of our nation. Yet many of our Sr. leaders are playing CYA. They have given up, and are trying to write history to favor them, not the nation.
I am not of that camp. Have we made mistakes? Yes, big mistakes. Can we win? Yes sir, we can win, but only when lead by the willing.
We can only lose when we have given up. The Sr. military leaders that see only failure should have the courage and conviction to stand aside and allow those that are still willing to fight and win to take the war forward. To these generals I say; Retire to your dream homes, go on the Sunday talk shows, write your books. Live your life knowing that you quit on your men, and the nation. Don't burden those of us that believe we will win and are willing to work toward that victory or die.
Who are the quitter generals? My honor forbids me from exposing the active duty Sr. officers in this forum. But America should know this: our Military is infected with a small number of Sr. Officers that have quit. Having quit, they will not give a full, honest effort. They camouflage themselves well from the pubic, but they are known to their staffs, soldiers, and commanders. Theirs is a selfish existence. They are officers brought up in the Clinton years. Promoted for their loyalty to the Administration, not the country.
There is more hope than gloom left in our Army, far more. Who are the new leaders? Men and women that are willing to look at our failures, learn from them, and change to win. Men like Major General Hamm, the current Commander of the 1st Infantry Division; Brigadier General Tucker of the US Army Armor Center; General Casey; General Schumacher. These men have not quit, and will not quit.
I did not enjoy serving under Clinton, but I gave it my all, because I was serving a nation, not a man. These quitter generals serve for themselves. They sacrifice others for their progression and legacy. Their motto is, Me first, mission maybe.
Now that SecDef Rumsfield is gone, whom will these Generals blame for their failures? Maybe now they will turn on their field grade officers. Far Fetched? Not after what we saw them do to the SecDef. They have sold their honor for thirty pieces of silver.
Obviously, if I wish to continue to serve I can't reveal myself. Does that make me a coward? Maybe, but at least I haven't quit. They should know that we young ones are watching, and we will hold them accountable for their selfish actions.
[Editor: The author identifies himself as an officer in the US military, but requested anonymity] 11 14 06