Friday, April 14, 2006
Generals question Rumsfeld's leadership
Last night, we had a great discussion with three retired generals. The topic was Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and the question on the table was why are so many former generals calling for Rumsfeld to resign?

I don't take sides, but what I find interesting about the current debate is that for the first time we are hearing from high-level officers who served on the ground in Iraq.

For years now, Rumsfeld and others in this administration -- from President Bush on down -- have said that they take their cues from commanders on the ground. Whenever asked about troop levels and whether there are enough forces on the ground, they've said that if the commanders wanted more, they would have asked for them.

Well now it seems we are hearing from commanders who are saying that's not the way it really worked.

Some supporters of Rumsfeld will say, well, these guys are politicized or they are trying to scapegoat Rumsfeld. And those arguments should be taken into account.

But I thought Major General John Batiste, who commanded the Army's First Infantry Division in Iraq, was compelling last night when he said that for him at least, this isn't about politics. Batiste says he's been a Republican all his life and that his criticism of Rumsfeld is about protecting troops on the ground, about winning the war.

We'll talk with more generals tonight.
Posted By Anderson Cooper: 1:38 PM ET
I don't think I will ever understand Bush's decisions when it comes to Iraq. Rumsfeld has offered to resign more than once and Bush has refused to accept his resignation. Now we have generals on the ground saying he has to go as well. This isn't a game - we have so many troops dying (not to mention the thousands of Iraqi citizens) and any mistake made is costing lives. It's time for Bush to get off his high horse and for once maybe, just maybe, do the right thing and let Rumsfeld go.
Posted By Anonymous Despina, Charlotte, NC : 2:08 PM ET
After reading COBRA II, watching the news coverage of the Secretary, working with the DOD as a contractor and being a Gulf War vet, I think it is time for him to go. He is that most dangerous of things, a micromanager with strong opions and no ability to admit a mistake and so correct it.
Posted By Anonymous Dan -- Cape Coral FL : 2:15 PM ET
Most generals have worked hard many years to earn their stars. I think these gentlemen (the retired ones now expressing dissatisfaction)acted out of pure self preservation in a "my way or the high way" administration. Early retirement and/or demotion are a high price to pay for saying what you think without presenting viable proof. Proof seems to be demanded only of the underlings in Washington. The higher-ups,starting w/ the president down seem to have their very own scale for determining truth.
Posted By Anonymous Angie Holliday;Laredo, TX : 2:30 PM ET
What you need to do Anderson, is interview a LOT of returning soldiers and get the REAL deal on what's going on. Keep 'em honest Anderson!
Posted By Anonymous Josette Caruso Hopelawn, New Jersey : 2:31 PM ET
I believe it is in our nation's advantage to see Mr. Rumsfeld leave.
Posted By Anonymous Jason S, Vienna, VA : 2:33 PM ET
Ever notice how the mainstream media embraces "former" military who bash the current administration, yet don't put any credence into what CURRENT generals are saying?
Posted By Anonymous Tina Chicago IL : 2:33 PM ET
What type of message does this send to our current commanders? Does President Bush support our current military commanders or does he just support Defense Secretary Rumsfeld? The answer may not be so 'black and white' but one can wonder what goes on in President Bush's mind. I don't think his administration knows...
Posted By Anonymous Frank, Anchorage AK : 2:33 PM ET
While I respect the generals who are speaking out now, my respect would have been unbounded if they had had the guts to have spoken out at the time the decisions were being made and carried out. Yes, it would have ended their careers, but how many people, both American and Iraqi, have to die before one's sense of duty to the men and women of the armed forces overrides one's duty to one's superiors?

An important question now is - given that we seem to be racing recklessly into a nuclear showdown with Iran, are the generals currently in place being listened to by their civilian superiors? Or are they being blown off as surely as these guys were?
Posted By Anonymous Arachnae - Sterling, VA : 2:34 PM ET
Very interesting that you say that President Bush and his staff take their cues from commanders on the ground...looks to me that all the complaints are coming from RETIRED generals...not ones on the ground...smells political to me.
Posted By Anonymous R. Graham, NMB, SC : 2:35 PM ET
W won't fire Rummy because
Rummy's failed policies are W's failed policies.
Posted By Anonymous anonymous, Gardiner, NY : 2:38 PM ET
I to think it is time for Donald Rumsfeld to go. As a matter of fact, I think it is time for this whole arrogant administration to go. They all seem to do what they want and have forgotten they are suppose to represent the people. The people are supposed to rule in a Democracy.
Posted By Anonymous Reggie, Burlington, NJ : 2:43 PM ET
I'm sure we will now see some more swiftboat attack adds to smear these generals like they did to John Kerry and Max Clealand. If we say we support the troops it might be a good idea to start listening to them.
Posted By Anonymous Kevin Forst Philadelphia PA : 2:44 PM ET
A President and Sec of Def should listen to Commanders not fire them just because they have disagreements on guidance and administration of a War.
That's why the guys with the Stars get paid the big bucks to agree or disagree with the President. The President should have an open mind even when he is wrong. Looks like 3 years later we have found out the hard way that we need more troops on the ground in Iraq just like some top General's told Bush 3 years ago.
And yes Rumsfeld has to go.
Posted By Anonymous Andy Vern; San Antonio, TX : 2:44 PM ET
If we have someone in charge who won't take responsiblity for his actions, then we have the wrong person in charge. The old saying is "you learn more from your failures then your successes." This is the not the case with Rumsfeld. He is too stubborn and arrogant to ever admit he has made any mistakes. He is to stubborn and arrogant to ever take blame for anything that has gone wrong either. I think more credibilty should be placed with the former Generals who were actually over in Irag fighting the war then someone sitting in the comforts of the Pentagon. Don't you??
Posted By Anonymous Zack Carley, Chicago, IL : 2:44 PM ET
Rumsfeld is no different than Robert McNamara to the Vietnam war. Both have a fantasy vision of reality driven by a corporate CEO mentality. Rumsfeld has a mix of career politician and corporate CEO in his background. However, running wars is not like running Ford Motor Company as McNamara found out much later in life. CEO's do not operate with battlefield flexibility. You will never see a CEO take responsibility for failure or make any dramatic shifts to meet the challenges for any such shift means taking responsibility for your decisions. We micro managed Vietnam from Washington. Now we are not only micro managing Iraq, we are micro managing nationbuilding from Washington as well. The fact we have "private" contractors doing the reconstruction is only a cost saving measure.

The bottom line conservatives like Rumsfeld as well as the current administration fail to realize is that you can no more run building of Iraq from thousands of miles away in Washington as you can run various programs in various States from Washington. At least that's the mantra of the Republican value system. Self reliance and running your own affairs as a value requisite for democratic institutions somehow is no longer a "conservative" or "Republican" value. I guess we only need look at the Republican Party controlling both houses and the White House, seeing how much they continue to spend, to realize they are no more capable adminstrators despite preaching certain values in government.

In the end, the current administration, like the core of the Republican Party, is a good teacher but not a very good student.
Posted By Anonymous T. C. South Haven, MI : 2:45 PM ET
I agree with all three of the Generals that said the Don Rumsfeld should resign, an anybody else for that matter. He has turned out to be the biggest mistake the military could have. Because of his arragance, lack of experience (in the military,)and unwillingess to admit when he as made a mistake, his mistakes are coming home is caskets almost daily. I severed 22 years in the Marine Corps, in the military period..when it come to people like Don Rumsfeld, you have an opinion, usless it agrees with his. If you disagree..your career is done. Lastly..the Sec. of Defense should never be a civilian, it should always be the highest ranking members of the armed services, make him/her the 5-Star General.
Posted By Anonymous Dave, Acworth, GA : 2:53 PM ET
To "understand" Bush's decisons on Iraq, one must realize that to correct a mistake is to admit you've made one. This is something Bush cannot do. If he admits ANY mistake about Iraq, it will unravel the huge web of lies he propagated to send troops there, along with his friendly war profiteers. It's like someone (Bush himself?)yelled "FIRE", and Bush ran over with the firehose. Now that it has proven a false alarm, he just keeps spraying water. Anyone questioning the repsonse is and "un-American terrorist lover". Bush is a blind fool, and our kids are dying and being maimed over his lies. Sickening.
Posted By Anonymous Doug Thoms, NYC, NY : 2:54 PM ET
As a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, who was combat wounded and is now on a disability retirement from the army I am sorry to say that these Generals are absolutely right. I was on the ground before the war for six months. We needed those extra troops that General Shinseki requested. Instead of listening to Gen. Shinseki he was fired. Nobody wanted to take his place, so they had to bring this Pace clown out of retirement to head up the Joint Chiefs.
Posted By Anonymous Joe Dee, Waterbury, CT : 2:56 PM ET
It would have indeed been nice for at least one of the generals to have spoken up before this "war of choice" commenced. Though, to be fair to the generals that would have taken huge courage and most certainly would have meant the end of a military career, paricularly under this administration.
Posted By Anonymous Frank E Fischbach, Collingswood NJ : 3:01 PM ET
In this type of "war" selfless insight and willingness to bend traditional rules of warfare as the conflict progresses is imperative. Every individual participating in the conflict, from the top US and Iraqi Brass to Iraqi and US civilians, should be allowed an opinion. All of those opinions on what the next move should be and how to accomplish it should be put on the table for thorough analysis. I don't see how such a conflict like this one in which the clarity of who is the enemy or the ally is always so blurred because of misunderstanding can be resolved successfully without doing so. There is no place for the self-righteous arrogance I see coming from many in this administration. I am not a democrat or a liberal, I am pro humanity.
Posted By Anonymous Stephen, Montclair, NJ : 3:02 PM ET
Anderson I wish you would speak the Generals on your show about military policy in speaking out against current policies handed down from President Bush, their Commander-In-Chief. It seems to me that most people don't understand that being in the military you are not allowed to speak out too much against your commanders including the President without facing charges. This is something I think most Americans should be aware of before they automatically believe that the Retired Generals have a "hidden agenda" and the current military personnel don't.

We have to realize there are big consequenses for current military personnel that the retired folks don't have hanging over their head. It annoys me when people say these men and women shouldn't worry about their future in the military and face whatever action is taken by the military court system or their commanding officers. I think these people need to look at their life and decide if they see a crime happen are they going to speak up when it could endanger their livelihood and their families.

Anderson, just don't let anyone, no matter what their political affiliation, pull the wool over our eyes. I wish you would do an indepth piece on military heirarchy.
Posted By Anonymous Kim, Prague, Oklahoma : 3:02 PM ET
We all know that the Bush or Rumsfeld wont fix the problems. Congress wont impeach no matter how many times this white house has broken the law. I'm just glad we only have 2 more years! And to those that really want to suppost the troops, go to them!cause you arent supporting by backing the people that sent them.
Posted By Anonymous M.D. Woodbridge,VA : 3:04 PM ET
Who can figure Bush? He recently allowed Andrew Card to resign in a reported shakeup. But who has ever heard of Andy Card? Don Rumsfeld who has made mistake after mistake in Iraq is defended to the hilt. You got disbanding the Iraqi army, not seizing the ammunition dumps, not controlling the borders after the occupation of Baghdad, and don't forget the Abu Ghraib torture scandal. Bush probably owes 20 points in his poor job approval rating to Rumsfeld. But what Bush wants to do is get his message out better. We know the message Mr. President - stay the course. Let Rumsfeld keep screwing the military up, let Cheney keep threatening violence against other countries. Stay the course. Nother hard there.

Bob Allen, Chicago,
Posted By Anonymous Bob Allen, Chicago, Illinios : 3:04 PM ET
When our military leaders say it's time for a change, then IT'S TIME FOR A CHANGE!!!. These generals were there on the frontlines and NOT behind some office, they know best what it takes to keep our troops safe. If anyone is playing politics I certainly don't think it's the generals.....
Posted By Anonymous David Flick, Savannah GA : 3:05 PM ET
Perhaps R. Graham should look at which ones are talking. Example: the former general of the 81st Airborne that took part in GWII. Looks like it's coming from those that were on the ground.
Posted By Anonymous NM, Grand Rapids, MI : 3:06 PM ET
It seems that for the past 5 1/2 miserable years, this administration has been self-serving, arrogant and ruthless. While many of us want Rumsfeld to go, the biggest problem is sitting in the oval office. It is time for the Congress to get some guts and make some moves on this man. George Bush is incompetant and arrogant,a dangerous combination, and now it seems that Iran's Ahmadinejad is looking to pick a big fight with his words against Israel today. I am getting really scared. The Republicans need to ditch the party loyalty crap and do what is best for all of us. Limit Bush or we're in big trouble.
Posted By Anonymous Paige B., Austin, TX : 3:07 PM ET
We are now seeing the "House of Cards" start to fall apart. For so long we've been duped into thinking that we needed this administration to protect us from the enemy of terror. The lies, arrogance and hiden agendas are now apparent, revealed from the Libby situation, Wilson's position, and now six retired generals. Yes, Rumsfeld should go!
Posted By Anonymous Thomas, Mechanicsville, VA : 3:10 PM ET
While in Uniform it is a punishable offense under the UCMJ to swear against your superiors. The terms "black ball" "Whistle Blower" etc... resonate loudly throughout the military......even in today's military.
Posted By Anonymous C Daniels, Jacksonville, FL : 3:11 PM ET
The reason the current generals do not complain about Donald Rumsfelt is quite simple. They would probably be fired by nightfall for speaking out. Rumsfeld should go, and as quickly as possible, in order to prevent him from making a complete disastrous mess of any intervention that the US might engage in with Iran.
Posted By Anonymous Marian, New London, MO : 3:12 PM ET
I am a retired Naval Officer. Active Duty Officer will not speak publicly because we are bound by oath to support our civilian leadership. But as retired officers we can criticize freely. I have many friends on active duty and their morale is lousy. They feel that the civilian leadership in the DOD is terrible. They are asked to do more with less and less. That the DOD ignores advice from the highest level. The last time I remember such discontent was when I was still on active duty during the Clinton years when we held the Mr Clinton in utter contemp and I heard the most horrible things said about him by very senior officers. I had never heard such things in my life. I truly feel that Mr Rumsfield is incompetent and should step down. I feel that this war was trumped up and was un needed. We have let Al Queda slip through our hands. I just hope our nation survives the rest of the incompetent Bush administration.

Retired Naval Officer
Posted By Anonymous W.F.Comer, Pensacola, Fl : 3:14 PM ET
To all the people mentioning that it is only former generals who criticize Rumsfield... ummm yeah, obviously people don't want to committ career suicide and speak out against the Secretary of Defense while they are still active. This does not prove anything about a political nature or lack thereof in these criticisms. Think just a bit more.
Posted By Anonymous Peter, Albuquerque, NM : 3:21 PM ET
I remember quite vividly, from the Iraq war's inception, generals questioning troop strength and strategies. I also remember quite clearly some of those generals suddenly "retiring" early on. To those of you who question these generals' motives -- perhaps it is time to believe the atmosphere of intimidation that exists in our administration prevents those who know how to execute war from speaking out. Perhaps those who stayed did so because they felt they loyalty to their troops -- there is NOTHING wrong with that -- and felt they could do more to help by staying than going. I have spoken privately to many of the troops who have returned, and without a newscamera trained on them, they question the war and the administration's policies, as well.
Posted By Anonymous pat, hickory, nc : 3:21 PM ET
Arachnae and R. Graham,

As to why these RECENTLY retired flag officers may have not spoken up while on active duty, see GEN(R) Eric Shinseki as an example. Shinseki openly contradicted Rumsfeld's and the Whitehouse's opinion of the the number of troops required for the Iraq mission. The result? Shinseki's replacement was announced over a year before the end of his tour. In short, Rumsfeld sacked Shinseki w/ this very provocative and rather disrespectful move. Know that they also feuded on the Crusader program. These examples, in all likelihood, set the precedent on which these recent flag officers acted. Maybe they chose to stay on in order to best serve their subordinates, to mitigate some of the less than stellar decision making from the top.
Posted By Anonymous Sean Uchima, Clovis, CA : 3:26 PM ET
"Well now it seems we are hearing from commanders who are saying that's not the way it really worked. "

why does that surprise anyone. It practical application is rarely like the verbal account. We know that from our business life to how we explain it to our children. And thats how this government treats the American people , like children. Now I suppose I just landed myself on a FBI watch list.
Posted By Anonymous Warren San Diego, Ca : 3:26 PM ET
To all who wonder why active duty generals/officers are not complaining about Rummy: Have you ever been in the military? Only those with a career death wish will speak out against the administration!
Posted By Anonymous joe, new albany, in : 3:28 PM ET
I would rather be fired and right than retired and sounding like a political "tool". Ask them tonight why they chose the easier road? My perception was that these Generals were respectable leaders. Not any longer though, not if they don't have the conviction to take a stand. Especially on a subject as important as this!
Posted By Anonymous norman seattle washington : 3:35 PM ET
As a soldier you are trained to not have political views or speak out on them. These generals got where they were by following orders and being non political. There was also a very strong precedent when the first general who spoke out before the war about how many troops it would take was quickly fired. I think everyone got the message, shut up and do what you are told. It has been very apparent throughout this administration that they listen to no one.
Posted By Anonymous Mike Cruey, Harrisburg, PA : 3:38 PM ET
I have a lot of respect for the generals who are speaking out about this, regardless of the fact that they are retired. Major General Batiste was on the ground, engaged in the war in a way that Bush or Rumsfeld never will be, so I am inclined to put more stock in his opinions.

The bottom line is, a good number of us will never have to experience the horrors of war, and those who have experienced it know a lot more about it than we ever will, even if we watch the news every night. Our administration needs to listen to the men and women who are on the ground fighting every day. It is a disgrace that they do not.

To me, this isn't about politics; it's about the 2,000 soldiers who have died already and the many more who will die the longer this war continues. I think Bush and his administration have been very cavalier about Iraq and their attitude makes me question how much they really care about those 2,000 soldiers, or if that number means anything to them at all.

I would like to see the whole Bush administration resign, but I'll take Rumsfeld if that's on the table.
Posted By Anonymous Sarah, Baltimore, MD : 3:38 PM ET
Indeed, complaining about your superiors in public is a punishable offense. The retired officers have the luxury to speak their minds in public -- curent officers are not.
Posted By Anonymous Eddie, Boston, MA : 3:39 PM ET
After having watched David Ensore "Dead Wrong" last night and sorting through the current debate whether Rummy should go away.. It is increasingly clear that we (meaning the press and public) are being reactive.. This kind of skeptisism and advocacy should have happened much early in the process. I think the institutin o blame is the Congress who failed miserably in their constitutional duty by following the partisan obligations thereby giving the President the authority to wage wars..without questioning the intelligence.. At a minimum, there should be a lesson learnt from all of this.. which is the media should take a more active role in bringing out and telling the truth and not fall prey to the planned leaks that the administration puts out.. I hope that the American public realizes this and show the both parties that there is a price to be paid when you decieve the public and put this current Congress out of power come November.

On the subject of Rummy.. he should go away.. I hope W sacks him soon..
Posted By Anonymous Ash, HE, Illinois : 3:39 PM ET
Here's why officers on active duty cannot speak out:
Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.
From the Uniform Code of Military Justice, SUBCHAPTER X. PUNITIVE ARTICLES.
You will also notice that "comtemptuous" is a highly subjective term and, particularly in times of war, can and will be applied broadly.
Posted By Anonymous Michael, Independence, MO : 3:41 PM ET
I think they all need to go. Clean the White House from top to bottom. Mr. Bush should be the 1st to go.
Posted By Anonymous Tom, Medford, NY : 3:43 PM ET
It is time for Rumsfelt to go and a complete review of what it is we are really doing in IRAQ. It is a predetermined conclusion that we are in IRAQ until Bush leaves. That was one of Bush's own quotes. ("Someone in the next administration will determine when we leave Iraq") WHY? Get Stormin Norman back in the Defense Game and watch how fast we get the job done, get it done right and stop losing troops and Iraq stops losing civilians.
Unfortunately incumbent powers to be are infact limited as to what they can or are willing to say because of the constant threat of dismissal. If I was still serving I would be in real trouble.
Posted By Anonymous Dick Borgia USA Retired Norwood, NY : 3:45 PM ET
The mere fact Bush is supporting Rumsfeld should point out to even those most supportive of Bush that he is dangerously disconnected from reality.
Posted By Anonymous Andrew Hanhardt, Boise Idaho : 3:47 PM ET
All this makes me wish for a general of the nature of Patton. Outspoken and unafraid of his position being lost due to politics, all the while an acting, in the field general. Regardless of whether he was right or wrong in his opinions, criticisms, actions, and assertions of how to carry out the war, he had the courage to speak his mind before retirement and risk his position. I wish we had that same caliber of courage and personality in our leaders, military or political, today. Things may have gone much different and efficient in a war that has gone bad right from the start, had our military and political leaders risked thier position to run a war properly, and on solid democratic principals.
Posted By Anonymous Paul B, Phoenix, AZ : 3:48 PM ET
why can't we just stop talking about this and let the US forces go in and clean house! be done with this crap! this reminds me of the vietnam war - too much politicizing - let the armed services fight the war and get out of the commentaries! let them fight the fight- finish the job and get out!
Posted By Anonymous wanda, wa,dc : 3:48 PM ET
What do you all think of civilian control of the military? If enough generals want the president--any president--to fire the civilian leadership does he do it? Do these generals bear any responsibility for what has happened on the ground?
Posted By Anonymous QWS, Leavenworth, KS : 3:57 PM ET
Of course President Bush thinks Rumsfeld is great, he thought Michael Brown wsa doing a heck of a job while at FEMA. What kind a yardstick is he using to measure performance?
Posted By Anonymous Laura, Irvine, CA : 3:57 PM ET
It seems to me that he has stomped out any dissenting opinions, in a way that inhibits any future disagreements. It was clear that he didn't want to hear the Army's recommendation on the self-propelled artillery program that he cancelled, he also didn't want to hear Gen Shinseki's argument for more troops. And as for Gen Pace's comments "People can question my judgment or his judgment, but they should never question the dedication, the patriotism and the work ethic of Secretary Rumsfeld." He hit it right on the head, we are questioning his judgment.
Posted By Anonymous Jeff, Milwaukee, WI : 3:58 PM ET
Shouldn't Mr. Rumsfeld be joining the ranks of the "retired" generals by rowing out while he still has some life left? Seems to me that he should have retired his post a long time ago.
Posted By Anonymous Luz, Los Angeles, California : 3:58 PM ET
The Rummy worm in the military computer goes much deeper than the "Iraq" plan. His realignment plan, including the National Guard, with BRAC and the rubber stamp Sen. Warner committee which includes McCain in the majority will cripple the US military for years if not reversed. Got questions? Dig out the "testimony" to Congress with Rummy pulling rank on the Joint Chiefs which have become the penta-puppets. DISGUSTING When you get done look at the swift boating of Murtha and others while the Gonzo torture program gets blamed on the lowliest. From scrounging for armor to refusing to drive contaminated "fuel" to our troops those who protest definitely feel the "fairness" of military justice. We won't even go into his cost-saving contractors. Mmmm how did all that stolen stuff get on the open market.

No disrespect for those in uniform who are trying to keep on mission and respect the tradition.
Posted By Anonymous linda, bella vista, ar : 4:02 PM ET
History should have taught us a lesson. When politicians tell soldiers HOW to fight a war those armies lose that war irrespect if they have the best troops and equipment in that war.
The Germans lost in Russia because of 'Politicians' interfering with tactical military decisions and creating a hatred of the occupiers by implementing harsh treatment of the their opponents. Mr. Rumsfeld has intervened to many times in the planning and execution of the war in Iraq and Abu Gharib scandal did not help us win anyone who was on the fence in Iraq. It is time that the overall strategy for fighting and winning the war in Iraq and the war on terror is left to profeesional soldiers that have the guts to say no that won't work. The generals are the ones who have the background and knowledge on how to get the job done not a bunch of pencil pushers who are 7000 miles away. I feel sorry for our brave young men and women.
Posted By Anonymous George, Baltimore, MD : 4:02 PM ET
Interesting you mentioning that you don't take sides. It's probably why 360 is the only newscast that my husband and I can watch together without getting into an argument over bias. Except last night. He (husband) thought you clearly were taking sides on the Rumsfield issue. Just an observation, take it for what it's worth.
Posted By Anonymous Prentiss, Phoenix, AZ : 4:54 PM ET
Tina in Chicago said:

"Ever notice how the mainstream media embraces "former" military who bash the current administration, yet don't put any credence into what CURRENT generals are saying?"

Apparently this young lady has never been in the military. It's NOT a democracy, honey, you don't just get to 'speak' your mind, especially if you want that next star or promotion. 'CURRENT generals' are simply not at liberty to speak out honestly and those that do find themselves without a job. Just ask General Eric K. Shinseki!
Posted By Anonymous George, Chicago, IL : 4:54 PM ET
The reason these former generals are speaking out now is that they never had the guts to face Mr. Rumsfeld with their true opinion when it really mattered. We don't need generals with those qualities. It is good they are retired and out of the way.
Posted By Anonymous Frank, Iowa Park, Texas : 4:54 PM ET
I believe it was Clemencau who once said that "war is too important to be left to generals". Decisions made by the military from a base in Florida with respect to the war in Iraq are equally troubling
Posted By Anonymous Richard D. Gilman, Lexington, MA : 4:54 PM ET
I am not sure what basis the supporters for Rumsfeld are using in order to defend him and the administration he is working for. Politics aside, it is painfully obvious that Rumsfeld and his cronies are doing an inadequate job of handling the situation. They are arrogant, bull headed, and are still trapped in how the world was functioning prior to 1985. The U.S. is slowly falling to shambles, and the current administration has absolutely no control over events taking place in the White House. It is about time someone spoke up, and too bad they had to retire before they did speak up otherwise we know what would have happened to their job status.
Posted By Anonymous Talat, Dublin, CA : 4:55 PM ET
So, how many individuals posting comments here against Donald Rumsfeld, voted to re-elect President Bush in '04 ??
Posted By Anonymous Ken, Arlington, VA : 4:55 PM ET
I admire the presidents loyalty to his people. There are a lot more than 8 generals in our county. I think I would be more receiving of this news if I knew what motivated this. It just seems like a partisan politics at work again.
Posted By Anonymous Marilyn, Helena, Montana : 5:15 PM ET
This is a discrace! These ex-military "experts" are not even in the loop. I would call it "aiding and abetting the enemy" period.
It is very obvious that their motives are political. In fact, I think that the Democratic party is so desperate to regain power or influence that they are becoming a danger to National Security. How many other general hold the views of the one's that have spoken out. Only three or four have spoken out as apposed to the thousands of other generals. These few only get the press. For the first time is our history of warfare have we taken on a terroist insurgency whose main goal is the destruction of the United States of America.
Hss everyone forgotten the Twin Towers when they came down?
Posted By Anonymous Robert A. Paddon, Milledgeville, GA : 5:17 PM ET
I will add my comments to the multitude that are posted above in that active military personnel swear an oath to support their Commander-in-Chief.

My father, who was career military would never give his opinion in regards to the right or wrongness of whichever political party was in power until he retired. In fact he even refused to vote as his position was that the military is apolitical. It was only after he retired that I learned he was opposed to the Vietnam War, even though he did two tours there. You may not agree with the orders, but unless they are illegal, you obey them

While some of you say that the fear of consequences should not prevent someone from speaking out. How do you reconcile that to someone to whom the military is their life.
Posted By Anonymous RJ, Burbank California : 5:24 PM ET
Rumsfeld's exit cannot occur soon enough, his arrogance and incompetence are in large part the reason we have as high of an American body count as we do. Unfortunately he was aided and abetted by his boss, our President and no one is willing to hold either of them accountable. The Congress should be impeached for dereliction of duty and then a NEW Congress can impeach the President.
Posted By Anonymous Chip, Chicago, IL : 5:29 PM ET
This blog is just what you can expect
from a liberal leaning network and media. As previously mentioned keep politics out of the military and let the hard working troops do their job.
Posted By Anonymous Al Boyd, Chesapeake, VA : 5:29 PM ET
It is refreshing to see that debate is alive and well on this blog. I just wish that this type of debate had taken place prior to our illegal invasion of Iraq. I still have yet to see a Declaration of War by Congress, which is somethine specifically called out in the Consitution and not something that can be implied by a power hungary administration.
Posted By Anonymous Roy, Thousand Oaks, CA : 5:29 PM ET
I am a retired vp of a large company. I worked for a man for more than 25 years. You could not change his mind, even when he was wrong. he told me one time, I don't fire people, I will just put you in an office, no phone, no communications, until you get tired and quiet yourself. That is Secretary Rumsfeld. A general did dare differ with him, or the General was out. We were short of troops in Iraq, from the very outset. Ray Cavanagh,
Posted By Anonymous Ray Cavanagh, Seattle, Wa. : 5:30 PM ET
Even if Bush fired Rumsfeld, who would want to take the job on now? Those who call for a complete withdrawal ignore reality as do those who claim we are achieving victory. We will be lucky to get out in 3 or 4 years and have a stable government in place.
Posted By Anonymous LV, Houston TX : 12:10 PM ET
A lot of people, including the administration, is asking why these generals didn't speak up or speak up louder when they were active combat leaders. Some of the comments posted here say as much. Understand this: the military does not work like a corporation or a work place environment. Combat officers can give suggestions and are sometimes questioned about their opinions but they are not ever expected to dissent from their leaders. If a leader gives a plan and does not ask for debate then questioning the order is often seen as subordinate and defiant. Some leaders (and I suspect Rumsfield might be like this) will not accept alternatives to his viewpoints from those that almost always disagree from him. It is the soldiers' job (even generals) to follow the orders that he is given, his opinions ultimately does not matter. Many people act like these generals should have spoken before but I suspect that many were never asked or were quickly shut down.
Many people would probably say they should have retired (which eventually they did, by the way) but if they did, on the spot, then tthey would have left a number of battalions without a experienced leader and possibly created even more casualties than what we presently have today.
It is completely appropriate for the retired generals to criticize the war, whether their experiences were negative and/or positive. They are no longer active soldiers. History is full of retired generals that have questioned the theaters that they participated in. People are just upset (or emboldened) by the further questions that a unpopular war that our nation does not want to face.
Posted By Anonymous Jeff Speed, Dallas Texas : 2:38 PM ET
It's difficult to see why six retired generals speaking out against Rumsfeld's leadership is all that significant. There are always people who disagree with leadership positions and policies, and we've even seen a group of four generals respond with a positive Op-Ed in favor of Rumsfeld. Yet (and I could be mistaken in my observations) we don't see much attention paid to those generals. Why is that? While there are certainly significant and powerful reasons for criticizing the current administration, people seem too keen to jump on any evidence that might be used against it. I personally think we should stick to the good and solid reasons we already have for criticizing the administration (e.g. the whole WMD debacle). A larger consensus of generals would make for a much more significant and reasonable statement against Rumsfeld's policies and actions, but since we don't have that, let's not try to work the same conclusions based on only six.
Posted By Anonymous Matthew Schultz, New York, NY : 4:13 PM ET
I spent most of 2003 in Kuwait and Iraq. I have just recently separated from the Army after 6 years of service.

I'm here to tell you that many of you posting comments here are seriously, SERIOUSLY ignorant of how things work.

First of all, when you're an active duty soldier, your job is to receive the mission from your superior headquarters, plan the mission, and then execute it. Your feedback may be solicited during the planning phase, but if your opinion is overridden by the next commander up the chain, you have to suck it up and drive on, even if you're executing a plan you don't like.

MANY of the senior officers, the Joint Chiefs in particular, questioned the OSD's desire to go to war with a smaller force. Rumsfeld remained fixated on his desire to shift the military paradigm towards a "lighter, faster, more mobile" military force.

That theory works great for an Afghanistan. It's not so friggin great when you're trying to lock down a huge-ass country full of 32 million who are people pissed off because they have no electricity or sewage control.

To do that, you need boots on the ground. And LOTS of them. Powell knew it, Shinseki knew it, and damn near everyone who had served in Kosovo, Bosnia, or Haiti knew it. Rumsfeld just didn't care.

I was greeted with hugs and waves in 2003 for the most part. And if I had a dime for every time an Iraqi hugged me the day we killed Uday and Qusay, I'd be retired right now.

Rumsfeld's complete disregard for the principles of war as they apply to troop strength, and his utter negligence in giving Phase IV planning its due diligence have landed us in the predicament we are in today.

I find myself very irritated at those of you who are speaking ill of these recently retired Generals because they didn't speak out while they were on duty in Iraq. They didn't keep quiet because they wanted their next star or promotion. They very likely made their concerns known and had them summarily disregarded by a superior officer or the SecDef himself.

The bottom line is that it doesn�t matter anymore how well or poorly Rumsfeld is performing in his role as Secretary of Defense. He has lost the favor of nearly everyone he has worked with during his tenure in this administration, with the exception of good-ole Gee-Diggity-Dub and Deadeye Dick. For better or worse, it is time to put a fresh new face on the Department of Defense.
Posted By Anonymous SGT H, Boston, MA : 5:16 PM ET
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