Monday, 24 April 2006

The defence of the YesMen Generals

A time to go
The clamour for the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld has not gone unnoticed, as retired generals have wrangled with each other taking on whether or not to defenestrate the embattled Secretary of Defense (American spelling).
To date, a 4-star General, two 3-star Generals and four 2-star generals have voiced their opinions about the fitness of Mr Rumsfeld for the duties that he has been assigned.
In the numbers game, of all retired generals, this could be insignificant, but when viewed in the context of the fact that six of those generals have reported up the chain in his tenure, you begin to wonder if it is the generals or the secretary that is the issue.
Yes, from the Generals
However, two other 4-star Generals have come forward to defend the tenure and abilities of Donald Rumsfeld; they being General Tommy Franks and General Richard Myers.
One could feel great sympathy for their stance since they represented the highest link in the chain between the forces and their political masters.
The risk of having both their reputations and legacies sullied is evident if tactics and modalities surrounding the execution of Iraqi war and peace are brought under the harsh light of unrelenting scrutiny.
However, if people in authority cannot speak up when they should on matters of expertise, principle, honesty, integrity, tactics and/or experience, they are bungling miscreants not worthy of giving counsel to anyone.
This was not helped by the fact that the Secretary of State in the person of Condolezza Rice did say there were tactical errors regarding the execution and process of the Iraqi war when she was in the UK powwowing with Jack Straw.
Donald can dismiss, disdain and disparage
Rumsfeld in his characteristic manner dismissed her comments with the flippant “I do not know what she is talking about”.
It goes without saying that Mr Rumsfeld’s arrogance sometimes beggars belief, the unparalleled hubris with which he singularly deprecates other views to the elevation of his opinions is dangerous at best and globally lethal at worst.
Since the Abu Ghraib episode, anybody of useful and commendable reputation has asked for Rumsfeld to step down, for the sake of loyalty, dignity and possible self-pride.
However, he has stuck to the position, clammed shut and irretrievable from the Pentagon whilst the White House engages in the Window-dressing of changing staff to raise the popularity of the president.
Sack him for the polls
I could almost promise an amazing 10 to 15 point surge in the president’s popularity if he left that office this afternoon. Changing the press secretary, budget director, chief of staff or some other brown-nosing functionary would do nothing to budge the downward spiral of squandered opportunities the president finds himself in.
Enter the Economist through a piece by Lexington and suddenly, I read a whole message that shows the Rumsfeld should long have been pensioned off to some home for bureaucratic bottlenecks and enemies of reasonable discourse.
Yes, from the generals, again
Here, we find that General Tommy Franks is considered a one-dimensional strategist and General Myers is a yes man– call me anything but never a yes man.
Then we hear from Dr. Henry Kissinger who would be so welcome for trial in any international court of justice commend Donald Rumsfeld as “the best practitioner of the art of bureaucratic infighting” he had ever seen.
It is then no wonder that he can disparage the Secretary of State, dismiss the opinions of the generals, deny that there is a problem anywhere whilst opportunistically linking his efficacy to the wishes of the president to keep him there.
Load bearing furniture
A contemporary assessment of the Bush Presidency is beginning to look like a case of moving around the furniture to keep a building from collapsing; furniture might bear up the building for a while, but the problem is structural and fundamental.
Some of the major players in the President’s team need to be sent packing of which Mr Rumsfeld is the chief liability and millstone around the president’s laden neck.
An opinion worthy of attention
The Economist says this better as the casualties of the tactical errors continue to rise in Iraq and in America; Mr Rumsfeld is worth the greater sacrifice for the nation and fatherland, regardless of the idea changing horses mid-race, it might be the right thing to do to win the race and turn this sordid matter around – once and for all.

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