Apr 24, 2006
Six generals have now publicly called for the removal of Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense. Everyone has cited his handling of the war in Iraq as the major reason.
Rumsfeld responded by saying that the generals don’t like change – his reorganization of the military. And besides, he pointed out, there’s only six of them calling for his head, out of thousands of retired generals. The rest, he insisted, support his decisions. The generals responded by bringing out the person who has always spoken for them in Congress: U.S. Representative John Murtha.
Murtha declared that he was not surprised that six retired generals had called for Rumsfeld’s removal or resignation, and said there were a lot more who felt the same way. “I’ve been speaking for a lot of people in the military who are afraid to come forward and speak themselves,” he said.
Murtha, a Democrat with longstanding ties to the military, himself actively pushed for the Iraq invasion before it happened. He has been known as one of the biggest war hawks in Congress. Yet last November, he called for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq within six months. His call, and his criticism of the Bush administration’s handling of the war, were then widely seen as speaking for a large number of officers in the active military.
In their opposition to Rumsfeld and Bush’s war in Iraq, though, the military did NOT oppose the Iraq war itself. Their beef is not with the invasion and the war, but with the way it has been carried out. John Batiste, the most recent general to speak out, wrote in the Washington Post: “We went to war with the wrong war plan,” and, “We must complete what we started in Iraq.”
The generals’ concern is that the mess in Iraq has “broken” the U.S. military – making it more difficult to send the military into other places around the world. Murtha said that the war in Iraq has made it impossible to consider using troops to invade Iran – an option that HE believes should be on the table.
Murtha and the generals might be fighting Bush and Rumsfeld – but only because they disagree as to how the U.S. can most effectively be the cop of the world.
Whether it follows Rumsfeld’s policy or that of the generals – that “Cop of the World” is still our enemy, leading attacks on us and on the rest of the world’s populations every day.