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Retired military officers: Rumseld to blame for Iraq FUBAR

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September 26, 2006

By DAVID ESPO

Retired military officers on Monday bluntly accused Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld of bungling the war in Iraq, saying U.S. troops were sent to fight without the best equipment and that critical facts were hidden from the public.

"I believe that Secretary Rumsfeld and others in the administration did not tell the American people the truth for fear of losing support for the war in Iraq," retired Maj. Gen. John R. S. Batiste told a forum conducted by Senate Democrats.

A second military leader, retired Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, assessed Rumsfeld as "incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically."

"Mr. Rumsfeld and his immediate team must be replaced or we will see two more years of extraordinarily bad decision-making," Eaton added at the forum, held six weeks before the Nov. 7 midterm elections, in which the war is a central issue.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a member of the Armed Services Committee, dismissed the Democratic-sponsored event as "an election-year smoke screen aimed at obscuring the Democrats’ dismal record on national security."

"Today’s stunt may rile up the liberal base, but it won’t kill a single terrorist or prevent a single attack," Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a statement. He called Rumsfeld an "excellent secretary of defense."

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, speaking Monday at the National Press Club, said election-season politics may be what’s standing in the way of finding a solution to the insurgency in Iraq.

"My instinct is, once the election is over, there will be a lot more hard thinking about what to do about Iraq and a lot more candid observations about it," said Specter, R-Pa.

The conflict, now in its fourth year, has claimed the lives of more than 2,600 American troops and cost more than $300 billion.

Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., the committee chairman, told reporters last week that he hoped the hearing would shed light on the planning and conduct of the war. He said majority Republicans had failed to conduct hearings on the issue, adding, "if they won’t … we will."

Since he spoke, a government-produced National Intelligence Estimate became public that concluded the war has helped create a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Along with several members of the Senate Democratic leadership, one Republican, Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina, participated. "The American people have a right to know any time that we make a decision to send Americans to die for this country," said Jones, a conservative whose district includes Camp Lejeune Marine base.

It is unusual for retired military officers to criticize the Pentagon while military operations are under way, particularly at a public event likely to draw widespread media attention.

And Senate Republicans circulated a statement by four retired generals that said, "(W)e do not believe that it is appropriate for active duty, or retired, senior military officers to publicly criticize U.S. civilian leadership during war." The group included two three-star generals, John Crosby and Thomas McInerny, and a pair of two-star generals, Burton Moore and Paul Vallely.

But Batiste, Eaton and retired Col. Thomas X. Hammes were unsparing in remarks that suggested deep anger at the way the military had been treated. All three served in Iraq, and Batiste also was senior military assistant to then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.

Batiste, who commanded the Army’s 1st Infantry Division in Iraq, also blamed Congress for failing to ask "the tough questions."

He said Rumsfeld at one point threatened to fire the next person who mentioned the need for a postwar plan in Iraq.

Batiste said if full consideration had been given to the requirements for war, it’s likely the U.S. would have kept its focus on Afghanistan, "not fueled Islamic fundamentalism across the globe, and not created more enemies than there were insurgents."

Hammes said that not providing the best equipment was a "serious moral failure on the part of our leadership."

The United States "did not ask our soldiers to invade France in 1944 with the same armor they trained on in 1941. Why are we asking our soldiers and Marines to use the same armor we found was insufficient in 2003?" he asked.

Hammes was responsible for establishing bases for the Iraqi armed forces. He served in Iraq in 2004 and is now Marine Senior Military Fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, National Defense University.

Eaton was responsible for training the Iraqi military and later for rebuilding the Iraqi police force.

He said planning for the postwar period was "amateurish at best, incompetent a better descriptor."

Public opinion polls show widespread dissatisfaction with the way the Bush administration has conducted the war in Iraq, but division about how quickly to withdraw U.S. troops. Democrats hope to tap into the anger in November, without being damaged by Republican charges they favor a policy of "cut and run."

By coincidence, the hearing came a day after public disclosure of the National Intelligence Estimate. The report was completed in April and represented a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government, according to an intelligence official.

FUBAR is a military acronym that stands for "Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition (or Repair)


Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press

6 Responses to Retired military officers: Rumseld to blame for Iraq FUBAR

  1. anthny

    September 26, 2006 at 4:29 pm

    FUBAR was some crap that was made up during the filming of Saving Private Ryan.
    This is what I beleive to
    be True and the Orginal statement. SNAFU is from WWll and will always be the best because of it being the orginal
    (Situation Normal All Fucked Up).
    Now getting to the story about Rumsfeld. He is just there to look good, another pupput of the Regime run by the New-Cons who are controled by Isreal and the Zionists. We are now in a SNAFU.
    And when I hear that we have 16 disparate spy services inside government, according to an intelligence official. We might be in a FUBAR and in deeper do do than we can handle.

  2. Doug Thompson

    September 26, 2006 at 4:34 pm

    “FUBAR” was around long before Steven Spielberg made “Saving Private Ryan.” It was widely used to describe military screwups in Vietnam.

  3. the redeemer

    September 26, 2006 at 6:45 pm

    watch this video, it will infuriate you.
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1016720641536424083

  4. RC

    September 26, 2006 at 7:33 pm

    “Today’s stunt may rile up the liberal base, but it won’t kill a single terrorist or prevent a single attack.” Funny, I was thinking the same thing about the Right’s attack on Clinton’s pre-9/11 record.

  5. TRUTH 101

    September 26, 2006 at 8:10 pm

    MY MY,

    This hread deteriorated before it got off the ground.

    FUBAR SNAFU same thing. and who cares when and where it came from.

    The FOX answer and the White House answer to the testifying generals and Colonels in Congress was basically. Ask our people….they see it differenly.

    So that’s one FUBAR and one SNAFU with differnt targets to blame…Let’s split hairs

    Their Expert Military Generals: AKA the programmed to support the administration military offices no matte how many die group.

    HUGO got it wrong.

    Bush is the puppet
    Cheney IS in fact the devil and Rumsfeld is playing soldier from a distance while people get killed following his program.

    A DISGRACE in ANY language, any country Period

  6. David Rosenberg

    September 26, 2006 at 9:43 pm

    The Country Club atmosphere that is the White House, must be removed before 2008. If they are so blind to what goes on in Iraq, are they also Deaf to not hear what experts say.
    d. rumsfeld is killing our soldiers. It can not be put in any other way and cannot be more clear as the number rises. Continuing with the same plans will not produce any lasting victory. It is quite easy to see, the man has no plans to change, this must stop being in the hands of a civilian. Without battlefield knowledge there is no way for any useful idea. bush must put the soldiers and the country before friendship. The time is growing near, any change will be too late and all is lost.