Ricks and Rummy

A military reader writes:

From my sources, Ricks is leaving a lot of the internal Pentagon and US Army politics out of the picture. And if that internal politics is considered you get a bigger picture of what the criticism of Rummy and Bush are getting from Retired US Army Officers.

Many retired US Army Flag Grade Officers have truly been upset about a number of reforms that the Bush Administration have pursued, prior to and after 9-11.  Mostly their complaints have been restructuring of the US Army from a force capable of fighting the Cold War scenario to a force capable of fighting an asymmetrical war (i.e. taking on terrorists and guerilla forces). The canceling of the Crusader Artillery system and other budget cuts really pissed those guys off at Rummy and Bush. Then on top of that Shinseki retires when they were hoping he’d get another two years at being Chief of Staff of the US Army (Shinseki was the point man with Congress to try and block some of these initiatives). That was just the first shoe to drop.

Number Two was the calling out of retirement of the current COS Gen. Peter Schoomaker to replace Shinseki. Schoomaker is a Special Forces type that was/and is ready to think in different ways to develop the US Army.

Number Three, Special Operations Command is upgraded to be on par with the other CINC’s (i.e. Southern, Central, etc.). The Armor, Artillery, Aviation, Paratroopers and Infantry communities (considered conventional commands) in the US Army now have another force to reckon with in getting promotions, coveted positions and such.  That was a real knock down to those communities.

Number Four was Gen. James Jones, USMC (formerly Commandant of the Marine Corps and should have been retired) gets to be The Supreme Allied Commander Europe.  "Whoa, a Marine as SACEUR, that’s our baby!"  Another smack down to the conventional commands in the US Army.

Number Five, Gen. Peter Pace, USMC now becomes Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. In what should have been the US Army’s turn to hold that job.   

Getting the picture? Times are a changing and the army ain’t adapting too well to it.  Therefore all the criticism of Rummy early this year and last was mostly from retired US Army types (Zinni is the exception and well he may have a few of his own personal reasons). And of the ones I can recall speaking out certainly weren’t Special Forces types.

Now I hope that this gives you a little more insight into what has been going on. If Ricks was a little more forthcoming in his descriptions of the politics ... which I can’t believe he is unaware of ... then maybe we could make a more measured opinion of the criticism being lashed out at Rummy and Bush.

Disclosure time: I am a former Marine, member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and a believer in the GWOT since 1983. Lebanon and Hezbollah … bring back any memories?

I'm glad to have this perspective as well. But the overwhelming weight of the military criticism of Rumsfeld — and the private criticism is far more voluminous and vituperative than the public stuff — is simply that this war has been run incompetently, with contempt for military expertise and without any rational relationship between paltry means and grandiose ends. We also have the evidence in Iraq on the ground: "fiasco' is the only term that sums it up. Yes, there are other agendas here: the army against Rumsfeld, the CIA against Cheney, and so on. But there are also the results. They speak for themselves.