General calling on other officers to speak out
by Sharon Jumper
Mon Apr 10, 2006 at 07:16:22 AM PDT
Yet another military leader is coming out and publicly upbraiding Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et.al. Lt Gen Gregory Newbold was the Director of Operations at the Pentagon. He retired in December 2002, four months before the invasion of Iraq.
In a lengthy piece in Time, Newbold explains why he is coming forward and regrets that he had not voiced his concerns to the public earlier:
After 9/11, I was a witness and therefore a party to the actions that led us to the invasion of Iraq--an unnecessary war. Inside the military family, I made no secret of my view that the zealots' rationale for war made no sense. And I think I was outspoken enough to make those senior to me uncomfortable. But I now regret that I did not more openly challenge those who were determined to invade a country whose actions were peripheral to the real threat--al-Qaeda. I retired from the military four months before the invasion, in part because of my opposition to those who had used 9/11's tragedy to hijack our security policy. Until now, I have resisted speaking out in public. I've been silent long enough.
* Sharon Jumper's diary :: ::
Newbold explains what he views as an officers' duty:
In 1971, the rock group The Who released the antiwar anthem Won't Get Fooled Again. To most in my generation, the song conveyed a sense of betrayal by the nation's leaders, who had led our country into a costly and unnecessary war in Vietnam. To those of us who were truly counterculture--who became career members of the military during those rough times--the song conveyed a very different message. To us, its lyrics evoked a feeling that we must never again stand by quietly while those ignorant of and casual about war lead us into another one and then mismanage the conduct of it. Never again, we thought, would our military's senior leaders remain silent as American troops were marched off to an ill-considered engagement. It's 35 years later, and the judgment is in: the Who had it wrong. We have been fooled again...
...I offer a challenge to those still in uniform: a leader's responsibility is to give voice to those who can't--or don't have the opportunity to--speak. Enlisted members of the armed forces swear their oath to those appointed over them; an officer swears an oath not to a person but to the Constitution. The distinction is important...
He also takes a slap at Condoleeza Rice:
...our country has never been served by a more competent and professional military. For that reason, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's recent statement that "we" made the "right strategic decisions" but made thousands of "tactical errors" is an outrage. It reflects an effort to obscure gross errors in strategy by shifting the blame for failure to those who have been resolute in fighting. The truth is, our forces are successful in spite of the strategic guidance they receive, not because of it...
He also chastises military leaders who acquiesqued in the Iraq invasion:
Flaws in our civilians are one thing; the failure of the Pentagon's military leaders is quite another. Those are men who know the hard consequences of war but, with few exceptions, acted timidly when their voices urgently needed to be heard. When they knew the plan was flawed, saw intelligence distorted to justify a rationale for war, or witnessed arrogant micromanagement that at times crippled the military's effectiveness, many leaders who wore the uniform chose inaction. A few of the most senior officers actually supported the logic for war. Others were simply intimidated, while still others must have believed that the principle of obedience does not allow for respectful dissent. The consequence of the military's quiescence was that a fundamentally flawed plan was executed for an invented war, while pursuing the real enemy, al-Qaeda, became a secondary effort.
And he blames Congress and the media, too:
Members of Congress--from both parties--defaulted in fulfilling their constitutional responsibility for oversight.
Newbold calls for the removal of Rumsfeld and that military leaders take steps to "discard caution in expressing their views and ensure that the President hears them clearly."
Newbold's faith in the President is unwarranted, in my opinion. I don't think Bush gives a damned about what the military leaders think. To him, the military are just little plastic pieces on a Risk board. Bush gives broad policy directives (Fuck Saddam! Take him out!) and then lets Cheney and Rumsfeld roll the dice...people die, but as long as "we're" killing more of "them," everything is ok.
I give a small kudo to Newbold for finally saying something in public about his disgreement with Bush. It seems like he may be trying to do penance by encouraging others to speak out, perhaps to prevent ANOTHER war from happening. Early in the piece, he referredto the song by The Who, "We won't be fooled again" - he also closed 3 page op-ed with the simple words, "We won't be fooled again." It sounds to me like this could be part of the recent coordinated leaks about Iran war plans by military officers.
Tags: Iraq, Lt Gen Gregory Newbold, military, Pentagon, Rumsfeld, Recommended (all tags)