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Monday, April 10, 2006

A Must Read

Please take the time to check out this "must read" op-ed from retired Marine Lieut. General Greg Newbold, a former Marine Corps lieutenant general and director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Newbold joins the growing list of heavy military dudes who are "sounding off against the war and the 'zealots' who pushed it."

Key excerpts from Time mag:
What we are living with now is the consequences of successive policy failures. Some of the missteps include:

The distortion of intelligence in the buildup to the war;

McNamara-like micromanagement that kept our forces from having enough resources to do the job,

The failure to retain and reconstitute the Iraqi military in time to help quell civil disorder;

The initial denial that an insurgency was the heart of the opposition to occupation;

Alienation of allies who could have helped in a more robust way to rebuild Iraq;

And the continuing failure of the other agencies of our government to commit assets to the same degree as the Defense Department.

My sincere view is that the commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions—or bury the results.
Newbold is calling on cooler heads in the military to speak up if and when they see continued "missteps and misjudgements."

He adds:
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.
Again, please read the whole piece.
To be sure, the Bush Administration and senior military officials are not alone in their culpability.

Members of Congressfrom both parties—defaulted in fulfilling their constitutional responsibility for oversight.

Many in the media saw the warning signs and heard cautionary tales before the invasion from wise observers like former Central Command chiefs Joe Hoar and Tony Zinni but gave insufficient weight to their views.
More later...


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