Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Iraq: Nine Stars and You Ought to Be Out

Add a three-star general to the galaxy of former high-ranking officers who say it is time for Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to go.

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold, who was the U.S. military's top operations officer before the invasion of Iraq, called for Rumsfeld's ouster and expressed regret in a Time magazine essay that he did not more energetically question those who had ordered the nation to war. He also urged active-duty officers to speak out if they have doubts about the war.

Newbold wrote that

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. . . . The decision to invade Iraq 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.

While Newbold said he did not accept the rationale for invading Iraq, he wrote that a hasty withdrawal would be a mistake because it would tell the nation's adversaries that America can be defeated and thus increase the chances of future conflicts.

Two other retired generals -- Gen. Anthony Zinni and Maj. Gen. Pauld D. Eaton -- also have said that Rumseld should be fired.


Colin Powell, President Bush's first secretary of state, has added his voice to the growing chorus of generals and prominent neoconservatives questioning the Rumsfeld's decisions.

Powell, speaking over the weekend at an educators conference, said bluntly that missteps were made during the war that led to the current level of the insurgency:

We didn't have enough troops on the ground. We didn't impose our will. And as a result, an insurgency got started, and . . . it got out of control.
The New York Sun has more here.

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