Saturday, November 04, 2006

"THE MILITARY HAS SPOKEN. THEY HAVE MADE THEIR DEMAND." Special post for Saturday, November 4, 2006 Daily Kos: EXPLOSIVE ARMY, AIR FORCE, AND NAVY TIMES EDITORIAL The choice is now clear. Republican candidates for Congress and the Senate can either stand with our troops, or they can stand with Bush. The two are no longer compatible. Monday, an incredible rare joint editorial will run in the Army Times, the Air Force Times, and the Navy Times:
Time for Rumsfeld to go "So long as our government requires the backing of an aroused and informed public opinion ... it is necessary to tell the hard bruising truth." That statement was written by Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Marguerite Higgins more than a half-century ago during the Korean War. But until recently, the "hard bruising" truth about the Iraq war has been difficult to come by from leaders in Washington. One rosy reassurance after another has been handed down by President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: "mission accomplished," the insurgency is "in its last throes," and "back off," we know what we're doing, are a few choice examples. Military leaders generally toed the line, although a few retired generals eventually spoke out from the safety of the sidelines, inciting criticism equally from anti-war types, who thought they should have spoken out while still in uniform, and pro-war foes, who thought the generals should have kept their critiques behind closed doors. Now, however, a new chorus of criticism is beginning to resonate. Active-duty military leaders are starting to voice misgivings about the war's planning, execution and dimming prospects for success. Army Gen. John Abizaid, chief of U.S. Central Command, told a Senate Armed Services Committee in September: "I believe that the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I've seen it ... and that if not stopped, it is possible that Iraq could move towards civil war." Last week, someone leaked to The New York Times a Central Command briefing slide showing an assessment that the civil conflict in Iraq now borders on "critical" and has been sliding toward "chaos" for most of the past year. The strategy in Iraq has been to train an Iraqi army and police force that could gradually take over for U.S. troops in providing for the security of their new government and their nation. But despite the best efforts of American trainers, the problem of molding a viciously sectarian population into anything resembling a force for national unity has become a losing proposition. For two years, American sergeants, captains and majors training the Iraqis have told their bosses that Iraqi troops have no sense of national identity, are only in it for the money, don't show up for duty and cannot sustain themselves. Meanwhile, colonels and generals have asked their bosses for more troops. Service chiefs have asked for more money. And all along, Rumsfeld has assured us that things are well in hand. Now, the president says he'll stick with Rumsfeld for the balance of his term in the White House. This is a mistake. It is one thing for the majority of Americans to think Rumsfeld has failed. But when the nation's current military leaders start to break publicly with their defense secretary, then it is clear that he is losing control of the institution he ostensibly leads. These officers have been loyal public promoters of a war policy many privately feared would fail. They have kept their counsel private, adhering to more than two centuries of American tradition of subordination of the military to civilian authority. And although that tradition, and the officers' deep sense of honor, prevent them from saying this publicly, more and more of them believe it. Rumsfeld has lost credibility with the uniformed leadership, with the troops, with Congress and with the public at large. His strategy has failed, and his ability to lead is compromised. And although the blame for our failures in Iraq rests with the secretary, it will be the troops who bear its brunt. This is not about the midterm elections. Regardless of which party wins Nov. 7, the time has come, Mr. President, to face the hard bruising truth: Donald Rumsfeld must go.
link [below are some excerpts of comments posted in this Daily Kos thread -- zig]
two clicks from revolt? The traditional mechanism by which the US military influences policy at the grassroots level is via personal contact with loved ones. Active duty can't just stand up and say "this regime sucks!," they have to say it in quieter tones to their loved ones, who in turn stand up and speak out on their behalf, loud & clear and in no uncertain terms. This editorial is a huge break from that tradition. It strikes me that this is absolutely extraordinary: publications that are the de-facto voice of active duty, are effectively saying "this far and no further." It is almost as if we are two steps from military revolt. The next step would be for officers to resign their commissions. After that the next step would be outright disobedience of orders. Strictly speaking that's mutiny. And from there, revolt is just a matter of degree rather than kind. (...) it would appear that, with a Democratic House and possibly Senate, and with the revolt of the neocons themselves (see this month's Vanity Fair article), and the retired officers, and now the active duty forces, the entire national consensus is turning against the Administration. I can't imagine how they could resist a tsunami of that magnitude and have any hope of prevailing. by G2geek on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 10:36:06 PM PST (...) This is "de facto" civil disobediance Correct. In context, this is a brave act of civil disopbediance, about as far as active military can go witout resigning or refusing orders that could lead to courts martial. This is "desperate times call for desperate measures". I personally doubt this would have neen issued without the support of some influncial active duty officers, and take it as a last ditch attempt to register protest and force the WH to deal with an unbearable situation.(...) Really, friends, this is a brave and historical act. by koNko on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 11:15:47 PM PST (...) this history books will mark this... As the moment sanity began to flow back into the halls of power. To publish this kind of scathing critique in all four US Military Times magazines, on the eve of the most important election in modern American history, will go down as the boldest statement our military has ever made. Make no mistake - this is as close to a coup as we have ever seen in this nation. The military has seen enough, and it is obvious that they will not allow our fuck-up of a President to take this country any further along the path toward destruction. In that editorial I see not just a repudiation of Rumsfeld, but of the entire war. The entire foreign policy. Read between the lines, friends, and you'll see that our armed forces have drawn a line in the sane. A line between sanity and insanity. Between truth and lies. Between what duty requires and what loyalty to this country will not allow. The war is OVER. Our military commanders are refusing to follow Bush over a cliff, and they have put their foot down in order to stop this train wreck. Read their words closely - for we can all rest assured that each and every one was chosen very, VERY carefully. The message is clear in this passage:
Meanwhile, colonels and generals have asked their bosses for more troops. Service chiefs have asked for more money. And all along, Rumsfeld has assured us that things are well in hand.
They're telling us that the Administration has lied to us the whole time about EVERYTHING. And the Generals will not tolerate it any longer. They will not remain silent while more of our nation's finest die for a lost cause - for a failed policy - for a doomed war effort. The military has spoken. They have made their demand. I would not want to be George W. Bush on a good day. And I certainly would not want to be him for the next four days. And yet I have confidence. This is the best news of the election cycle, as far as I'm concerned. I am certain, my fellow Americans, that our generals agreed on a plan for what to do if Bush refuses their demand long before this editorial was written. It give sme comfort to know that someone with our best interests in mind is now in control. I never thought I'd see the day - not in this country. God help us all if Bush refuses. By Richard Carlucci on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 09:24:25 PM PST
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Why do the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines hate our troops?" -- comment by nicejoest on Fri Nov 03, 2006 at 09:13:40 PM PST on the above Daily Kos thread -- via It's Time for a Change" in Steve Gilliard's The News Blog; photo by João Silva for The New York Times [I think this deserves a special post; I'll publish the regular one later - zig]


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