It's not just six
It's about them, not generals
Generals are like other people, except with a finely tuned sense of risk assessment. The idea that it's six generals calling for Rumsfeld to quit is comical. Asshats like Powerline and Red State don't know shit about this subject. They know what they are told and little more.
I would hand them all a copy of Anton Meyer's Once an Eagle, and when they finished, they might have a clue. If you want to know how the Army sees itself, read this book. This book was so popular that one officer hunted down out of print copies to hand out to his peers. The demand for the book was so high that it went back in print, and is on the Army's recommended reading list at the General Staff and Command College.
Why? Because it describes two kinds of officers, one, Courtney Massegale, who toadies up to his bosses and cares only about his advancement, and Sam Damon, who cares about his men and is a good leader. This has become shorthand for describing character within the officer corps.
The Ass Clown Media folks think this is cheerleading time, not a crisis. Therefore, they are irrelevant to this discussion. They can attack Swannack all they want, they're free to go skydiving with him anytime. Bet you they would piss their pants first.
I'm now reading Cobra II, the history of the invasion and early occupation of Iraq. The reason the generals want Rumsfeld gone is because he's an ignorant micromanager. At every turn, his ideas have hurt the Army, all to prove his point about his transformation.
Despite liberal fears of the Republican nature of the US officer corps, the reality is that it hardly any different than any other large group of executives. What sets them apart is that to reach general, you have to have at least a masters, and a doctorate doesn't hurt. Which means that they are the most educated group of executives in the US.
And many of them have degrees from Georgetown Foriegn Service, Johns Hopkins, Princeton, Harvard, the same as their peers in State and DOD. So when they talk about policy, it it's from education.
But what they are is apolitical. Most may vote one way or the other, but they don't seek any role in American politics. For generals to attack a sitting SecDef means they think there is a crisis in the military and it will harm its future capabilities. Because speaking out about civilian leadership is something the Army itself doesn't tolerate. Douglas McArthur, Edwin Walker and John Singlaub all lost their jobs by attacking the civilian leadership.
Look, two of the division commanders of the ground war, Swannack and Baptiste, are calling Rumsfeld incompetent and they would know. He would send down micromanaged directions to units in the field. Let me explain something. Command of the Big Red One is prized for a leg infantry officer. You don't give that job to slackers. Command of the 82nd is an indicator of better things to come. These men are totally qualified to comment on Rumsfeld and his issues with the Army.
But like the FEMA plans for refugee camps for our Iraqi auxillaries, this isn't just about Rumsfeld, this is positioning to save the Army when the collapse comes. They're setting up Rummy as the fall guy.
Myers tried to play the "don't talk bad about the boss card", but he's a toady of Bush and he flew fighters. What does he know about ground combat. The generals often have their families fighing, friends of their sons in combat. They, unlike the President, go to funerals, they look the families in the face, they sign the letters.
The right, which doesn't know dick about this, think it's a few generals. It isn't. This is the opinion of the magament class of the Army and Marines, they're just using retirees to make the point that active duty soldiers can't. But this will only get worse. Rumors of resignations are in the air and if that happens, Bush will be forced into a hole. You do not want your generals threatening the civilian staff, but when you have an incompetent SecDef, you can't watch people die and the army being destroyed.
But what isn't said is this: they have lost confidence in Bush as well. Rummy is just the acceptable whipping boy.
This isn't clear cut. Civilian control of the military isn't just a principle of government, but of military service. The military defends it more than some civilians would. For generals to basically call the civilian leadership incompetent is a major step for many of them.
Any time the right tries to isolate the argument, make the following point: do you think the most educated management class in American society can't gather opinions and form a consensus? This isn't just six people, only six people who can speak.
posted by Steve @ 12:08:00 AM