Friday, April 25, 2008

Bush's Officers

From the American Progressive Action newsletter comes this report:

Yesterday, President Bush nominated Army General David Petraeus, commander of multinational forces in Iraq (MNF-I), to lead Central Command (Centcom), the post responsible for U.S. military operations stretching from Kazakhstan, through the Middle East, and to the Horn of Africa. Petraeus's number two in Iraq, Lt. Gen Ray Odierno, will take over command of MNF-I, thus elevating the status of the two men "most closely associated with President Bush's current strategy in Iraq." Defense Secretary Robert Gates was asked yesterday if the promotions indicate that the United States will "stay the course" in Iraq. "Staying that course is not a bad idea," Gates said, citing "the security gains that had been achieved under General Petraeus's command." Petraeus replaces Adm. William Fallon, who resigned last month over disagreements with the Bush administration's Iraq-centric strategy for the region. But Petraeus's new position will force him to answer a question he has previously refused to address: Does fighting in Iraq make the United States safer? "The big question of this appointment, therefore, is whether Petraeus's views will change as a result of wider responsibilities."

News reports last night characterized Patraeus as the best choice as the position requires a well seasoned veteran, and he has more experience than anyone else in the military. They went further to say that the position was not suitable for anyone but a top General.

They failed, however, to mention that all the well seasoned Generals left long ago along with a lot of other fine officers of conscience.


Bunnatine ("Bunny") Greenhouse, the top official at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in charge of awarding government contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq, was demoted. For years, Greenhouse received stellar evaluations from superiors -- until she raised objections about secret, no-bid contracts awarded to Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR)

Anthony Zinni: A soldier and diplomat for 40 years, Zinni served from 1997 to 2000 as commander-in-chief of the United States Central Command in the Middle East. The retired Marine Corps general was then called back to service by the Bush administration to assume one of the highest diplomatic posts, special envoy to the Middle East (from November 2002 to March 2003), but his disagreement with Bush's plans to go to war and public comments that foretold of a prolonged and problematical aftermath to such a war led to his ouster. "In the lead up to the Iraq war and its later conduct, I saw at a minimum, true dereliction, negligence and irresponsibility, at worse, lying, incompetence and corruption," said Zinni. Failed to be reappointed, March 2003.

Eric Shinseki: After General Shinseki, the Army's chief of staff, told Congress that the occupation of Iraq could require "several hundred thousand troops," he was derided by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. Then, wrote the Houston Chronicle, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld "took the unusual step of announcing that Gen. Eric Shinseki would be leaving when his term as Army chief of staff end[ed]." Retired, June 2003.
Karen Kwiatkowski: A Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force who served in the Department of Defense's Near East and South Asia (NESA) Bureau in the year before the invasion of Iraq, she wrote in her letter of resignation:
"…[W]hile working from May 2002 through February 2003 in the office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Near East South Asia and Special Plans (USDP/NESA and SP) in the Pentagon, I observed the environment in which decisions about post-war Iraq were made… What I saw was aberrant, pervasive and contrary to good order and discipline. If one is seeking the answers to why peculiar bits of ‘intelligence' found sanctity in a presidential speech, or why the post-Hussein occupation has been distinguished by confusion and false steps, one need look no further than the process inside the Office of the Secretary of Defense."
Retired, July 2003.

Charles "Jack" Pritchard: A retired U.S. Army colonel and a 28-year veteran of the military, the State Department, and the National Security Council, who served as the State Department's senior expert on North Korea and as the special envoy for negotiations with that country, resigned (according to the Los Angeles Times) because the "administration's refusal to engage directly with the country made it almost impossible to stop Pyongyang from going ahead with its plans to build, test and deploy nuclear weapons." Resigned, August 2003.

Major (then Captain) John Carr and Major Robert Preston: Air Force prosecutors, they quit their posts in 2004 rather than take part in trials under the military commission system President Bush created in 2001 which they considered "rigged against alleged terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba." Requested and granted reassignment, 2004.

Captain Carrie Wolf: A U.S. Air Force officer, she also asked to leave the Office of Military Commissions due to concerns that the Bush-created commissions for trying prisoners at Guantanamo Bay were unjust. Requested and granted reassignment, 2004.

Colonel Douglas Macgregor: He retired from the U.S. Army and stated: "I love the army and I was sorry to leave it. But I saw no possibility of fundamentally positive reform and reorgani[z]ation of the force for the current strategic environment or the future… It's a very sycophantic culture. The biggest problem we have inside the… Department of Defense at the senior level, but also within the officer corps -- is that there are no arguments. Arguments are [seen as] a sign of dissent. Dissent equates to disloyalty." Retired, June 2004.

2006 (

The list is impressive. In a New York Times op-ed column, retired Major Gen. Paul Eaton, who helped revive the Iraqi army, described Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as "incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically" and called for his resignation. Retired Lt. Gen. William Odom, former director of the National Security Agency and now a Yale professor, said in a speech covered by the Providence Journal that America's invasion of Iraq might be the worst strategic mistake in American history.

Publicizing his book, "The Battle for Peace," in a recent "Meet the Press" appearance, retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, a four-star former commander of the Central Command, describes administration behavior that ranged from "true dereliction, negligence and irresponsibility" to "lying, incompetence and corruption." Another Marine, retired Lt. Gen. Greg Newbold, has written in Time magazine that the Iraq war was unnecessary. Finally, Lt. Gen. Bernard Trainor and Michael Gordon have written a history of the invasion of Iraq, Cobra II, which describes a willfully self-deluding planning process.

Now, on CNN, Maj. Gen. John Batiste also called for Rumsfeld's resignation; the Washington Post reported that Batiste, commander of the First Infantry Division in Iraq during 2004-2005, turned down a third star and a tour in Iraq as the second-ranking U.S. military officer there. He retired rather than continue to work for Rumsfeld.

2007 (

Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton: “The ethos is: Give your advice to those in a position to make changes, not the media,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, now retired. “But this administration is immune to good advice.”
Eaton has two sons serving in Afghanistan and Iraq; his father, an Air Force pilot, was shot down and killed over Laos in 1969. He said his frustration began festering in 2003, when he was assigned to build the Iraqi army from scratch. His internal requests for more equipment and properly trained instructors went unheeded, he said.
While on active duty, Eaton did not criticize his civilian bosses – almost to a man, the generals agree active-duty officers have no business doing that. But he was candid in media interviews. Building an Iraqi army, he warned, would take years, and the effort might never succeed.

(General Eaton was superior to General Patraeus in 2004 when Patraeus was assigned to replace him Undoubtedly his dissatisfaction was apparent to BushCo even though he was not speaking out publicly at the time because after that his rise through the ranks stopped. He retired in 2006.)

For retired Brig. Gen. John Johns, . . .who retired in 1978, agonized over whether to go public with a paper calling the impending (Iraq) war “one of the great blunders of history.”

He sent it to retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni and to Pete McCloskey, the moderate-Republican former congressman from California who had opposed the Vietnam War. “At that time, they did not want to go public,” Johns said.

General John P. Abizaid retired from his position as head of the U.S. Central Command when he opposed the idea of bringing more troops to Iraq. He characterized the Iraq war as guerilla warfare and wanted to fight it accordingly. This didn’t fit with BushCo’s image of the war, so he had to go. He was succeeded by Admiral William Fallon, the first naval officer ever to serve in the position.

2008 (

Admiral William Fallon resigned after saying that no attack on Iran would happen on his watch, so now General Patraeus is being assigned ot fill his shoes. As a Bush yes-man, he will fit right in and ought to enjoy his power until a savvier president shoves him out.

So there you have it. The glorious record of our self-proclaimed “war president”. His proficiency as a military leader has matched everything else he has done from failing as an oil executive to leading the nation in executions as governor of Texas. Doesn’t it just make you want to stand up and salute?!

I don’t know what Roger Ebert would do, but I’ll give it one finger up.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored.
But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR

The reason for going was to keep the crude flowing and raise a false flag abroad. – from a poem by Jack Evans titled 3500 Souls -

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