Saturday, June 21, 2008

Bush Report: A Soldier's Story

While waiting to get my hands on Scott McClellan's confessional about the lies he told as Bush's press secretary, I have been reading accounts of other administration insiders who have gone public about the Bush screw-ups. This is from the preface to Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez's book, Wiser in Battle: A Soldier's Story:
"From June 14, 2003 to July 1, 2004, the period immediately following major combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom, I was the commander of coalition forces, responsible for all military activity in the Iraq theater of war. I was there when Saddam Hussein was captured. I was there when the prisoner abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib occurred. And I was there when low-level enemy resistance expanded into a massive insurgency that eventually led to full-scale civil war.

"During that first year of our nation's occupation of Iraq, I observed intrusive civilian command of the military, rather than the civilian control embodied in the Constitution. I saw the cynical use of war for political gains by elected officials and acquiescent military leaders. I learned how the pressure of a round-the-clock news cycle could drive crucial decisions. I witnessed those resulting political decisions override military requirements and judgments and, in turn, create conditions that caused unnecessary harm to our soldiers on the ground.

"When I became a soldier, I was a nonpartisan, nonpolitical individual who believed in the constraints of civilian control of the military. I also understood that, while on active duty, the Universal Code of Military Justice precluded me from speaking out against me superiors while in uniform. If I valued my oath -- and I did -- I had to comply. Since leaving the service, however, I have been encouraged by both civilians and retired four-star military officers to write about my life, my career, and what really happened on the ground in Iraq. I believe now is the right time.

"Over the fourteen months of my command in Iraq, I witnessed a blatant disregard for the lives of our young soldiers in uniform. It is an issue that constantly eats away at me. During that time, 813 American soldiers lost their lives, and more than 7,000 were wounded. I cannot do, say or write anything that would dishonor them. But to not set the record straight would, I believe, dishonor the legacy of their service.

This is from pages 146-150"

"By the spring of 2002, the Pentagon, working with CENTCOM, the lead military element commanded by General Franks, had dusted off contingency war plans and began preparing for an invasion of Iraq. . . . However, the CENTCOM orders changed frequently -- usually on a weekly basis. It turned out that Rumsfeld was micromanaging his generals on issues such as how military forces would flow into Iraq, including their size and composition. Previously, these matters had been the responsibility of the senior warfighting commander. But the Secretary and his staff got so involved, and were so intrusive in the planning stages, that they ended up completely disrupting the process. Constant changes were made to the operation's plans of the warfighting forces. The most devasting impact of Rumsfeld's micromanagement was that warfighting commanders, all the way down to the division level, was never able to plan beyond the basic mission of defeating Saddam Hussein's military. . . . Each time our orders changed, we had to stop our planning efforts, rethink, regroup, and then readjust our training programs. The constant changes drained our staff's energy and negatively impacted our mission-specific training regimen.

"The Secretary of Defense was, in effect, involved in the operational decisions of the combatant commander. In my mind, Donald Rumsfeld had changed the doctrine of civilian control of the military to civilian command of the military (when to go to war, for what purpose, and how to wage the war. That was a very dangerous thing to do, because our national leadership does not have the expertise, judgment, intuition, or staff capacity to make informed decisions or recommendations on the detailed application of military forces."

What I don't understand how Bush still gets an approval rating of 25 percent of the American people. Who are these idiots? Don't they care what he has done to the country?


PG said...

It's not too late to demand impeachment.

rdl said...

idiots that can't read evidently; but then maybe that's the attraction/affiniy.
ah.. impeachment - would be heavenly.

Crockhead said...

Impeachment didn't work out so well for the Republicans who tried it on Bill Clinton. No, I think we just have to hunker down and wait it out until next January. But it will get ugly; Bush and his cohorts will not give up power willingly.

PG said...

I'm enthused about Obama, too, but the system is probably too far gone for anyone to make a difference. Chris Hedges is even more pessimistic than I am: