|April 16, 2006||EDITORIAL ARCHIVES|
What We Have Going on Amidst the Generals -- Present and Former -- is a Mutiny. It's Not An Armed One, Not Yet.
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
What we have going on amidst the generals, present and former, is a mutiny. It's not an armed one, not yet.
When most Americans think of a mutiny, they think of armed crew members seizing the captain and taking over command of a ship, as in the famed "Mutiny on the Bounty."
But, what we are seeing in the United States is a public rebuke of the commander-in-chief, his vice president and his secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, without an active military revolt as of yet -- although that can't be ruled out.
As Richard Holbrooke, a former ambassador to the United Nations, points out in a Washington Post commentary, "it is also clear that the target is not just Rumsfeld. Newbold hints at this; others are more explicit in private. But the only two people in the government higher than the secretary of defense are the president and vice president. They cannot be fired, of course, and the unspoken military code normally precludes direct public attacks on the commander in chief when troops are under fire."
In short, Rumsfeld is the civilian with command oversight who is responsible for the abysmal failures in the Middle East, but he serves at the pleasure of the president -- he reminds us -- and the vice president. They are three peas in a pod.
That the mutiny will expand appears likely. As BuzzFlash has asserted since John Murtha -- the blunt Democratic "hawk" -- first made his emphatic denouncement of the management of the Iraq War, Murtha is speaking for the active career brass whom he knows well. They are silenced by the military code that requires public loyalty to the commander-in-chief, but Murtha, it is clear, is the spokesperson of many top Pentagon staff given the military gag order. Remember, he is a diehard Pentagon Democrat.
So, the revolt of the retired generals is likely just the tip of the iceberg.
What is occurring, on such a massive scale -- as BuzzFlash has said -- is without precedent. It is a vote of no confidence in the civilian military leadership by the military itself. It is a cry from those who have been career soldiers that the Bush Administration, through Rumsfeld, are ruining the armed forces and leading us into defeat into the Middle East. It is a stunning development -- and the significance of the call for Rumsfeld's resignation and change of course going unheeded cannot be overestimated.
In short, if Bush continues to refuse to fire Rumsfeld and personally change course, including asking Cheney to step down, then our military will continue to decline, our soldiers will continue to be killed, and our nation's national security will continue to be at risk. On top of that, Bush would have to bring in a top-notch national security cabinet with professional skills -- instead of loyalist flunkies -- and let them run the show. Because Bush is at the epicenter of the problem himself. (He is after-all the commander-in-chief.)
In the short term, as Holbrooke notes, Bush will continue to back Rumsfeld.
BuzzFlash attributes this to a number of things: Bush prefers incompetent loyalists over intelligent self-starters; Bush thinks that he is inspired by God, accountable only to himself, and that no one's else's opinion counts; Bush will never admit that he's made a mistake and chronically mistakes failure for success; Bush has no idea what to do without Rumsfeld, even if Rumsfeld is doing destructive things; Bush, a man who was never in combat, thinks that he knows better than the military leaders; Bush won't cut Rumsfeld loose at a time that they already have begun secret support of guerilla combat activities against the Iranian government; and, among other reasons, Bush is always afraid that if he fires an inept loyalist, the loyalist may become disgruntled and write a "tell all" book that will reveal the dirt on Bush's personal complicity and illegal behavior.
So, in the short term, the White House will issue Karl Rove-written statements of support for Rumsfeld.
But meanwhile our military is deteriorating, our national security is at continued risk, and the Middle East is a tinderbox -- as no end appears in sight for the quagmire created by Rumsfeld and the White House.
The former and current generals -- through John Murtha -- are signaling to the American people that our nation's military and our national security are endangered by the continued presence of Donald Rumsfeld in the Pentagon and the current military/foreign policy of the White House.
Can we afford to remain silent?
The lives of our soldiers and are our lives are at stake.
Will we abandon our generals who are trying to save the American military and us?
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL