uploaded : Saturday 1st Feb 2003 at 00:52
by : Mark Karlin
(Photograph: Secretary of Defence Donald H Rumsfeld and General Tommy Franks)
There he is, our macho Secretary of Defense trash talking the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to a Washington Times story
He's piling it on now. Just a short time ago, he trash talked soldiers who had, in the past, been drafted into the military, implying that they were an inferior kind of cannon fodder. Then, Rumsfeld, following the Bush Cartel "My Way or the Highway -- I Am Never Wrong" credo, issued a non-apology apology. Like Trent Lott, he was sorry if people "misinterpreted" his remarks. In short, he wasn't sorry about what he said about draftees. If you fought for your country in the rice paddies of Vietnam and misunderstood Rummy, it's your problem.
In the intervening time between the draftee insult and the leaked memo about his disparagement of the highest commanders in our military, Rummy had a good time insulting and angering our allies, France and Germany. Rummy, in a patronizing outburst of smug bravado, called them "the old Europe." Rummy has got it in for just about everybody these days. Let's see, in two weeks, he's managed to insult and anger men who fought for America in Vietnam and other wars (unlike Bush and Cheney who ran yellow from fighting in Vietnam), impugn the capabilities of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and tick off the two largest nations in Europe. That's quite an accomplishment, even for the oversized brazen egos of the Bush Cartel. I mean, Clinton would have been ousted from office for any of these three statements, but our Little Caesar, Bush, has full confidence in his Rummy.
As far as his running down of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which some might call treason given our "war footing," Rumsfeld is following a stance laid out by one Eliot Cohen, a key military policy advisor to the Bush administration (and professor at Johns Hopkins). In a Washington Post commentary last year, Cohen argued that military leaders should take a back seat to the president when it comes to determining the feasibility of war. So even though the Joint Chiefs of Staff have second thoughts about our ability to successfully win in Iraq without great loss of life -- and no doubt don't relish a post-victory role in occupying the nation, a man who wasn't even elected to the White House and let others die in Vietnam in his place should overrule the military judgment of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Got it?
Yes the men with military fighting experience have a different perspective than the Bush Cartel honchos who never fought in a war. As a recent online publication (by no means liberal) noted :
'Senior Pentagon officials are quietly urging President George W. Bush to slow down his headlong rush to war with Iraq, complaining the administration?s course of action represents too much of a shift of America?s longstanding "no first strike" policy and that the move could well result in conflicts with other Arab nations.
"We have a dangerous role reversal here," one Pentagon source tells Capitol Hill Blue. "The civilians are urging war and the uniformed officers are urging caution."
'Capitol Hill Blue has learned the Joint Chiefs of Staff are split over plans to invade Iraq in the coming weeks. They have asked Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to urge Bush to back down from his hard line stance until United Nations weapons inspectors can finish their jobs and the U.S. can build a stronger coalition in the Middle East.
"This is not Desert Storm," one of the Joint Chiefs is reported to have told Rumsfeld "We don?t have the backing of other Middle Eastern nations. We don?t have the backing of any of our allies except Britain and we?re advocating a policy that says we will invade another nation that is not currently attacking us or invading any of our allies."
'Intelligence sources say some Arab nations have told US diplomats they may side with Iraq if the U.S. attacks without the backing of the United Nations. Secretary of State Colin Powell agrees with his former colleagues at the Pentagon and has told the President he may be pursuing a "dangerous course."
An angry Rumsfeld, who backs Bush without question, is said to have told the Joint Chiefs to get in line or find other jobs. Bush is also said to be "extremely angry" at what he perceives as growing Pentagon opposition to his role as Commander in Chief.
"The President considers this nation to be at war," a White House source says," and, as such, considers any opposition to his policies to be no less than an act of treason." '
In short, Bush is showing disrespect for the Joint Chiefs, and accusing anyone, even the Joint Chiefs, who don't agree with him of treason. But this is the real treason, that a president appointed by a 5-4 vote can accuse anyone, even the Joint Chiefs of Staff, of disloyalty to America because they question Little Caesar's judgment. Republicans and Democrats who see the reality of the world's greatest democracy being headed for a train wreck -- and remain silent -- do a disservice to the men and women who founded this great nation.
As BuzzFlash has said over and over again, self-preservation is the most basic instinct of human beings. We disagree with this administration -- drunk on its own power since January 20, 2001 -- on its strategy of how to fight terrorism. We agree that terrorism is a threat. It's precisely because we value our lives and the lives of our families that we have a right, a patriotic duty, to speak out against a rash, narrow minded, ego-driven foreign policy, crafted from the Dr. Strangelove movie. BuzzFlash wants to fight terrorism and win, but that takes strategy and diplomacy combined with brawn, not just the raw exercise of power that is likely to result in more, not less, terrorism.
But if the Bush Carrel asks us to trust them in their plans to obliterate Iraq and seize their oil fields, shouldn't that trust be based on accomplishment? Shouldn't such trust be based on an administration that upholds the tenets of democracy in deed and not just in word? Shouldn't such trust be based on finding who perpetrated an act of anthrax terrorism against the American people? Shouldn't such trust be based on Bush following through successfully on his boast that he would get Osama bin Laden dead or alive?
Shouldn't such trust be based on an administration that is reducing opium production in Afghanistan rather than allowing it to thrive in order not to upset the war lords that continue to rule the nation? Shouldn't such trust be based on an administration that respects the Joint Chiefs of Staff instead of dismissing their advice on the feasibility of war? Shouldn't such trust be based on an administration led by people that fought in wars instead of people that supported a war and then let other young men die in their place?
Shouldn't such trust be based on an administration that doesn't use scare tactics and phony terror alerts to create a state of fear that paralyzes judgment among American citizens? Shouldn't such trust be based on an administration that accepts responsibilities for its actions instead of blaming the prior administration for every ill to become this country? Shouldn't such trust be based on a true desire to investigate the events leading up to September 11th?
Shouldn't such trust be based on a foreign policy that doesn't plan to attack one country that denies it has nuclear weapons (and for which no proof has been found of such weapons), while peacefully resolving a crisis with another country that boasts it will be building nuclear weapons?
Shouldn't such trust be based on an administration that is pursuing a foreign policy that one commentator noted, "should be making more friends and fewer terrorists, but, instead, is embarked on a policy that is resulting in fewer friends and more terrorists." Shouldn't such trust be based on having a Secretary of Defense who was not the key liaison in allowing Iraq to develop weapons of mass destruction in the 1980's? Shouldn't such trust be based on having a gun policy that doesn't allow terrorists to come to America because they can buy any gun they want here -- including .50 caliber sniper rifles that can shoot down airplanes -- as a result of the NRA's influence on this administration?
Shouldn't such trust be based on having an endgame plan to an invasion of Iraq, not making our soldiers vulnerable to terrorists during an occupation of that large nation? As conservative Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman noted in his January 26th column (See:
'In the first place, we may have to cope with uprisings and bloodlettings among groups that have been oppressed by the central government and would like to escape its control. In the second place, our efforts to keep peace and order could provoke some Iraqis to turn their fury on us -- in a repeat of Somalia.
'If we launch the war over the objections of our friends, we may find none of them eager to put boots on the ground to help with reconstruction. So we could end up with 100,000 American soldiers pinned down indefinitely, undertaking the type of nation-building that Bush used to reject.
'But nation-building may be the least of our burdens. A large force of U.S. soldiers and civilians stationed in the Middle East will furnish the equivalent of an all-you-can-eat buffet for Osama bin Laden. (Remember him?) Postwar Iraq promises to be a magnet for Al Qaeda operatives eager to resume the fight against America. If we can't prevent terrorist attacks in places like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, imagine what we can expect in Iraq.
'Making the problem worse is that the Middle East has a lot of terrorist organizations that have been preoccupied with Israel in the past, but may decide to use this opportunity to bloody its chief ally. Factions of groups like Hamas and Hezbollah may begin targeting Americans with a vengeance--and not just in Iraq.
'Some of those groups, in the chaos of postwar Iraq, may get their hands on Saddam Hussein's chemical and biological weapons. Instead of advancing the fight against terror, going into Iraq may only plunge us into a wider conflict, while making us more vulnerable.
'If occupying a country were so easy (for the man in the White House who boasted in election 2000 that he was opposed to nation building), then why don't the Israelis have peace on the West Bank? And how is Bush going to stop suicide bombers from attacking our forces, execute them after the fact? The Middle East is a quagmire that may make Vietnam look like a frat party. And our men and women in the military will pay the price, as will we all.'
When an overbearing, supercilious Secretary of Defense shows contempt for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, it's time for all good men and women in America to stand up for our armed forces and tell the Bush Cartel to stand down. Because, our lives are at stake -- and we have a right to decide how best to protect our lives and the lives of our fellow Americans.
Survival is a basic human instinct, after all.
JewishComment is grateful to Mark Karlin, Editor or Buzzflash.com for this editorial.