Alternet: Uber-decorated Major General John R.S. Batiste, who retired last year "on principle," delivers a bruising point by point indictment of Sect. of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld-- [Donald Rumsfeld] violated fundamental principles of war... set the conditions for Abu Ghraib and other atrocities that further ignited the insurgency...
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Batiste: The work to remove Saddam Hussein and his regime was a challenge, but it pales in comparison to the hard work required to build the peace. The detailed deliberate planning to finish the job in Iraq was not considered as Secretary Rumsfeld forbade military planners from developing plans for securing a post-war Iraq. At one point, he threatened to fire the next person who talked about the need for a post-war plan. Our country and incredible military were not set up for success.
Our country has yet to mobilize for a protracted, long war. I believe
that Secretary Rumsfeld and others in the Administration did not tell the
American people the truth for fear of losing support for the war in Iraq.
Secretary Rumsfeld failed to address the full range of requirements for
this effort, and the result is one percent of the population shouldering
the burdens, continued hemorrhaging of our national treasure in terms of
blood and dollars, an Army and Marine Corps that will require tens of
billions of dollars to reset after we withdraw from Iraq, the majority of
our National Guard brigades no longer combat-ready, a Veterans
Administration which is underfunded by over $3 billion, and America
arguably less safe now than it was on September 11, 2001.
If we had seriously laid out and considered the full range of requirements for the
war in Iraq, we would likely have taken a different course of action that
would have maintained a clear focus on our main effort in Afghanistan, not
fueled Islamic fundamentalism across the globe, and not created more
enemies than there were insurgents.
What do we do now? We are where we are, plagued by the mistakes of the
past. Thankfully, we are Americans and with the right leadership, we can
do anything. First, the American people need to take charge through their
elected officials. Secretary Rumsfeld and the Administration are fighting
a war in secret that threatens our democratic values. This needs to stop
right now, today.
Second, we must replace Secretary Rumsfeld and his entire inner circle. We deserve leaders whose judgment and instinct we
can all trust.
Third, we must mobilize our country for a protracted challenge, which must include conveying the "what, why, and how long" to
every American, rationing to finance the totality of what we are doing, and gearing up our industrial base in a serious manner. Mortgaging our
future at the rate of $1.5 billion a week and financing our great Army and Marine Corps with supplemental legislation must stop. Americans will
rally behind this important cause when the rationale is properly laid out.
Fourth, we must rethink our Iraq strategy. "More of the same" is not a
strategy, nor is it working. This new strategy must include serious
consideration of federalizing the country, other forms of Iraqi national
conscription and incentives to modify behavior, and a clear focus on
training and equipping the Iraqi security forces as "America's main
Fifth, we must fix our inter-agency process to completely engage
and synchronize all elements of America's national power. Unity of effort
is fundamental and we need one person in charge in Iraq who pulls the
levers with all U.S. Government agencies responding with 110 percent
Finally, we need to get serious about mending our relationships
with allies and getting closer to our friends and enemies. America can
not go this alone. All of this is possible, but we need leadership and
responsible Congressional oversight to pull this off.
I challenge the American people to get informed and speak out. Remember
that the Congress represents and works for the people. Congressional
oversight committees have been strangely silent for too long, and our
elected officials must step up to their responsibilities or be replaced.
This is not about partisan politics, but rather what is good for our
Our November elections are crucial. Every American needs to
understand the issues and cast his or her vote. I believe that one needs
to vote for the candidate who understands the issues and who has the moral
courage to do the harder right rather than the easier wrong. I for one
will continue to speak out until there is accountability, until the
American people establish momentum, and until our Congressional oversight
committees kick into action. Victory in Iraq is fundamental and we cannot
move forward until accountability is achieved. Thank you