"[T]he Commander-in-Chief seems to have gone AWOL"
Let me put forth, for your consideration and discussion, some items I have found online over the last week or two.
We start with Mr. Bush, who denied needed support for our troops, saying:
"[M]embers of the House and the Senate passed a bill that substitutes the opinions of politicians for the judgment of our military commanders."
During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, US Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinskei told Congress that "something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers" would be needed to occupy Iraq.
Oddly enough, even though Gen. Shinseki had experience running an occupying army from his stint as Commander, NATO Stabilization Force in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the opinions of civilians Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Bush trumped his professional judgement, and his authority was immediately undercut in a very public way for having the audacity to challenge our boy-king.
But we are used to this now. The pronouncements from the White House are designed for their ability to inflict Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt upon us (aka, We, the People). The truth is, at best, secondary to the Bush administration.
In contrast, consider the comments of Lt. Gen. William Odom, US Army (ret), former Director of the National Security Agency and former Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, the Army’s senior intelligence officer, who gave the Democratic response to Mr. Bush's sales pitch.
I am not now nor have I ever been a Democrat or a Republican. Thus, I do not speak for the Democratic Party. I speak for myself, as a non-partisan retired military officer who is a former Director of the National Security Agency. I do so because Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, asked me.
In principle, I do not favor Congressional involvement in the execution of U.S. foreign and military policy. I have seen its perverse effects in many cases. The conflict in Iraq is different. Over the past couple of years, the President has let it proceed on automatic pilot, making no corrections in the face of accumulating evidence that his strategy is failing and cannot be rescued.
Thus, he lets the United States fly further and further into trouble, squandering its influence, money, and blood, facilitating the gains of our enemies. The Congress is the only mechanism we have to fill this vacuum in command judgment.
To put this in a simple army metaphor, the Commander-in-Chief seems to have gone AWOL, that is ‘absent without leave.’ He neither acts nor talks as though he is in charge. Rather, he engages in tit-for-tat games.
Or, consider this article by Army Lt. Col. Paul Yingling (He is the deputy commander, 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment. He has served two tours in Iraq, another in Bosnia and a fourth in Operation Desert Storm. He holds a master's degree in political science from the University of Chicago.) Yingling faults our generals for not standing up to Bush and his bullying.
Your comments on these links are appreciated!
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