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April 17, 2006

Revolt Of The Generals Is Mostly... Well, Revolting

The more this little tempest in a teapot unwinds, the more obvious it seems that the current angst over retired generals speaking their minds is just another round of stirring up water under the bridge. And to what end? That's an interesting question - and one nobody seems to be much interested in examining.

First of all, I have no use for anyone who suggests retired military officers can't exercise their First Amendment rights. One may well argue they have not only the right, but the duty to speak up. That said, I have also remarked many times that because we possess the right to do a thing does not automatically make it the right thing to do.

Upon reading General Newbold's essay in Time Magazine last week, I wished he had engaged his brain before opening his mouth. Your mileage, of course, may differ.

In 1971, the rock group The Who released the antiwar anthem Won't Get Fooled Again. To most in my generation, the song conveyed a sense of betrayal by the nation's leaders, who had led our country into a costly and unnecessary war in Vietnam. To those of us who were truly counterculture--who became career members of the military during those rough times--the song conveyed a very different message. To us, its lyrics evoked a feeling that we must never again stand by quietly while those ignorant of and casual about war lead us into another one and then mismanage the conduct of it. Never again, we thought, would our military's senior leaders remain silent as American troops were marched off to an ill-considered engagement. It's 35 years later, and the judgment is in: the Who had it wrong. We have been fooled again.

From 2000 until October 2002, I was a Marine Corps lieutenant general and director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. After 9/11, I was a witness and therefore a party to the actions that led us to the invasion of Iraq--an unnecessary war. Inside the military family, I made no secret of my view that the zealots' rationale for war made no sense. And I think I was outspoken enough to make those senior to me uncomfortable. But I now regret that I did not more openly challenge those who were determined to invade a country whose actions were peripheral to the real threat--al-Qaeda. I retired from the military four months before the invasion, in part because of my opposition to those who had used 9/11's tragedy to hijack our security policy. Until now, I have resisted speaking out in public. I've been silent long enough.

I am driven to action now by the missteps and misjudgments of the White House and the Pentagon, and by my many painful visits to our military hospitals. In those places, I have been both inspired and shaken by the broken bodies but unbroken spirits of soldiers, Marines and corpsmen returning from this war. The cost of flawed leadership continues to be paid in blood. The willingness of our forces to shoulder such a load should make it a sacred obligation for civilian and military leaders to get our defense policy right. They must be absolutely sure that the commitment is for a cause as honorable as the sacrifice.

Where to start?

Stipulated: Well sir, it would appear you were against the war. Get over it. We are there now, and whatever may have bothered you regarding the wisdom of that decision in retrospect, it's a done deal. The open question now is not, "Was it a good decision?", but "Where do we go now?".

Terming those who disagree with him "zealots" implies a degree of personal animus which casts considerable doubt on the objectivity of the rest of his analysis. It would seem that in General Newbold's considered opinion, a large number of active duty military and their families, not to mention many of the wounded vets he visits in Walter Reed, must also be "zealots"; as they not only believe in our mission but continue to support their commander in chief. Perhaps once he recovers from the glow of basking in the spotlights, he might reconsider his divisive and dismissive rhetoric as not only insulting, but a bit unfair to some very fine and decent people.

Ostensibly at least, General Newbold spoke up with just one end in mind: to secure the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld. He opines later in his essay that it would be a mistake to leave Iraq too quickly:

Before the antiwar banners start to unfurl, however, let me make clear--I am not opposed to war. I would gladly have traded my general's stars for a captain's bars to lead our troops into Afghanistan to destroy the Taliban and al-Qaeda. And while I don't accept the stated rationale for invading Iraq, my view--at the moment--is that a precipitous withdrawal would be a mistake. It would send a signal, heard around the world, that would reinforce the jihadists' message that America can be defeated, and thus increase the chances of future conflicts. If, however, the Iraqis prove unable to govern, and there is open civil war, then I am prepared to change my position.

I'm certainly glad he's keeping his options open in light of future Op-Ed opportunities which may arise. But I cannot help wondering exactly what he thought the practical results of his essay would be? There is an old, old saying: "Fight smarter, not harder". If only he had heeded it.

Having watched the President for five years now, I would love to know what strategic theory caused Mr. Newbold to believe George Bush would fold before a direct frontal assault via the New York Times and Time Magazine? Was this really smart? Would not anyone with three functioning brain cells see this was likely to prove the least persuasive course of action? Or was persuasion really the desired end result?

And if he didn't seriously expect Bush to fold (and one would hope the Marine Corps does not promote fools to the general officer corps) then what legitimate purpose did he hope to serve by going public with a statement that said, in effect:

1. The war was planned and executed by "zealots" in DOD and the White House (and he did say that, explicitly).
2. Intelligence was 'distorted' to justify the war (surely I was not the only reader shocked to learn that Don Rumsfeld was in charge of parsing the NIE and making top-level national security decisions? No wonder Newbold wants him gone!)
3. Senior military leadership is being systematically intimidated by its civilian boss and should pipe up.

Has anyone asked this question? Gen. Newbold did succeed in demonstrating one thing: how easy it is for retired military officers to be used as political tools by anyone with an agenda:

Second, 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.

Lyndon Johnson understood this in 1968 when he eased another micromanaging secretary of defense, McNamara, out of the Pentagon and replaced him with Clark M. Clifford. Within weeks, Clifford had revisited every aspect of policy and begun the long, painful process of unwinding the commitment. Today, those decisions are still the subject of intense dispute, and there are many differences between the two situations. But one thing was clear then and is clear today: Unless the secretary of defense is replaced, the policy will not and cannot change.

I have asked myself several times over the past few days why I had such a strong reaction to Gen. Newbold's remarks. The only answer I can make is that I consider his criticisms at cross-purpose with his stated goals.

He says he wants Rumsfeld to resign, then spends most of a three page essay rehashing decisions which had little or nothing to do with Rumsfeld and can only reflect blame further up the chain... at the President. Yet he does not call for the President to resign. Why is that?

He says he does not want us to leave Iraq "too quickly", yet he doesn't seem to favor committing more troops or more equipment to Iraq right now. And if he did, where would we get them? So exactly what does he hope to accomplish in the future by getting rid of Rumsfeld? According to him, the troops are fighting flawlessly. If we don't have more troops to send and the troops we have are fighting the war competently, what is accomplished by changing horses midstream? We are never told. Reading between the lines however, I'd be quite surprised if General Newbold is not advocating a "redeployment" quite similar to that advocated by Rep. Murtha. If so, why doesn't he come right out and say so?

There are, ironically, some very good arguments to be made for Mr. Rumsfeld stepping down. I nearly made some of them last week. Strangely, General Newbold made none of them and I see no reason to do his job for him. All of which really makes me wonder what this is really all about.

This is the problem with "going public", whether you choose to do it openly, as General Newbold did, or "off the record" as any number of "unnamed but highly-placed officers" have (at least so we are told) recently:

Rumsfeld has lost the support of the uniformed military officers who work for him. Make no mistake: The retired generals who are speaking out against Rumsfeld in interviews and op-ed pieces express the views of hundreds of other officers on active duty. When I recently asked an Army officer with extensive Iraq combat experience how many of his colleagues wanted Rumsfeld out, he guessed 75 percent. Based on my own conversations with senior officers over the past three years, I suspect that figure may be low.

Suddenly one little man becomes the mouthpiece for the entire U.S. military. It must be a powerful feeling, having all that attention focused on your words for just one brief, shining moment.

But there's just one problem: you aren't the entire U.S. military. There are plenty of other officers who speak out every day:

My assessment from extensive and continuous contact with young field grade officers, most of which are combat arms branch, combat veterans, is that Secretary Rumsfeld is considered the finest Secretary of Defense of the last forty years. This is in addition to my "peer group", of which many of us maintain contact with each each other regardless if we are in CONUS or SW Asia.

Maybe Mr. Ignatius has limited his conversations to Officers assigned in the Beltway. Yes, "beltway types" unfortunatly also exist in the military.

However, I can tell you that beyond the Beltway in dusty and dirty places like Ft. Benning, Ft. Stewart, Ft. Hood, Ft. Campbell and Ft. Bragg, where officers wear BDUs instead of Class Bs that there are tens of thousands of Officers, Commissioned/Warrant/Non-Commissioned, that would go to hell and back for this Secretary.

Hell, there are even a few Generals who don't hate Rumsfeld:

When I was at Centcom, the people who needed to have access to Secretary Rumsfeld got it, and he carefully listened to our arguments. That is not to say that he is not tough in terms of his convictions (he is) or that he will make it easy on you (he will not). If you approach him unprepared, or if you don't have the full courage of your convictions, he will not give you the time of day.

Mr. Rumsfeld does not give in easily in disagreements, either, and he will always force you to argue your point thoroughly. This can be tough for some people to deal with. I witnessed many heated but professional conversations between my immediate commander, Gen. Tommy Franks, and Mr. Rumsfeld — but the secretary always deferred to the general on war-fighting issues.

Ultimately, I believe that a tough defense secretary makes commanders tougher in their convictions. Was Donald Rumsfeld a micromanager? Yes. Did he want to be involved in all of the decisions? Yes. But Mr. Rumsfeld never told people in the field what to do.

So who are we to believe? Which of the dueling generals? That is why all of this is ultimately so unproductive and, I suspect, not really about Mr. Rumsfeld at all. One side produces a passel of generals who swear up and down Rumsfeld is the anti-Christ, the other a mess of flag officers who staunchly maintain there is a set of wings under that pin-striped suit. If Mr. Rumsfeld's imminent departure were the desired end result, one would think there was a less damaging way to go about securing the President's ear than to publicly upbraid him on the pages of two periodicals he has announced he does not read. Did it ever occur to him, for instance, to express his views privately to the President? In view of the uproar this has caused, the White House might have been glad of the opportunity to talk with a high-ranking general (or generals, if there are in fact so many who agree with him) on background and therefore avoid a public relations nightmare. Should his request for a meeting have been refused, I don't think I would have been at all reluctant to make precisely that point to the President's handlers. In the end, the Wall Street Journal comes closest to my view:

Mr. Rumsfeld's departure has been loudly demanded in various quarters for a couple of years now, without much success, and on Friday Mr. Bush said he still has his every confidence. We suspect the President understands that most of those calling for Mr. Rumsfeld's head are really longing for his.

If this is what General Newbold really wants, I suggest that on his next literary outing he come right out and say so. But I suspect he might find considerably less support for that proposal among his peers.

Obligatory disclaimer: opinions expressed by the half-vast editiorial staff should in no way be construed to reflect the opinion of Management (i.e., the spousal unit) or the United States Marine Corps, both of which, had they wished the HVES to have said opinion, would have issued her one.

Posted by Cassandra at April 17, 2006 08:36 AM


While I normally consider retired military speaking their minds their right, in this instance, the first paragraph of the general's statement left me cold.
Would it seem to you that as a Vietnam era butterbar that he would manage a war better later on in his career? Or that he was part of the problem? You see, to me, this is the meme of the left: The reason everything is so screwed up is that the PROPER people haven't been in charge and that if THEY were in charge, Things Would Be Better.

His statement also scares me because he seems to be perpetrating that old saw that the military is a law unto itself, without accountability. That the field personnel can just set aside what is asked of them by the civilians who are in charge...namely the CIC.

Last time I checked, the Armed Forces of the United States were not unionized and were volunteers. If the duty of war is so odious, then
the good general should have gotten out a long time ago.

Posted by: Cricket at April 17, 2006 11:18 AM

What would Clauswitz say about quoting "The Who"? :)


The near target is Rumsfeld.
The far target is GWB.

None dare call it treason.
So is it a coup?
This seems almost the reverse of "Seven Days in May".
The military dissenters want to change the government to GET OUT of fighting a war. I think Newbold and his ilk have lost their balls as well as their brains.

And yes, I just returned from vacation, and I'm feeling SASSY!

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at April 17, 2006 11:35 AM

The thing is, I have gone round and round and round with myself about this.

I disagree - vehemently - with what he said.

I tried very hard to back away from the reaction his criticism provoked in me and tried to look at this objectively. I'm not entirely sure I did that but I think I mostly did. What I kept coming back to was this: all of his complaints seem to center around one thing - he didn't agree with fact that we went to war. But that really wasn't Rumsfeld's bailiwick, was it? That's not what SecDef does.

And he didn't really like the planning of the war either. Well, gosh. I've read various accounts of that too. I've read one thing that Rumsfeld did sign off on that irks a lot of people: that the 1st Cav wasn't sent in immediately after Baghdad fell. But then, as I remember we were trying not to be really heavy-handed then. If you remember what things were like, the Iraqis were VERY suspicious of us at that point - just as suspicious (if not more) than they were of the insurgents. Too heavy a presence might have turned them against us. That was a POLITICAL decision that I'm not entirely sure can be laid entirely at Rummy's door, nor am I sure it was entirely wrongheaded.

Hindsight is always 20/20. As I recall, Kerry and Kennedy et al were also bitching about the cost of the war then. Who was going to pay for all this crap? Yeah. I thought so.

I somewhat suspect some of this is due to the fact that we *didn't* fall into the trap of going in with overwhelming force, thereby running up the price tag and handing the election to Kerry in which case we would not be there now and an entirely different crop of retired generals would be claiming that they'd been betrayed and this was just another Viet Nam where the US pulled out and lives were once again tossed away for a faithless commitment America never meant to honor.

And they'd have been right.

I guess it's just a question of which set of retired generals we want to listen to. I don't know.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 17, 2006 11:39 AM

I don't think it's even close to treason.

When you get out, you're a civilian and can speak up. There ought to be some payback for all those years you spend zipping your lip. I just think you need to have a little situational awareness, that's all.

I guess I just expected a little more finesse. Perhaps I am being unfair. I don't know. Some I have talked to think I am being too harsh.

He has a point - active duty can't speak up publicly. That's insubordination.

So the only ones who can are retired. I just am not a fan of airing your dirty linen in public if it can be avoided, and a lot of his critique struck me as politically motivated and not aimed at Rumsfeld, as well as being likely to work against, rather than for, his stated purpose. That bothered me enough to overcome my extreme reluctance to write about this at all. I'm still not happy about it.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 17, 2006 11:46 AM

These people have made it impossible to "get their way". With certain people rabidly calling for Rumsfeld to resign, the President can't accept a resignation (which has apparently been offered and refused on several occasions in the past, if I recall correctly) without it looking like the President was doing the bidding of those calling for the resignation to begin with. Also, the President isn't stupid enough to think these same people ultimately was HIS head on a platter, too.

Posted by: Lisa at April 17, 2006 12:37 PM

The thought being that "Senior military leadership is being systematically intimidated by its civilian boss and should pipe up."

For those who have served under senior military leadership, General, welcome to the daily basis world of the non-military senior leadership who had to deal with you guys. Everybody who has ever worn a uniform knows the intimidation the stars being worn by a general officer automatically have on subordinates. Still, we somehow manage to do our jobs, and in the course of doing our jobs, voice our opinions.

All I would ask these gentlemen would be, where was your testicular fortitude while in uniform? Or, were you the crop we got during the Clinton years?

Posted by: RIslander at April 17, 2006 12:37 PM

RIslander, all I can say is... *heh*. But then what do I know?

And Lisa, that was rather my view too, when I said I expected more finesse. It just seems to me that if you want someone to do something, you don't put their back up against a wall unless you are damn sure how they're going to react to pressure. In the case of Bush, we already know the answer to that question, don't we?

Which only increases my questions about this whole thing. But then again, I'm just a woman and I just looked down at my collar and didn't see anything shiny.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 17, 2006 01:54 PM

RIslander, you make an excellent point about the leadership left during the Clinton years.

Interesting one too.

Cass, you are not *just* a woman. You are Womyn.

Posted by: Cricket at April 17, 2006 02:15 PM

Article 94, UCMJ:
(a) Any person subject to this chapter who--

(1) with intent to usurp or override lawful military authority, refuses, in concert with any other person, to obey orders or otherwise do his duty or creates any violence or disturbance is guilty of mutiny;

(2) with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of lawful civil authority, creates, in concert with any other person, revolt, violence, or disturbance against that authority is guilty of sedition;

(3) fails to do his utmost to prevent and suppress a mutiny or sedition being committed in his presence, or fails to take all reasonable means to inform his superior commissioned officer or commanding officer of a mutiny or sedition which he knows or has reason to believe is taking place, is guilty of a failure to suppress or report a mutiny or sedition.

(b) A person who is found guilty of attempted mutiny, mutiny, sedition, or failure to suppress or report a mutiny or sedition shall be punished by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct.

Just what is the "status" of a "retired" general officer of the US Military? I know Singlaub caught Holy Hell when he questioned the idea of "Skippy" Carter's plan to draw down our forces in South Korea, but then he retired/quit/forced out/you name it/ and continued to speak up and testified to this in Congressional Hearings. So what gives with these guys?
And wasn't Schoomaker (sp?) recalled from 'retired' status to be Army Chief of Staff by Rumsfeld?

Cassandra, I don't want to put you on the spot, knowing your status, etc.
But really.

Regarding RIslander's (and Cricket's) comments: I was told by a knowledgeable 'civilian' back in '94, that Shaliskavili was made Chairman of JC by Clinton because he was not terribly articulate in English, and would not be a 'threat' to Clinton policies (Shaliskavili was a good soldier,too, I was also told), as General Powell might have been, had he stayed on another term as CJC.

And the next time Wesley Clark shows up for an interview/talking head program on TV, he should be asked WHY he was forced out as SACEUR by General Shelton/Pres. Clinton. Just what DID he do in old Yugo that got him in such hot water?? General Shelton at least had the class not to speak of it in public when he was formally asked to when he was still CJC.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at April 17, 2006 03:16 PM

Well, I just lost all of a very long response to you Don, and perhaps it is just as well :)

The long and short of it was, however, that I don't think Newbold is inciting mutiny. Not even close.

I think he genuinely believes people are afraid to speak freely to Rumsfeld, and he's just encouraging them to be more forthright. No Marine officer, I would hope, retired or active, would encourage his fellow officers to violate the UCMJ and if he did he'd have the rest of the Marine Corps all over him so fast it would make your head spin. I certainly would have been a lot tougher on him if that's what I thought.

As it was, I said what I said because I expect an awful lot from someone in that position, and I am still unable to make this add up to anything I like. Maybe I am misunderstanding him completely. I would like to think so.

I just cannot understand how he expected anything good to come from it.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 17, 2006 04:00 PM

Well, mutiny and disagreeing are two different things. Clinton might haved feared a mutiny because he was such a poor CIC and he knew it. During his admin outspoken personnel were prosecuted and even accused of treason. Hardly that, but it goes to show you the lengths some people will go to get by force what they couldn't earn: Respect.

The other reason why outspokenness is discouraged is not just because of a threat of mutiny or sedition or even a coup. It has to do with the office of the President itself. Personnel of all ranks will tell you they salute the rank, not the person. Out of respect for the office, disagreements can be articulated but like Cass says, thinking before speaking can do a world of good for both the dissenter and the one with whom one disagrees.

Posted by: Cricket at April 17, 2006 04:36 PM

Military history.

Cass, and the rest of the good folks that read VC, especially you vets and family of vets, serving and retired:

I've never been a soldier/sailor/airman, etc. so you can call me a chicken hawk 'till hell freezes over and the demons are firing snowballs at each other, but I have read a lot of military history, and every military since Agamemmnon led the Greeks against Troy, to when Xerxes lost the big one, then to Operation Overlord and up to Operation Iraqi Freedom, has had its share of screw-ups and mistakes. Criminy, Eisenhower (all by himself, no less!) lost +800 men from one unit in a landing DRILL when some German E-boats ambushed them prior to D-Day, and that stayed out of the histories for YEARS.

I don't doubt that Rumsfeld, et. al., made mistakes in judgement and planning along the way, but Newbold's critique goes 'way beyond any substantive criticism of tactics, deployments, etc.
It goes right to INTENT. That's what really burns me up. And Cass, that was EXACTLY his intention. What he expects (Newbold) is that the hands of time will magically be rewound and we can all go back to the way things were, regardless of al Qaeda, Iran, and all the rest. It's why Shinseki criticized the idea (of OIF) before he retired. He looked at it as a classic problem to be solved at the Staff War College, and came up with the numbers he testified to. Yes, a lot of officers understood exactly what he meant and might have agreed, but is that the argument they want to put forth to DO NOTHING? When would we have been ready, anyways? Ever?

And regardless of how many officers come back and say good stuff about Rumsfeld, etc. (they are all just puppets!), Newbold has put the word out there, and it will go in everyone's argument gun whenever the competency of the execution of these efforts (OIF and OEF) is publicly discussed, and will now allow any ninny-mouth breather in Congress (and elsewhere) to question how Rumsfeld parts his hair or organizes his desk from now on, whether they know the difference between a K-Bar and a B.A.R., or not.

So if Rumsfeld is forced out, then what? Who becomes SecDef after that?
If people think that Rumsfeld micro-managed DoD, just wait till we have a SecDef that has to dance to the tune that Congress calls, regardless of which party is in charge. I can just hear the confirmation hearings now. Like distant thunder, or is that me just passing gas under the desk?

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at April 17, 2006 04:46 PM

Well, quite frankly, part of what you're saying is exactly what I argued.

However, Rumsfeld has been SecDef for how long now?

Six years. WAY too long. This isn't a hereditary fiefdom. Let me be frank. I think the President could do himself a lot of good by appearing to give in here and appointing someone he trusts who will do a good job and not cave to pressure. And I think Lieberman might not be the world's worst choice. Hell - pick Zell Miller! I'm not sure. But if he picks someone capable and strong, he would cut the feet right out from under his critics. It would take the wind out of their sails on Abu Ghuraib, Gitmo, and all that other bull. Because then he has a convenient straw man who is gone.

Is it evil? Cynical? Yep. It's also smart as hell.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 17, 2006 05:06 PM

I was kidding about Zell Miller, but I'd love to see the looks on some faces if he did...heh.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 17, 2006 05:06 PM

*waves fan*
I don't think you are bloviating. Do you think Newbold has thought it through to that point? Resignation of Rumsfeld and his replacement? Or do you think he is knee jerking?

Posted by: Cricket at April 17, 2006 05:11 PM

I'll tell you who I'd love to see take the job except he's way too smart to ever take it:

Jon Kyl. He'd be brilliant.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 17, 2006 05:11 PM

You know, it's not as though I am not all that smart on this stuff. But I can't imagine a man takes this serious a step without thinking about it a great deal. I doubt it was an easy thing for him to do, or at least I hope it was not.

That's what bothers me - the way he went about it seemed highly unlikely to accomplish what he *says* he wanted to achieve. So that leaves me with several possibilities:

1. Calling for Rumsfeld's resignation was only a distraction - that was never his real goal in writing the op-eds.

2. It was, but he doesn't understand the way the world works.

3. *I* don't understand the way the world works :)

4. He understands, but just felt so strongly he had to speak out that he was going to do it, "no matter what". Whatever.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 17, 2006 05:24 PM

Cass, you're plenty smart. :) You too, Ladybug.

And through your many *connections* at the five-sided funny farm, you probably have some strong (and unrepeatable) opinions about why Dear Donald should step down and leave.

I have serious doubts about any of the present crop of elected politicians being able to do the job. Heading the DoD is BIG JOB (like I have to tell you). Les Aspin was a nice man and a very smart man, but he was in 'way over his head as an adminstrator of the DoD.

My asinine opinions:
McCain-unmitigated disaster!!!!
Kyl - don't know. I never considered it until I heard it from someone really smart; could be a genius stroke :)
Tommy Franks - at least he knows how the Army is supposed to work.
Who's president of Haliburton right now? :)

I personally think that one of Rumsfelds biggest mistakes (with OIF) was to put Ricardo Sanchez in charge of the allied forces in Iraq. I think Sanchez was in over his head, and a lot of the things that 'went wrong' are his fault/responsibility, in terms of being the top field commander in Iraq. Things have gone a lot better since Casey replaced him.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at April 17, 2006 05:54 PM

I have opinions, but frankly mine are more of a political nature.

Actually my husband and I don't agree on a lot of things and he can't (and doesn't - thank God!) talk to me about anything at work that is sensitive. I think that's a good thing. He needs to leave it behind at the end of the day, and I've always thought that it's best for a wife not to try to get too wrapped up in what her husband does. I have no way of knowing what is and is not important and I really should not be running my mouth about it anyway, least of all here :)

If he doesn't tell me about it, then I don't have to worry about keeping my mouth shut. It takes a lot of pressure off both of us.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 17, 2006 06:16 PM

I have always had my doubts about the whole 'transform the military into a business' model.

Gosh, it sounded brilliant, didn't it, when we were at peace? But we've been at war for three years now, and a few of my more long suffering readers (and if you've been with me for this long, you *are* suffering) were just horrified with me a few years back when I was busting on Rummy's 'just-in-time' military where everything was going to somehow get pared to the bone and we were going to have no redundancy lying around and no waste. I thought it was like Demming Does Dallas. As I recall, no one else thought that was very funny :)

Well now it seems that in war, a lot of stuff gets broken and you *need* redundant systems because things go wrong and stuff gets broken. Ummm...yeah.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 17, 2006 06:25 PM

I've got it.

Don Brouhaha for SecDef.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 17, 2006 06:26 PM

I second that! Who is Jon Kyl? Just curious here and will ax the question: Why or why not would a former member of the Armed Forces make a god SecDef?
You see, there is that scene in Down Periscope where
Kelsey Grammer tosses his XO overboard after he tries to incite the crew to mutiny and get the skipper to relinquish command to him. I keep seeing Newbold with that glint in his eye...

Posted by: Cricket at April 17, 2006 07:37 PM

It is my experience that VERY FEW "Warriors" ever progress past Staff Officer's rank.Most Flag Officers I've met are a walking example of the "Peter Principle"

When Weasley Clark espouses your position----it's time to change sides.It's just a matter of time till that douche bag Merrill McPeak joins the fray.Sheesh.

Posted by: WildBlueYonder at April 17, 2006 08:06 PM

How about spd rdr as SecDef?

He's an old Navy man, a lawyer, drives fast and can read, uh, fast too, uh, I think.

And he's "on vacation" now, so we can snipe at him from afar. :)

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at April 17, 2006 08:19 PM

When Weasley Clark espouses your position----it's time to change sides.It's just a matter of time till that douche bag Merrill McPeak joins the fray.Sheesh.

Dear Lord Greg. I could have saved myself a helluva lot of words.

If the day ever comes when one of your comments doesn't make me laugh out loud I am going to check my pulse.

Because as sure as shooting I will have checked out.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 17, 2006 08:31 PM

I will say this: It has been my privelege to meet and know some fine officers that mentored the Engineer. It has also been my privelege to meet
some field grades and Gen Officers that are walking definitions of the Peter Principle. Like Gen Schwartzkopf said, he learned how to be a good officer by observing and watching what the bad officers did or did not do and then did just the opposite. General Schwartzkopf is a gentleman.

Posted by: Cricket at April 18, 2006 10:25 AM

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