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Posts Tagged ‘Paul Wolfowitz’

…As every infantryman knows: it takes more resources to hold an objective than to take it.  An assertion that it takes fewer can only come from people with no understanding of how wars are actually fought and won.
 

…We have a system in which military leaders serve civilian bosses, because we do not want people in uniform to run the country.  We have seen it attempted elsewhere, and it is rarely successful and never very pretty.  So American service members are inculcated with the notion of the superiority of civilian authority,and they are very uncomfortable acting contrary to that notion.  Officers have the responsibility to contribute to the plans and the decisions to execute those plans, but they are taught that, once the decision is made, they must obey — unless, of course, the order is immoral or illegal.  And this works extremely well at nearly every level of command.  Nearly, but not at every level.
 

…But if the Secretary of Defense wants to do something contrary to the best judgment of the general officers appointed to render advice, something so egregious that experienced military people know instinctively, if not from experience, that it is foolhardy or worse, who is left to prevent disaster?
 

Only those general officers.  Professional military men know how many troops are needed to perform missions, and the plans must be reviewed and certified annually.  If Tommy Franks or Dick Myers or any other officer at the top of the chain of command thought that the plan was unworthy, each had an obligation to his uniform, to the nation, and to the troops they sent to war to ensure that the plan was not executed.  And if they thought that the plan was a good one, then they were fools.  In either case, they failed this country.
 

Civilian control was established to prevent military domination, and the rules for following lawful orders are clear.  Who would have thought that our real danger was the civilian hijacking of the military apparatus, snatching it from officers who were either too inept or too pusillanimous to resist? 
 

–  Col. Jack Jacobs (Ret.), a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient (and Douglas Century)
from their book “If Not Now, When?
 

[In my opinion, history will not be kind to either the Bush/Cheney Administration or to the general officers in command leading up to the invasion of Iraq – with the notable exception of Army Chief of Staff, General Eric Shinseki. 
 

General Shinseki testified to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee that “something in the order of several hundred thousand soldiers” would probably be required for postwar Iraq. This was an estimate far higher than the figure being proposed by Secretary Rumsfeld in his invasion plan, and it was rejected in strong language by both Rumsfeld and his Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz, who was another chief planner of the invasion and occupation.
 

On November 15, 2006, in testimony before Congress, CENTCOM Commander Gen. John Abizaid said that General Shinseki had been correct that more troops were needed. (from Wikipedia)
 

Unfortunately, one brave man was not enough to keep us out of a war of choice.  —  KMAB]
 

 

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Memorial Day Graveyard at dawn

We thank you for your sacrifice…

Remarks by Secretary Eric K. Shinseki
A Memorial Day Message from Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki
Washington, DC
May 30, 2011
Today, we pay homage to those who placed themselves on the Altar of Freedom for love of country.  Memorial Day is a time for remembrance, reflection, and respect — for honoring the men and women who gave their lives in service to the Nation.
On the last Monday of May each year, we observe moments of silence and moments of tribute to acknowledge the sacrifices by these brave few for principles greater than self. In answering their calls to duty — at Tarawa and Normandy, Seoul and Chosin, the Ia Drang and Khe Sanh, and at Baghdad and Mosul, the Shahe’ Kot, Korengal, and Marja, or any of a host of other crossroads of conflict — these American men and women stood their ground, held back the dark forces of oppression and destruction, and advanced our founding principles, ideals, beliefs, and values about the right of self-determination.  They cherished liberty and loved freedom enough to lay down their lives to preserve our way of life.
Many lie in final rest in our national cemeteries.  Whether at Gettysburg, one of our country’s first national cemeteries, or at Washington Crossing, our most recent dedication, each VA national cemetery is a sacred place of honor befitting the great deeds and sacrifices of the Fallen.
More than 3.7 million Americans — Veterans of every war and conflict, from our Revolution to the Global War on Terror — have been laid to rest in these hallowed shrines.  The quiet serenity, pristine nature, and strict adherence to time-honored Service traditions make our cemeteries the healing places where families and friends can remember and honor those who gave, in President Lincoln’s words, “the last full measure of devotion.”
This Memorial Day, a Nation at war prays for peace and the safe return of our sons and daughters, even as it exacts justice from those who trampled our most cherished principles.  Now, as then, in addition to our prayers for peace, we pray for the families of the Fallen.  And we pray for the Almighty’s continued blessings on this great and wonderful country of ours.
[The above photo and remarks have been taken from the Department of Veterans Affairs web site.  — KMAB]
[The following is taken from the Wikipedia biography about General (now Secretary) Shinseki:
“General Shinseki publicly clashed with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld during the planning of the war in Iraq over how many troops the U.S. would need to keep in Iraq for the postwar occupation of that country.  As Army Chief of Staff, General Shinseki testified to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee that “something in the order of several hundred thousand soldiers” would probably be required for postwar Iraq.  This was an estimate far higher than the figure being proposed by Secretary Rumsfeld in his invasion plan, and it was rejected in strong language by both Rumsfeld and his Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz, who was another chief planner of the invasion and occupation.  From then on, Shinseki’s influence on the Joint Chiefs of Staff reportedly waned.  Critics of the Bush Administration alleged that Shinseki was forced into early retirement as Army Chief of staff because of his comments on troop levels, but the claim is disputed.
When the insurgency took hold in postwar Iraq, Shinseki’s comments and their public rejection by the civilian leadership were often cited by those who felt the Bush administration deployed too few troops to Iraq.  On November 15, 2006, in testimony before Congress, CENTCOM Commander Gen. John Abizaid said that General Shinseki had been correct that more troops were needed.”
I remember watching the evening’s news clips of General Shinseki’s Congressional testimony and thinking – “there sits the last honorable General on active duty”.  When he was later proven correct, I smiled to myself and wondered how many of our losses could have been avoided if the General’s testimony had been received by an equally honorable Congress. — KMAB]

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