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April 02, 2003

Crackup in Military Establishment on Iraq

This is extraordinary.

The dissent by field commanders against Rumsfeld recklessly rushing them to war without readily available backup troops was dramatic enough.

Then you have Rumsfeld and top general Richard B. Myers denouncing those critics and those at home.

And then you have the response by folks like former General Barry McCaffrey, who has been part of that criticism:

"I'm a professor of national security studies, and I know a lot more about fighting than he does," General McCaffrey, who led a mechanized infantry division during the 1991 Persian Gulf war, said of Mr. Rumsfeld. "The problem isn't that the V Corps serving officers are commenting or that retired senior officers are commenting on television. The problem is that they chose to attack 250 miles into Iraq with one armored division and no rear-area security and no second front."

General McCaffrey said he resented "the implication that my voice not have a place at the table and that it shouldn't be listened to with some deference based on my experience."

In the absolute abstract, you can have some sympathy for those conducting strategy against real-time second-guessing, but that is a consequence of not building either domestic or international consensus for going to war.

Rumsfeld systematically shat on even friendly critics of his approach among both the military, domestic war supporters, and international partners.

The roiling criticism coming from all quarters-- dove and conservative isolationist, military commanders in the field, neo-realists who see multilateralism as a necessity, and so on-- is just the harvest of this administration's arrogant foreign and domestic unilateralism.

Posted by Nathan at April 2, 2003 09:50 AM

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I saw this interview on Hardball with Gen. McCaffrey, it was really something. Later today, the transcripts should be posted at the MSNBC Web site -- look for Hardball, April 1st.

Posted by: aReader at April 2, 2003 11:46 AM

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