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    02 November 2006

    Boehner Attacks Generals in Iraq; Pardons Rumsfeld

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    Nov. 1 The Situation Room on CNN:
    BOEHNER: Wolf, I understand that, but let's not blame what's happening in Iraq on Rumsfeld.

    BLITZER: But he's in charge of the military.

    BOEHNER: But the fact is, the generals on the ground are in charge, and he works closely with them and the president. We've seen this run up in violence as we get closer to the election, as we get closer to Ramadan, same thing we've seen over the last couple of years.

    As we enter into Ramadan, we see this big spike in violence and there's no question, in my mind, that the terrorists, very smart people, are also trying to increase the violence as we get closer to the U.S. elections.


    Boehner continues, "...there's no question that there have been mistakes along the way". So there you have it. Rumsfeld is the best thing since sliced bread and the generals -- only the generals -- are to blame for the "mistakes" in Iraq.

    Of course, Boehner is attempting to absolve himself of his suggestions "Democrats are quickly squandering any and all credibility by even attempting to equate Mr. Boehner’s comments with criticism of anyone in the military." Oh really? And just what have you guys and gals been doing the last day and a half?

    Bottom line, Boehner said, "Let's not blame what's happening in Iraq on Rumsfeld. ...the generals on the ground are in charge." Veiled criticism, but criticism nonetheless.

    And then there is this non-answer:
    BLITZER: But, you know, General Zinni, who used to be the commander, Anthony Zinni of the Central Command, he says that Rumsfeld threw out 10 years of planning for Iraq, 10 years of strategy with 500,000 troops that would be needed, not to necessarily topple Saddam Hussein, but to win the peace quickly. He just threw that out because he wanted that lighter force and, as a result, the U.S. is paying the price right now.

    BOEHNER: Well, Wolf, you have to understand that the generals who have been in charge of the Pentagon have been very resistant to change. It's the younger generals who understand this new force structure that we need to be -- to have the military of the 21st century. And so I think Rumsfeld is the right guy for the job, and I know the president supports him and I'm glad he does.

    First of all, was their anything in this statement by Boehner substantive to the question? Second, if the younger generals are on cutting edge of military know-how, then why stick by and protect a relic from the last war? This Sec. of Defense wanted things done his way --not the way that the experts wanted -- and that way has failed. The old way was obviously more in tune with the realities of the exercise. If Rumsfeld’s military is the military of the 21st century then were in trouble. And if the Generals on the ground are in charge then what are we supposed to think when a general warns the Secretary of Defense that his plan is flawed is then forced out of the military? Sounds like he only wants to hear a slim spectrum of advice, suggestions, and comments. Is that what you loyalist support?

    [UPDATE] Watch Tim's campaign commercial:

    Via ThinkProgress
    ...Rumsfeld's mismanagement has pushed the all-volunteer force perilously close to its breaking point. Some highlights of Rumsfeld's "remarkable" leadership:

    The military's equipment is outdated, below standards: Forty-two percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans said their equipment was below the military standard of being 90 percent operational. Thirty-five percent said their Humvees and trucks were not up-armored when they arrived in-country.

    The military faces severe manpower shortages: Currently, the Army has "close to zero combat-ready brigades in reserve" and the National Guard is "in an even more dire situation than the active Army." Sixty-three percent of all Iraq and Afghanistan veterans believe the Army and Marine Corps are overextended.

    So much for listening to the guys on the ground...

    Posted by Geoff

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