Although I don't usually agree with LTC Peters I think he hit the nail right on the head with this one. I've never seen or heard of such vehement hatred for a SecDef. Friends of mine tell me that he is the most despised man in the Pentagon. Bush says he is doing a "great job." I think both Bush and Rummy need to go before they do our national security even more damage.
Why The Troops Don't Trust Rummy
By: Ralph Peters
New York Post
May 14, 2004 -- ACCORDING to his handlers, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld went to Baghdad to "boost troop morale." The best way the SecDef could improve morale would be to resign.
In Operation Iraqi Freedom, Rumsfeld and his apparatchiks boldly defended Washington while our troops fought overseas. Now that the battle's shifted to Capitol Hill in the wake of the Abu Ghraib scandal, the SecDef's in Iraq.
It's like all those press briefings in which he answers the questions when things are going well, but defers to those in uniform when things are going badly.
Should Rumsfeld resign over the prisoner abuse by rogue MPs? No. He should resign for the good of our military and our country. Those twisted photos are only one symptom of how badly the Rumsfeld era has derailed our military.
Rumsfeld has maintained a positive image with much of America because he controls information fanatically and tolerates no deviation from the party line. Differing opinions are punished in today's Pentagon - and every field general who has spoken plainly of the deficiencies of either the non-plan for the occupation of Iraq, the lack of sufficient troops (in Iraq or overall) or any aspect of Rumsfeld's "transformation" plan has seen his career ended.
It isn't treason to tell the truth in wartime. But it verges on treason to lie. And Rumsfeld lies.
Our military needs vigorous, continual internal debate. Contrary to popular myth, our officer corps has a long tradition of dissenting opinions. And the grave new world in which we find ourselves is not susceptible to party-line solutions.
It's especially noteworthy that the officers who respectfully differed from the views of the Rumsfeld cabal turned out to be right. Consider former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki, who was right about the need for more troops and even right about the kind of vehicles we'd need in Iraq. For his service to our country, he was treated dismissively and mocked publicly.
What of that much-touted transformation so beloved of the neocons? In fact, it's just a plain old con, with nothing neo about it. The Office of the Secretary of Defense hasn't canceled one of the real budget-buster weapons systems designed for the Cold War and kept alive by lobbyists. Only the low-end Crusader artillery piece went to the chopping block as a token (the Army itself decided to cancel the Comanche helicopter).
Rumsfeld's "vision" was to lavish money on the defense industry and administration-friendly contractors, while sending too few troops to war, with too little battlefield equipment, inadequate supplies and no long-range plan. As one Army colonel put it in the heat of battle, "We're winning this despite OSD (Office of the Secretary of Defense)"
Contractors grow rich. The Army grows exhausted. And every single prediction about the future of warfare made by the Rumsfeld gang proved incorrect. Airpower doesn't win wars on its own. Technology doesn't trump courage, guts and skill. Both war and its aftermath still require adequate numbers of well-trained, disciplined troops. And serious planning.
We need a bigger Army. We got a bigger budget - but the money is going to CEOs, not to G.I. Joe.
Outsourcing? We see now where that gets us. In Rumsfeld's military, you even outsource leadership. As we did at Abu Ghraib prison.
Even if none of the above mattered, Rumsfeld needs to go because he has utterly lost the trust of the officer corps. He isn't a leader. He's an arrogant ideologue unfit to serve our democracy.
On camera, in a Pentagon briefing room or at a carefully orchestrated, neo-Soviet visit to the troops he so despises, Rumsfeld surrounds himself with yes-men and sycophants. But just ask the combat generals in private what they think of Donald Rumsfeld.
I'm privileged to spend a good bit of time with our military officers, from generals to new lieutenants. And I have never seen such distrust of a public official in the senior ranks. Not even of Bill Clinton. Rumsfeld & Co. have trashed our ground forces every way they could. Only the quality of those in uniform saved us from a debacle in Iraq.
Of course, those in uniform don't get to pick the SecDef. And they continue, as they always will, to loyally carry out their orders to the letter. But to be effective, a SecDef must be respected. He doesn't have to be liked. But, especially in wartime, he must be trusted.
Rumsfeld has failed the most important test of all.
Clinging to power isn't a mark of strength, but of weakness, arrogance and brute obstinacy. Rumsfeld has wounded our military and sent our troops to die for harebrained schemes. In place of sound plans, he substituted political prejudices. Election year or not, he has to go.
It's time to bring integrity, mutual respect and a focus on the realities of warfare back to the Pentagon. The White House has Sen. McCain's phone number.
Ralph Peters is a retired military officer and a regular Post contributor.