Sheila Samples: We Are The Deciders
We Are The Deciders
By Sheila Samples
"There is nothing worse than aggressive stupidity."
~~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
If it weren't so dangerously sad, the media gyrations to deflect attention from the sordid mess defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld has made in Iraq would be amusing. But efforts to hide the truth are futile because Rumsfeld is literally surrounded by "stars" -- retired general officers speaking publicly about the fatal mistakes Rumsfeld made in his mad dash to "sweep everything up" and dash blindly off to war.
CNN and the Boston Globe say there are six officers, Fox News says "a handful," the New York Times says seven, the Christian Science Monitor plays it safe with "several," and Rumsfeld himself laughs it off with "two or three out of thousands."
There seems to be eight so far -- Gen. Eric Shinseki, former Army Chief of Staff, was cut off at the knees a year before his retirement for testifying under oath during a Senate hearing a month before the assault on Iraq that it would take "several hundred thousand" troops to quell ethnic tensions that could lead to an insurgency.
He was soon joined by Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, former CENTCOM commander; Lt.Gen. Greg Newbold, Director of Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the war planning; Maj.Gen. John Batiste, former 1st Infantry Division commander; Maj.Gen. Charles Swannack, former commander of the 82d Airborne Division in Iraq; Maj.Gen. John Riggs who, after 39 years in the Army, retired from the Pentagon in 2005; Maj.Gen. Paul Eaton, who oversaw training of Iraqi troops from 2003-2004 and Gen. Wesley Clark, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander.
We are now victims of a full-bore public relations assault. White House bullhorns and media mockingbirds are out in force, only too happy to be diverted from discussing the treasonous Bush/Cheney/Rove/Libby leak of an undercover CIA operative or from investigating the restless murmurings of an impending nuclear attack on Iran. The punditry brigade, including former military brass on media payrolls as "analysts" immediately began regurgitating talking points from a Pentagon memo hurriedly sent out when criticism began to gain momentum. They were then summoned en masse to the Pentagon for a briefing on the miraculous successes of Iraqi Operation Let God Sort 'Em Out.
CNN jumped out in front of the pack with a continuous loop of a staged video package showing Marines training top-notch Iraqi troops while winning "hearts and minds" of grateful Iraqi citizens, followed quickly by an article defending Rumsfeld. The issue soon became a disorderly political media debate on whether the generals were at war with each other, if they were attempting a coup of their civilian leaders or were merely rats deserting a sinking ship.
The brothers Limbaugh went into complete meltdown. Rush's head exploded as he shrieked that the generals were just a bunch of malcontents hooking up with the "liberal drive-by media" to get rid of Rumsfeld for attempting to fix the mess President Clinton made of the military. David took each general to task for joining the anti-Bush liberal media vultures who "have hovered over Rumsfeld's stubbornly vibrant carcass for way too long..."
Then, Rumsfeld, like Dick Cheney does when he needs to "catapault the propaganda," picked up the phone and called the drug-addled, dangerously ignorant "El Rushbo" to reassure millions of panting dittoheads that those who oppose him or criticize his handling of the war are being manipulated by terrorists like Zarqawi, Bin Laden and Zawahiri.
It didn't help matters when four retired generals penned an April 17 Wall Street Journal op-ed defending Rumsfeld and scolding their outspoken peers.
"We do not believe that it is appropriate for active duty, or retired, senior military officers to publicly criticize U.S. civilian leadership during war," they wrote, and added that the feelings of those who had come forward were "irrelevant." They went on to single out Zinni and Newbold, saying the two "do not understand the true nature of this radical ideology, Islamic exremism, and why we fight in Iraq." They then neatly connected the war in Iraq to 9-11 by smugly suggesting Zinni and Newbold "listen to the tapes of United 93."
Who are these four men? Unlike those who were in Iraq and are alarmed at the chaotic, snarled disorder of Rumsfeld's leadership, the four Journal writers are warriors of a different era and were not involved in the planning or execution of the ongoing slaughter.
I suspect that Lt. Gen. John S. Crosby, my former boss for whom I have tremendous admiration and respect, now director of the government's Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP), and Maj. Gen. Burton R. Moore, director of legislative liaison for the Air Force, allowed their names to be used because of a sense of honor and conviction that commissioned officers, whether active or retired, do not speak out against their civilian leaders, especially in a time of war.
However, the Journal and other media failed to mention that the latter two -- Vietnam-era Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, former assistant vice chief of staff of the Air Force, and Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely, former deputy commander of US Army, Pacific, are paid Fox News analysts and active, aggressive, warmongering Bush supporters.
McInerney joined the chorus of "swift-boaters" before the 2004 election, calling Sen. John Kerry's 1971 testimony about US soldiers committing barbaric acts on Vietnamese civilians "treasonous." According to Media Matters, Vallely, infuriated with former ambassador Joe Wilson's "agenda against the war on terror," emerged a week after Cheney chief of staff "Scooter" Libby was indicted on charges of obstruction of justice, perjury, and false statements in the Valerie Plame leak scandal to claim that a year before Robert Novak revealed Plame's identity Wilson had bragged to him and others in the Fox News green room that his wife worked at the CIA. When asked why he had waited two years before coming forward, Vallely remarked he "figured Joe Wilson would self-destruct at some point in time."
At first, Vallely said that Wilson had told him "three, possibly five times" in the spring of 2002 that his wife worked at the CIA. Upon further questioning, Vallely then said it was only one time, and perhaps in the "spring-summer" time frame. Then it was "summer-early fall." Vallely called on McInerney to back up his story on ABC's John Batchelor Show. Media Matters reports that McInerney appeared on the show to "repeat and expand upon Vallely's memory," but he would only admit to being a friend of Vallely and did not even suggest that Wilson had discussed his wife's identity. Upon Wilson's threat to sue Vallely for slander, Vallely, mercifully, shut up.
The two generals teamed up in 2004 to write a truly frightening manifesto (with a forward written by Fox News Iran-Contra hoodlum Oliver North) on how Rumsfeld should really wage war -- “Endgame: The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror.” Deluded by a grandiose sense of US power, they expanded Bush's three-nation "Axis of Evil" to an eight-nation "Web of Terror." With the colossal successes of Afghanistan and Iraq, it's now on to Syria and North Korea, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. Forget the paradigm of diplomacy; of containment. Forget trying to settle political crises in the Middle East. Screw 'em. Invade 'em. Conquer 'em. McInerney and Villely suggest, however, that because of Iran's size, it might be wiser to "slap" it with an embargo and keep it in line with a naval blockade.
So, what's the deal?
The administration and the Pentagon's aggressive disinformation pundits want us to believe this issue is political; merely disgruntled generals attempting to stir up a mutiny within the ranks and breed discontent within the populace before an upcoming election. If you believe that -- you're not paying attention. The generals being trashed for speaking out are patriots who have committed their entire lives to honorably serving and protecting the Republic and all it stands for, and are no longer able to remain silent when they see it being wantonly destroyed.
George Bush seems to think (sic) that Rumsfeld is doing a heckuva job. He says he doesn't "appreciate the speculation" about his buddy "Don." He's the decider, Bush says. He reads the front page. Bush hears voices and he listens to them. "But mine is the final decision," he says. "I'm the decider, and I decide what is best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the Secretary of Defense."
But this is not about politics. It's about stopping the madness -- and the giggling madman whose aggressive stupidity and exaggerated sense of himself has brought shame to this once proud nation.
Henry Kissinger once said, " Of all the despots I've had to deal with, none was more ruthless than Donald Rumsfeld." With Rumsfeld, it's about rendition, brutal torture, sexual humiliation and ghoulishly insane war crimes. It's about a group of immensely brave apolitical patriots being forced to do what the US Congress and the US media steadfastly refuse to do -- tell the American people the truth. The blood dripping from the corpses in Iraq is nothing compared to that literally gushing from those who know what is going on, but choose to remain silent.
This is not about Rumsfeld "transforming" the Army. It's about the calculated destruction of all the services. It's about privitazing the military -- contracting out US security to war profiteers such as Halliburton, Bechtel, Blackwater. It's about psychological operations (PsyOps) teams and death squads roaming throughout Iraq murdering innocents in their homes and mosques, gunning down anything that moves in the streets. It's about a secretary of defense not only ordering torture, but getting personally involved in it.
This is not about whether Rumsfeld should be replaced. It is about whether he should be hanged for not supporting those for whom he is responsible. It is about sending hundreds of thousands of Americans into the mayhem of an insurgent battlefield; many to certain death as a result of improper training, lack of protective armor and lack of proper equipment.
It is about Rumsfeld "disappearing" the nearly 2,400 dead servicemembers who continue to return in the dead of night without honor. It is about 35 families who will drop to their knees tonight and pray for the safety of their children, not knowing they are already dead. It is about more than 20,000 soldiers and marines evacuated from Rumsfeld's war, many physically and mentally damaged beyond repair -- nearly 12,000 of them suffering from disease. This is about destroying entire populations with Depleted Uranium, including many future generations of Americans.
Of course Rumsfeld must go. And, ultimately, he will take George Bush, Dick Cheney, Condi Rice and the rest of the depraved warmongers with him. The American people have finally had enough of aggressive stupidity.
And we are the deciders.
Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites. Contact her at: email@example.com. © 2005 Sheila Samples