Tuesday, April 18, 2006




US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, is facing down the growing crowd of former US generals calling for his resignation over his widely perceived failings in adequately handling the situations in Iraq and Afghanisatn.

Today, Rumsfeld has been quoted as saying on the subject of the generals' resignation calls : "Well, you know, this, too, will pass."

Rumsfeld is quoted as telling an American right wing radio host :"I guess only someone who's rooted in the history of our country, I think, could accept the kinds of comments that are being made. And if we recognize that the same kinds of criticism that occurred in the Revolutionary War and World War I and World War II and the Korean War, Vietnam War, it's not new. There have always been people who have opposed wars."

"Wars are terrible things. (If the US had not participated in some of those wars, however) "we would have failed, and our country would be a totally different place, if it existed at all."

Rumsfeld has the full backing of President Bush who still believes his defence secretary is doing "a good job" and is "an honourable man".

But the criticism of Rumsfeld from some of the most senior of America's former generals has been damaging, and is a sign of a much deeper malaise within the US Military about the rising death toll, the ten thousand plus soldiers permanently disabled through fighting the War On Terror and a growing tide of anger by US Marines who are being told they must return for third and even fourth tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Here's some of the coverage of the Generals' War On Rusmfeld :

From the Washington Post : "...it is clear that the retired generals -- six so far, with more likely to come -- surely are speaking for many of their former colleagues, friends and subordinates who are still inside. In the tight world of senior active and retired generals, there is constant private dialogue. Recent retirees stay in close touch with old friends, who were often their subordinates; they help each other, they know what is going on and a conventional wisdom is formed.

"The major reason the nation needs a new defense secretary is far more urgent. Put simply, the failed strategies in Iraq and Afghanistan cannot be fixed as long as Rumsfeld remains at the epicenter of the chain of command.

"If more angry generals emerge -- and they will -- if some of them are on active duty, as seems probable; if the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan does not turn around (and there is little reason to think it will, alas), then this storm will continue until finally it consumes not only Donald Rumsfeld. The only question is: Will it come so late that there is no longer any hope of salvaging something in Iraq and Afghanistan?"

From The Times of London : "The real criticism of Mr Rumsfeld is not that he 'kicked to much butt', but that he kicked too little. At George Bush’s behest, he sent the US armed forces into a war that they weren’t yet fully ready to fight: they are much more prepared now, but the insurgency genie is out of the bottle. He was part of the Republican consensus that was contemptuous of Clinton-era peacekeeping operations, believing that real soldiers don’t do social workerish stuff."

And yet, there may be even worse events to come for Rumseld. New reports claim his fingerprints are all over some of the more disturbing methods of torture used in Guantanamo Bay. Not just that he signed off on 'torture memos', but that he personally requested, and enthusiastically agreed to, certain techniques being used to extract information from detainees.

From Reuters : "Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld could be criminally liable for the torture of a detainee at Guantanamo Bay in late 2002 and early 2003...

"A December 20, 2005 Army Inspector General's report, obtained by Salon.com this week, contains a sworn statement by Lt. Gen. Randall M. Schmidt that implicates Secretary Rumsfeld in the abuse of detainee Mohammad al-Qahtani. Based on an investigation that he carried out in early 2005, which included two interviews with Rumsfeld, Gen. Schmidt describes the defense secretary as being 'personally involved' in al-Qahtani's interrogation."

"A six-week regime of sleep deprivation, forced exercises, stress positions, white noise, and sexual humiliation amounts to acts that were specifically intended to cause severe physical pain and suffering and severe mental pain and suffering...
That's the legal definition of torture."