T Nation

The Rumsfeld Mutiny


Major General John Batiste (former commander of the 1st Infantry Division in Iraq) joins General Anthony Zinni (former head of CENTCOMM), Major General Paul Eaton (formerly in charge of training the Iraqi Army), and Lieutenant General Greg Newbold (former director of operations on the Pentagon's Joint Staff) in calling for Donald Rumsfeld's resignation, on grounds that he is, in Eaton's words, "incompetent strategically, operationally, and tactically."





Anyone think the President will wake up anytime soon and fire the guy who's responsible for turning Iraq into such a mess? I kind of doubt it myself.


Surely those guys are all just political hacks who have been filling minor positions anyway?


Retired guys bitching about their boss...I'm shocked.

Mutiny would involve disobeying an order. Clearly none of these officers felt strongly enough about it, at the time, to resign. Certain lack of honor bitching him out after the fact, to the media. Not really acceptable in big green. At least it didn't used to be.

Here's a link to some warfighters who agree with Rumsfeld and see things a little differently.



Sure, and one of them, Newbold, said he wished he'd spoken up when he was in uniform. But they all remember what happened to General Shinseki, who had the gall to be honest to Congress and tell them that several hundred thousand American troops would be needed to provide security in Iraq. Rumsfeld appointed his replacement in advance and made him a lame duck. Publicly speaking out against Rumsfeld was career suicide. Doesn't make honesty after the fact admirable, but it does make it understandable.

And Franks' deputy supporting Rumsfeld makes perfect sense, given that Franks is largely responsible for the chaos in Iraq too.



If you feel that strongly against something then you voice your concern, loudly, and do not give ground. If the cost is your job then so be it. Better your job then your men. What price is your honor and the lives of those who serve under you. People die in war but if that is how these generals really felt, I'm suspect. They may be right or they may not be...their timing, however, is all wrong.

The time to dissent is not after you retire. My guess is they opposed these plans a lot more now then they did at the time the decisions were made. I'd also wager they oppose these plans in the media a lot more then they do in private.

Shinseki stood his ground and is greatly admired.


The military is not an organization that encourages voiced dissent...


Considering the way things have gone in Iraq Rumsfeld should have been replaced a long time ago. Bush looks horrible on this one.


Not to the media and not to the public.

Internally plans are built with lots of dissent and discussion, prior to the operation.


And if they had voiced their dissent publicly during an ongoing campaign , pointing out the weakness of the US approach to the enemy, you?d be more happy?


I'm curious hedo...

what do you think this group of generals has to gain from their dissention of Rumsfeld?

do you think it's a simple matter of revenge for preceived wrongs done to them by the secretary of defense?

or are these generals all part of a sinister plot to aid the insurgents by attempting to remove an incredibly competent man like Rummy?


Those are mostly good points, but my suspicion is that most of these men felt they could help the Army more by staying in (again, public dissent = career suicide under Rumsfeld) and trying to influence policy that way.


Not in this White House or Pentagon by all accounts. Do yourself a favor and read George Packer's article on Tal Afar in the April 10 New Yorker, don't think it's online, but it's more than worth the four or five bucks to get a perspective from soneone who's over there and is the rare non-political hack (not unbiased, no one is, but not driven to either tear down or build up Bush and co.). Best thing I've read on Iraq in a while.


It's certainly not for any career wrong he did to them; the only general whose career has suffered over Iraq is Sanchez. Batiste, in fact, if you read the final link, was offered an extra star and the No. 2 job in Iraq but turned it down because of not wanting to work for Rumsfeld.


IF they really believed the plan wouldn't work and felt that strongly about it, resignation was the only course if you care about your honor.

Some part revenge, more about being taken seriously and missing the spotlight. You don't get to be a general without a monster ego.

Sinister plot? Doubt it, I am not much of a conspiracy theorist.


During an ongoing campaign...of course not. Before it begins. During the campaign would not make me happy, it would cause me to lose even more respect for the man. During the campaign you are relieved, you don't quit. At least not in the US Army.

Once the order is given, like it or not your carry it out. You resign and keep the reason to yourself until revealing the reason will not affect your men or help the enemy.

Command is not for everyone. Sometimes your decisions end lives or careers.


Guys like this make me sick. Speak up if you believe there is a problem.

Do not wait until you retire and start bad mouthing others to sell books and kick start a second career as a media darling or a politician.

If they believed it was wrong they should have done something right away.


As a former Marine I can confidently say that General Zinni is a tool. nuff' said.



I forgot to mention as well that although I'm not necessarily saying I trust/like Rummy he should be given some credit for the quick victory and low casualties for the invasion portion of the war. He was a huge proponent of manuever warfare and helped make a lighter, more mobile army that saved weeks and hundreds of lives in toppling the Iraqi gov't so quickly.



And has given those hundreds of lives (and thousands of Iraqi ones to boot) right back by ignoring the insurgency at the outset, failing to understand even the basics of counter-insurgency, and now aiming to get us out of there as quickly as possible.


I'm not sure this is fair. On one side they aren't allowed to speak up, and on the other they must be gold-digging for a second career if they do.

How does that work?