Theodore's World: Well Said Oliver North

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April 22, 2006

Well Said Oliver North


"All-Star Shame"

By: Oliver North

HANOI, VIETNAM -- Here in this former enemy capital, the government of The Socialist Republic of Vietnam operates a museum full of mementoes from the only war America ever fought in which U.S. troops won every battle -- but still lost the war. Among displays of captured U.S. military equipment, parts of shot-down aircraft and expended munitions are exhibits devoted to the American anti-war movement. The carping coterie of retired generals now blasting the war effort in Iraq -- and demanding Donald Rumsfeld's head -- ought to spend a few hours here before firing another salvo. It might make the tarnished brass hats think twice about whether their words aid and abet America's adversaries in the Global War on Terror.

We went to war with a flawed plan that didn't account for the hard work to build the peace after we took down the regime. We also served under a secretary of defense who didn't understand leadership, who was abusive, who was arrogant, who didn't build a strong team," said retired Army Maj. Gen. John Batiste. His sentiments are echoed by two other retired Army two-stars, Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, and Maj. Gen. Charles Swannack.

"My sincere view is that the commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions -- or bury the results," said retired Marine Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold, perhaps forgetting that the defense secretary served as a Navy fighter pilot. Retired Army Maj. Gen. John Riggs accused the White House and Pentagon of seeking military advice only "when it satisfies their agenda." Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, former chief of U.S. Central Command said, "Poor military judgment has been used throughout this mission."

Set aside for a moment that these are all men who helped plan various aspects of the war they now say was poorly planned. With the exception of Zinni, who served as CENTCOM commander during the Clinton administration, they all accepted promotions to "serve" under Commander in Chief Bush and helped carry out a plan they now claim to be irreparably flawed. If the jawing generals felt then as they say they do now -- why didn't they just quit -- before their promotions and pay raises?

It's been done before. On April 21, 1980, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance tendered his resignation and privately confided to President Jimmy Carter, "I know how deeply you have pondered your decision on Iran. I wish I could support you in it. But for the reasons we have discussed I cannot." The secretary of state was referring to the mission -- three days later -- to rescue American hostages -- an operation he had steadfastly opposed. Unlike the "six-pack" of generals now castigating the war they helped plan and execute -- Vance had the integrity to make his views known during planning for the Iran operation -- and the courage to quit when the commander in chief decided to proceed over his objections.

That archaic combination of honor and fortitude is apparently absent from the current crop of retired generals shouting "Dump Don!" into any available microphone. They should be grateful that the Bush-phobic mainstream media is either ignorant of the ethical tradition exemplified by Vance -- or too lazy to research the inconsistencies in the generals' past and present positions on the war.

Zinni, making the round of talk shows to hawk his latest book, should be the most thankful of the bunch. The retired four-star now says, "There was no solid proof, that I ever saw, that Saddam had WMD." But in 2000, he testified before Congress, "Iraq remains the most significant near-term threat to U.S. interests in the Arabian Gulf region." He went on to say that "Iraq probably is continuing clandestine nuclear research, [and] retains stocks of chemical and biological munitions ... Even if Baghdad reversed its course and surrendered all WMD capabilities, it retains scientific, technical and industrial infrastructure to replace agents and munitions within weeks or months." Which Zinni are we to believe?

Perhaps it's unfair to expect equal measures of courage and character from senior officers in this age of political opportunism. After all, the modern "gold standard" for flag-officer fidelity was set back in 1992 by Adm. William J. Crowe. Appointed Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command by Ronald Reagan in 1983, Crowe was subsequently named Chairman of the Joint Chiefs in 1985 -- a position he continued to hold under President George H.W. Bush -- a fellow naval officer and World War II hero. On retirement however, the admiral demonstrated his appreciation by endorsing and campaigning for William Jefferson Blythe Clinton. Clinton, showing far more gratitude than the admiral had for George H.W. Bush, appointed Crowe to be U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James in 1994.

Tough duty. With a role model like this, Don Rumsfeld has to wonder why more of his "all stars" haven't piled on. Meanwhile, the al Qaeda clipping service is assembling material for a war museum like the one here in Hanoi. Jane Fonda -- call the Pentagon.

Wild Thing's comment.........
All these people in the anti-war groups, all these Generals ( Democrats) attacking Donald Rumsfeld , Dean, Kerry, Kennedy, Pelosi, Dean, Reid, Clinton, Murtha Code Pink etc. everyone of them is aiding and abetting the enemy.

In the United States Senate, Ted Kennedy pontificates and calls the President of the United States a liar. Liberals proclaim to the world that our President is an evil and a deceitful man who led us into an immoral war under false pretenses. They insist that it's President Bush that's responsible for the deaths of young Americans in Iraq, overlooking the terrorists.

Perhaps the worst Secretary of State we have ever had, Madeleine Albright, goes on foreign soil and tells a receptive French populous that "US President George W. Bush's foreign policy is not good for America, not good for the world."

If you were Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein, which one would you cheer? If you belonged to al Qaeda or Hamas or Islamic Jihad, which party would you like to see in the White House. Al-Jazeera broadcast this: "I tell the American people we will continue fighting you and we will continue martyrdom operations inside and outside the United States until you stop your injustice, and you end your foolishness," he said. "Jihad must continue until an Islamic government is established." Bin Laden insinuates that if we just leave Iraq to him, all will be well. Give him Iraq and the war is over.

The terrorists want the weak back in office, so they can continue their war without obstruction. They will be able to carry out their attacks without fear. They will overrun Iraq after liberals turn tail and run, as they always do and the entire Middle East will belong to bin Laden. They will turn on Israel. At some point, even liberals will have to take a stand or surrender.


Posted by Wild Thing at April 22, 2006 12:47 AM


everyone of them is aiding and abetting the enemy.

You said it, sister. I'm glad Ollie stuck it to the generals like that, too.

Posted by: Beth at April 22, 2006 04:52 AM

Please refrain from false-choice fallacies.

Posted by: Suricou Raven at April 22, 2006 05:11 AM

Little Missy Suricou Raven,

Follow this link to some Conservative British blogs,
you might just learn something about your own country's problems.

What fallacies, care to explain?

Posted by: RightToCarry at April 22, 2006 07:01 AM

I believe these former generals are posturing for future positions. I think they see changes coming in leadership in Congress this year and the White House in 2008. By slamming President Bush and SecDef Rumsfeld, they are positioning themselves for future political appointments, maybe even a future SecDef.

Posted by: BobF at April 22, 2006 09:36 AM

Hi Beth, thanks for coming by and thanks for your post at your blog about this.

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 22, 2006 10:19 AM

Hhi RTC, thank you!!!

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 22, 2006 11:11 AM

Bob yikes I sure hope they never get what they want. Thanks for your take on this.

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 22, 2006 11:13 AM

Suricou Raven"

Being that you're on record as supporting suppression of free speech to avoid "complaints" by offended political parties, and at the Dean thread, offered the wisdom that our system of government needs MORE political parties to relieve the pressures of factionalism (I love that one. Brilliant)you now wag your finger about "false choice fallacies" without describing where the offense was committed.

It seems to me that you have been guilty, so far, of a dozen fallacies, the worst being the tuo quoque, to which you still haven't responded or corrected yourself. In fact, you have yet to respond to several question on various threads about your claims. This might be what passes for open exchange in your common room, where you pronounce and all the heads nod, but not here. I know I'm an American upstart, but have patience with me.

Ignoring the other fallacies, for now, what is the false choice fallacy in question? Second, when you say "please refrain" that the delicate mode of sniffy condescension, or the high-powered one you use only on the continentals and wogs?

Posted by: Rhod at April 22, 2006 11:33 AM

""Please refrain from false-choice fallacies.""

just my humble opinion....but that is purely redundant nitwittery.

Posted by: SothernDoll at April 22, 2006 11:41 AM

All these generals should remember the courage and integrity of John Singlaub who resigned his commission so he could rebuke Jimmah Carter's decision to pull out of S Korea.

You must also remember that most of these generals come out of the service academies which require a political appointment to get in. Then their entire military careers are one form of politics or another.

Posted by: TomR at April 22, 2006 12:43 PM

TomR, there is no way on earth your going to become a general unless you have political backing. By time a person becomes a general officer, they are so far removed from what’s really happening they only know what aids are feeding them. Very few generals really know what the troops in the field are thinking or feeling. One that did who comes to mind is General Omar Bradley. I would put the likes of Generals Schwarzkopf, Fogelman, Franks, and a few other recent ones in their.

BTW, when General Fogelman could no longer support the Clinton Administration, he resigned is position as AF Chief of Staff and retired. You didn’t see him making the “circuit” bad mouthing President Clinton and the SecDef. General Fogelman was a man of honor and integrity.

Posted by: BobF at April 22, 2006 02:16 PM