It is popular in Democratic circles these days to denounce Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and growl threateningly that when Nancy Pelosi takes over the House of Representatives in the fall Rumsfeld will be censured, possibly even fired.
This is assuming that the Democrats win the elections in November and that there are enough Democratic House members to handle the censure procedure at the same time they are impeaching President Bush, which they also are threatening.
Apparently the Dems think this all is possible because the American public will have bought into their oft repeated, never proven claim that the War on Terror is going badly, Iraq is a mess, and the entire effort has been screwed up due to Rumsfeld's incompetence. A list of further charges will be developed as time and circumstances dictate.
But what exactly has Rumsfeld done wrong and by what measure is the war effort screwed up?
Let's start with American casualties, which now number more than 2,500 deaths, heading toward 3,000. First, I feel every one of these deaths the way I felt the deaths of my brother Marines in Vietnam.
But we of the military mindset know when we sign up that war, violence, injury and possible death are a significant part of the equation. Some anti-war types try to make it appear that the military sugar coats the risks of joining and downplays the potential for violence.
In truth, no one ever joins the combat arms, regardless of which service they choose, wearing rose colored glasses and anticipating a tour in La La Land. We know the score, we know the risks, we understand the benefits that are supposed to be waiting for us if we make it through, but we are not misinformed.
The number of casualties we have taken since 2001 has not yet reached the number inflicted upon us in one morning by the terrorists who started this. And when the Democrats and their Public Relations consultants, the World Terrorist Media, concentrate solely on the casualties we suffer without mentioning the impact we are having on the other side, they not only are disparaging the memories and sacrifices of those who have died in the fighting, they also are ignoring a far larger number.
That is the number of American citizens who would be dead from additional terrorist attacks if our armed forces hadn't taken the fight to them in Afghanistan and Iraq. How high the casualty rate would be by now is not something I'd hazard to guess, but you can bet it would be simply awful. This country was wide open prior to September 11, 2001, but it isn't any longer.
I would be the last person to declare that we can't or won't be hit again, but I will say it has been much harder to get at us because we have taken the fight to the terrorists rather than letting them dictate the pace and nature of the battle.
Next, the battle in Iraq. First the Dems said Bush and Rumsfeld lied about Weapons of Mass Destruction, although everyone, including the Untied Nations Security Council members knew Saddam had them before the invasion. Then when they started showing up in scattered locations around Iraq recently, the media ignored the issue altogether and started on the Rumsfeld is incompetent issue instead.
But media assertions aside, I have yet to hear one person who has fought in Iraq blame one death on Rumsfeld for anything he did or did not do for our troops. He put the number into the field that the generals asked for, equipped them with the type and amount of weapons and supplies the military requested and has gone above and beyond at every juncture to see that the troops have the best of equipment, clothing food, weapons and medical care.
Compare Rumsfeld, if you will, to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, appointed by Lyndon Johnson in the Vietnam era. First, McNamara orders the construction of a line of barriers and fortifications across the DMZ between North and South Vietnam, supposedly to block the flow of communist troops and equipment. It was to be impenetrable, just like the Maginot Line between Germany and France in WWII.
But just like the Maginot Line, one end of the McNamara Line ended at the border with a third country, in this case Laos. And just like the Germans who skirted the Maginot line by invading the Netherlands and then drove into France, the communists in Vietnam avoided the McNamara Line by running their supply routes through Laos.
Then, while Marines assigned to these outposts are slugging it out with North Vietnamese gunners in horrendous artillery duels, McNamara orders a cessation of bombing of North Vietnam, taking away one of our military's most potent weapons -- the ability to eliminate an artillery battery from the air.
That is the description of an incompetent Secretary of Defense. That is the description of a man who should have been fired long before it happened, not just censured. That is the description of a Secretary of Defense who had no idea what a fight was all about and due to his ignorance and incompetence Marines by the hundreds died as a result of his policies.
Compare Donald Rumsfeld to McNamara in an open debate by people who really know the military. Go ahead, I dare you.
Want more? Remember the criticism about the Humvees not having enough armor? The Humvee was rolled out in the late 1980s to replace the venerable Jeep that had been around since WWII. Like the Jeep, the Humvee was essentially a transportation vehicle, and like the Jeep could be armored to some degree.
But like the Jeep, the Humvee was vulnerable to artillery, mortars, small arms and most other types of weapons, because both vehicles were designed for transportation with other uses added on a "need" basis. But neither the Jeep nor the Humvee was appropriate for use as an armored assault vehicle.
This was all too apparent after the Humvees started taking small arms fire during urban patrols and the troops discovered that the armor wouldn't stop AK-47 rounds. Where was this, Baghdad in 2003 or Fallujah a year or two later?
Nope. This was discovered in 1993 in Mogadishu, Somalia in the infamous battle involving Army Rangers and Somalian warlords. The Humvees were used as ambulances to get troops out of the battle zone, but in doing so were ripped to pieces by small arms fire.
This little piece of information was essentially ignored by the Clinton Administration and not picked up on in Afghanistan where the Humvees were not in an urban warfare environment. They next time they were used in that scenario was after the fall of Saddam Hussein, but from Bill Clinton on down his administration was silent until the armor issue arose again eight years after Somalia.
Rumsfeld moved decisively and swiftly to correct the problem, but the WTM, as is to be expected, blamed the vehicle's shortcomings on the Bush Administration.
Why are we in Iraq? Not because of WMDs as most pundits claim. As reported in the book The Connection by Stephen Hayes, we are in Iraq because the number two operative in Al Qaeda, the late Abu Al Zarqawi, made a beeline for Baghdad when he was wounded on the battlefield fighting us in Afghanistan.
There he was treated, recuperated, and enjoyed a lengthy recovery period in one of Baghdad's best hospitals on Saddam's dime. (The hospital was run by Saddam's son Uday.)After he recovered, he headed right out into the Iraqi desert where Saddam had prepared terrorist training camps, and even had a mockup of a jetliner available for practicing hijackings.
The first thing you need to know when you face a potentially hostile situation is not the weapons held by an adversary, but the intent of that adversary. In the case of Al Zarqawi, intent to cause further harm to the US was written all over the Iraqi desert.
The Taliban and Al Qaeda were getting hammered in Afghanistan and looking for an out. They found it in Iraq, and that country was well on its way to being the launching pad for a new round of attacks on the US. Intent. It was there and the evidence was widespread.
It isn't just simplistic and intellectually dishonest to blame the shifting nature of the War on Terror on Donald Rumsfeld. If he wasn't able to adjust our tactics to meet and overcome theirs, perhaps, or if our generals were so afraid of him that they couldn't tell the truth about the war, I'd say maybe, depending on the situation and the general involved. But that isn't what we are hearing is it?
Targeting Rumsfeld for replacement in the middle of a war is no less despicable or treasonous than leaking government surveillance information to the media. And it is equally harmful to our troops. Think our programs are excessive? Hash it out behind closed doors and get it resolved. Think our equipment isn't up to date, or our generals are being ignored, same deal.
But whining, hand wringing and spewing false allegations based on ignorance and inexperience are not patriotic, or even good politics. They are childish tactics used by spoiled brats who are still angry because they haven't had their way in an election in eight years.
I recommend to Ms. Pelosi, and Mssrs. Reid, Dean, Kennedy, Kerry, and the rest of that ilk that it is long since time to pick up your toys and go play in a different sandbox. A child's sandbox preferably, because you have shown that you have no intellectual or social skills to co-exist in an adult environment.
And if you get feeling lonely and ignored, you can call your mommies and maybe, just maybe they'll fix you up with a nice, warm, comforting mug of Shut The Hell Up!
Tuesday, September 05, 2006