Soft Coup: Editorials in Military Papers to Call for Rumsfeld Ouster

Breaking: On MSNBC, Keith Olbermann is reporting that on Monday, the day before the midterm elections, editorials will run in the most influential military newspapers calling on President Bush to fire Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

The editorials will say they are giving voice to a silent majority of uniformed personnel who are are prohibited from speaking because of respect for the office of the presidency.

The editorials will run in Army Times, Air Force Times, Marine Corps Times and Navy Times, which are privately owned and not affiliated with government.

UPDATE: Here is the complete text from Monday’s editorials:

Time for Rumsfeld to go

“So long as our government requires the backing of an aroused and informed public opinion … it is necessary to tell the hard bruising truth.”

That statement was written by Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Marguerite Higgins more than a half-century ago during the Korean War.

But until recently, the “hard bruising” truth about the Iraq war has been difficult to come by from leaders in Washington. One rosy reassurance after another has been handed down by President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: “mission accomplished,” the insurgency is “in its last throes,” and “back off,” we know what we’re doing, are a few choice examples.

Military leaders generally toed the line, although a few retired generals eventually spoke out from the safety of the sidelines, inciting criticism equally from anti-war types, who thought they should have spoken out while still in uniform, and pro-war foes, who thought the generals should have kept their critiques behind closed doors.

Now, however, a new chorus of criticism is beginning to resonate. Active-duty military leaders are starting to voice misgivings about the war’s planning, execution and dimming prospects for success.

Army Gen. John Abizaid, chief of U.S. Central Command, told a Senate Armed Services Committee in September: “I believe that the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I’ve seen it … and that if not stopped, it is possible that Iraq could move towards civil war.”

Last week, someone leaked to The New York Times a Central Command briefing slide showing an assessment that the civil conflict in Iraq now borders on “critical” and has been sliding toward “chaos” for most of the past year. The strategy in Iraq has been to train an Iraqi army and police force that could gradually take over for U.S. troops in providing for the security of their new government and their nation.

But despite the best efforts of American trainers, the problem of molding a viciously sectarian population into anything resembling a force for national unity has become a losing proposition.

For two years, American sergeants, captains and majors training the Iraqis have told their bosses that Iraqi troops have no sense of national identity, are only in it for the money, don’t show up for duty and cannot sustain themselves.

Meanwhile, colonels and generals have asked their bosses for more troops. Service chiefs have asked for more money.

And all along, Rumsfeld has assured us that things are well in hand.

Now, the president says he’ll stick with Rumsfeld for the balance of his term in the White House.

This is a mistake.

It is one thing for the majority of Americans to think Rumsfeld has failed. But when the nation’s current military leaders start to break publicly with their defense secretary, then it is clear that he is losing control of the institution he ostensibly leads.

These officers have been loyal public promoters of a war policy many privately feared would fail. They have kept their counsel private, adhering to more than two centuries of American tradition of subordination of the military to civilian authority.

And although that tradition, and the officers’ deep sense of honor, prevent them from saying this publicly, more and more of them believe it.

Rumsfeld has lost credibility with the uniformed leadership, with the troops, with Congress and with the public at large. His strategy has failed, and his ability to lead is compromised. And although the blame for our failures in Iraq rests with the secretary, it will be the troops who bear its brunt.

This is not about the midterm elections. Regardless of which party wins Nov. 7, the time has come, Mr. President, to face the hard bruising truth:

Donald Rumsfeld must go.

6 Comments

  • Mark Mywords
    November 3, 2006 - 10:53 pm | Permalink

    it is about time the military youths are informed about what is real…. old enough to die… then old enough to hear the truth

  • November 3, 2006 - 10:59 pm | Permalink

    A coup began in November of 2000. It is damned near complete. If the Rethugs steal enough elections next week to maintain control of Congress, the coup will be a success and a mere image of freedom and Democracy will be all that is left.

    At that point, the only thing that will save our nation is a military/civilian action to restore American Democracy.

    If members of our military remember their oaths to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, both Foreign and Domestic, civilians must join them.

  • oldgringo
    November 4, 2006 - 3:00 am | Permalink

    From such as this are REVOLUTIONS BORN!

  • November 4, 2006 - 4:53 am | Permalink

    I AM REDY ! –NOW– HE SAYS DEM WANT TO KILL YOUR BABIES! WELL I BELIEVE I HAD RATHER HAVE THEM KILLED AS BABIES RATHER THEH HAVE HIM LET RAISE AND LOVE THEM FOR 18 YRS THEN HIM TAKE AND HAVE THEM SENT TO IRAQ AND HAVE THEM SHOT OR BLOWN UP!!!!!!! I HOPE THE DEMS GET CONTROL AND GET OFF THEIR ASSES AND DO SOMETHING! IF NOT I AM READY TO DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION!!!!!! AT ALL COST!

  • November 4, 2006 - 5:52 am | Permalink

    Democrats! Take your video cameras to nearest election and get pictures of any attempts to steal this election!!! Don’t let them get away with it again!!!

  • cheryl
    November 4, 2006 - 7:06 am | Permalink

    These uniformed men should be allowed to come forward and present their freedom of speech!!!!! Bush is stifling their voice and all of these uniformed men are boots on the ground!!!! Bush is not going to fire Rumsfeld because then he would be admitting to a mistake!!! Cheney doesn’t want Rumsfeld gone because then he will not gain billions in that shady Halliburton deal!!!! I think all of those assholes who got us in to this war need to put their flesh and blood into combat boots and send them to Iraq!!!! I bet that war would be over faster than shit comes out of a goose!!!!!

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