Blaming General Casey
How convenient. We now have our scapegoat for Iraq.
Why does John McCain hate the generals? Or is it that he has no decency? Senator
John McCain should be ashamed of the way he acted today in General Casey\’s hearing,
because the policy didn\’t come from Casey. I guess McCain hasn\’t been paying
close attention. Either that or sucking up to Mr. Bush has finally deprived
his brain of enough oxygen that he\’s just making this up as he goes along.
Donald Rumsfeld made Iraq policy, with preemption the vice president\’s obsession, which was shared by Mr. Bush. When Rummy did listen to the military
it was only to patronize or insult them. Under Rummy\’s rule he also did away
with the decades old Goldwater-Nichols
Act, which made the Joint Chiefs the \”primary military adviser to the
president.\” I\’ve written and talked about this element many, many times. In addition, policy was set in Washington, D.C.
I\’ve covered this before, but one more time, since McCain insulted General
Casey in the most self-serving fashion today. Of course, Casey wasn\’t part of
the JCS, but he was part of the general disrespect for any military opinion
that started with Rummy and was obviously condoned by Mr. Bush.
The JCS has potential power and influence, as a go-between and adviser, but
he was not in the chain of command.
\”What precisely are your duties?\” Rumsfeld asked Shelton. Since
his first time as defense secretary in the Ford administration, the Goldwater-Nichols
reform legislation of 1986 had enhanced the chairman\’s role, at least on paper.
\”I\’m the principal military adviser to the president, you and the National
Security Council,\” General Shelton answered, citing his authority from
the 15-year-old Goldwater-Nichols law in Title X of the U.S. Code.
Sheldon was growing despondent. Rumsfeld as suggesting that Shelton should
give his military advice to the president through Rumsfeld. Shelton reiterated
that since Title X made him the \”principal military adviser\” to
the president, he didn\’t see how that could work. He had to give his advice
\”You are not providing added value,\” Rumsfeld said once during
a visit to the Tank, the Joint Chiefs\’ conference room. … …\”
State of Denial, by Bob Woodward (pgs. 18, 38)
The Iraq Study
Group had more to add.
Recommendation 46: The new Secretary of Defense should make every effort
to build healthy civil-military relations, by creating an environment in which
the senior military feel free to offer independent advice not only to the
civilian leadership in the Pentagon but also to the President and the National
Security Council, as envisioned in Goldwater-Nichols.
There is no doubt that General Casey feels great responsibility for what went
down in Iraq. He was in charge and deserves some of the blame, no doubt. Any disagreements with the boss, aka Rummy,
he should have resigned, right? Fat chance. Generals don\’t leave their troops
on the field of battle because of a disagreement, however large, during wartime. It would give comfort and aid to the enemy. Casey is now going through
confirmation hearings to become the Army Chief of Staff. John McCain feels he
is not qualified because of what happened in Iraq under his watch and is willing to posture and insult Casey in the process.
Blame General Casey for the abject failures of Iraq. Tommy Franks and Rummy
can now finally exhale.