Campaign 2010

May 21, 2004

Incompetent

I believe we are absolutely on the brink of failure.  We are looking into the abyss.”
General Joseph Hoar, a former commander in chief of U.S. Central Command; testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, May 20, 2004

 

I’m surprised that he is surprised because there was a lot of us who were telling [Rumsfeld] that it was going to be thus… Anyone could know the problems they were going to see.  How could they not?...I think that some heads should roll over Iraq.  I think the president got some bad advice.
Retired Marine General Anthony Zinni, San Diego Union-Tribune, April 16, 2004

 

The U.S. occupation of Iraq is a debacle not because the government did no planning but because a vast amount of expert planning was willfully ignored by the people in charge.”
The Atlantic Monthly, January/February 2004

 

I think we got in there with a grossly anemic military force.  We never defeated the elite elements of the Saddam regime.  They walked away with their guns, their money, their leadership intact.”
Retired General Barry McCaffrey; NPR “Morning Edition,” April 15, 2004

 

But as the acting secretary of the Army, Les Brownlee, acknowledged to Congress last week, ‘we simply were not prepared’ for the insurgency that developed in early summer, prolonging the war and taking the lives of hundreds of American soldiers.”
Associated Press, March 3, 2004

 

A breakdown of the casualty figures suggests that many U.S. deaths and wounds in Iraq simply did not need to occur…perhaps one in four of those killed in combat in Iraq might be alive if they had had stronger armor around them, the study suggested.”
Newsweek on a Department of Defense commissioned report; May 3, 2004

It’s like telling the Lakers that they are not going to play basketball but are now going to be Ping-Pong champs.  I hope I am totally wrong, but my gut tells me we are in a world of trouble and the result is going to be more body bags.” 
Retired Army Col. David Hackworth, on National Guard units being asked to perform functions for which they were not trained; Los Angeles Times, March 1, 2004

 

No Iraqi leader has had more to do with the U.S. intervention in Iraq than Chalabi, from charming Congress into authorizing almost $100 million to back his fledgling Iraqi National Congress in the late 1990s and convincing Washington about Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction in 2002 to pressing for war last year, say both his supporters and critics.”
Washington Post, May 21, 2004

 

There are also indications that Chalabi has provided details of U.S. security operations. According to one U.S. government source, some of the information Chalabi turned over to Iran could ‘get people killed.’
Newsweek, May 10, 2004

 

This was not just a failure of leadership at the local command level. This was a failure that ran straight to the top. Accountability here is essential - even if that means relieving top leaders from duty in a time of war.
Army Times editorial, May 17, 2004

 

We’ve got to acknowledge first that the old debates are obsolete. I wish the U.S could still go off, after Iraq, at the head of “coalitions of the willing” to spread democracy around the world. But the brutal fact is that the events of the past year have discredited that approach. Nor is the U.N. a viable alternative. A body dominated by dictatorships is never going to promote democratic values. For decades, the U.N. has failed as an effective world power.”
David Brooks, New York Times, May 8, 2004

 

This administration cannot be trusted to govern if it cannot be counted on to think and, having thought, to have second thoughts….Being steadfast in defense of carefully considered convictions is a virtue. Being blankly incapable of distinguishing cherished hopes from disappointing facts, or of reassessing comforting doctrines in face of contrary evidence, is a crippling political vice.”
George Will, Washington Post, May 4, 2004

 

On almost every issue involving postwar Iraq—troop strength, international support, the credibility of exiles, de-Baathification, handling Ayatollah Ali Sistani—Washington’s assumptions and policies have been wrong. By now most have been reversed, often too late to have much effect. This strange combination of arrogance and incompetence has not only destroyed the hopes for a new Iraq. It has had the much broader effect of turning the United States into an international outlaw in the eyes of much of the world.”
Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek, May 17, 2004

 

Rumsfeld has maintained a positive image with much of America because he controls information fanatically and tolerates no deviation from the party line. Differing opinions are punished in today’s Pentagon - and every field general who has spoken plainly of the deficiencies of either the non-plan for the occupation of Iraq, the lack of sufficient troops (in Iraq or overall) or any aspect of Rumsfeld’s ‘transformation’ plan has seen his career ended.”
Retired Military Officer Ralph Peters, NY Post, May 14, 2004

 

The Bush administration seems not to recognize how widespread, and how bipartisan, is the view that Iraq is already lost or on the verge of being lost. The administration therefore may not appreciate how close the whole nation is to tipping decisively against the war.”
Robert Kagan and William Kristol, Weekly Standard, May 17, 2004

 

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld’s failure to offer his resignation over the Abu Ghraib scandal is sadly typical of the lack of accountability that permeates the U.S. government.”
—Max Boot, Los Angeles Times, May 13, 2004

But it’s Nancy Pelosi’s criticism that is endangering the troops, right? 

It is time for accountability, it is time for a new course, and it is time for some real leadership.


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