Voices in the Wilderness

The Rejected Counsel of Military Leadership

regarding the War in Iraq

“It might be interesting to wonder why all the generals see it the same way,
and all those that never fired a shot and are really hell-bent to go to war
see it a different way.”

Gen. Anthony Zinni, (Ret) U.S.M.C.

An Archive

Reaction to the recent
testimony of Generals Casey and Abizaid continues a long history of the civilian war hawks of the Bush administration ignoring or rejecting the prudent council of seasoned military leaders.

The recent revelations of Col. Lawrence Wilkerson (Ret), Chief of Staff to sec. of State colin Powell from 2001 to 2005 offers additional insight.

Ex-Army boss: Pentagon won't admit reality in Iraq

Former Army secretary Thomas White said in an interview that senior Defense officials "are unwilling to come to grips" with the scale of the postwar U.S. obligation in Iraq ... Thomas white

"This is not what they were selling (before the war)," White said, describing how senior Defense officials downplayed the need for a large occupation force ...

The interview was White's first since leaving the Pentagon in May after a series of public feuds with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld led to his firing.

Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz criticized the Army's chief of staff, Gen. Eric Shinseki, after Shinseki told Congress in February that the occupation could require "several hundred thousand troops." Wolfowitz called Shinseki's estimate "wildly off the mark."

Rumsfeld was furious with White when the Army secretary agreed with Shinseki ...

(complete article)

Pentagon Contradicts General on Iraq Occupation Force's Size   

In a contentious exchange over the costs of war with Iraq, the Pentagon's second-ranking official today disparaged a top Army general's assessment of the number of troops needed to secure postwar Iraq ...

Mr. Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, opened a two-front war of words on Capitol Hill, calling the recent estimate by Gen. Eric K. Shinseki of the Army that several hundred thousand troops would be needed in postwar Iraq, "wildly off the mark" ...

(read moreoriginal article (subscription)

Scorned general's tactics proved right
Profile of the army chief sidelined by Rumsfeld

Gen Anthony Zinni
(Ret.), U. S. Marine Corps, former Commander-in-Chief of U. S. Central Command for all U.S. forces in the Middle East   Gen. Zinni

Following his retirement from the Marine Corps in 2000, Gen. Zinni, a registered Republican, was appointed by President Bush as special adviser to Secretary of State Colin Powell and served as U.S. envoy envoy for Israeli/Palestinian negotiations, before breaking ranks with the Administration over the war in Iraq.

Interview, San Diego Union Tribune, April 16, 2004

Address, Marine Corp Association, U. S. Naval Institute, Arlington, Virginia, September 4, 2004,            Zinni's comments to the joint meeting in Arlington of the U.S. Naval Institute and the Marine Corps Association, two professional groups for officers, were greeted warmly by his audience, with prolonged applause at the end. Some officers bought tapes and compact discs of the speech to give to others. - Thomas E. Ricks, Washington Post, September 5, 2003

Address, Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, Washington, D. C., October 16, 2002

Address, Middle East Institute, Washington, D. C., October 10, 2002

About General Zinni    here, and here

Lt. Gen. William E. Odom
(Ret.), U. S. Army, Director of National Security Studies at Hudson Institute; Military analyst and foreign policy expert; Served as Director of National Security Agency, 1985-1988; Served as Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, the Army’s senior intelligence officer 1981-1985

Former General Says  Staying the Course  in Iraq is Untenable, Wall Street Journal, April 28, 2004, Also here, or here

Looking for the Exit, Washington Times, May 3, 2004, or here

Interview, May 6, 2004, U.S. Should Make Plans for Pullout by Next Year

About Gen. Odom

Far graver than Vietnam
Most senior US military officers now believe the war on Iraq has turned into a disaster on an unprecedented scale

"The idea that this is going to go the way these guys planned is ludicrous. There are no good options. We're conducting a campaign as though it were being conducted in Iowa, no sense of the realities on the ground. It's so unrealistic for anyone who knows that part of the world. The priorities are just all wrong."

Gen. Joseph Hoar (Ret), the former marine commandant and head of US Central Command

Gen. HoarGeneral Hoare believes from the information he has received that "a decision has been made" to attack Fallujah "after the first Tuesday in November. That's the cynical part of it - after the election. The signs are all there."

He compares any such planned attack to the late Syrian dictator Hafez al-Asad's razing of the rebel city of Hama. "You could flatten it," said Hoare. "US military forces would prevail, casualties would be high, there would be inconclusive results with respect to the bad guys, their leadership would escape, and civilians would be caught in the middle. I hate that phrase collateral damage. And they talked about dancing in the street, a beacon for democracy."

"I don't think that you can kill the insurgency ...

"We have a growing, maturing insurgency group ... We see larger and more coordinated military attacks. They are getting better and they can self-regenerate. The idea there are x number of insurgents, and that when they're all dead we can get out is wrong. The insurgency has shown an ability to regenerate itself because there are people willing to fill the ranks of those who are killed. The political culture is more hostile to the US presence. The longer we stay, the more they are confirmed in that view.

" "If you are a Muslim and the community is under occupation by a non-Islamic power it becomes a religious requirement to resist that occupation...Most Iraqis consider us occupiers, not liberators."

W. Andrew Terrill, professor at the Army War College's strategic studies institute

"I see no ray of light on the horizon at all. The worst case has become true. There's no analogy whatsoever between the situation in Iraq and the advantages we had after the second world war in Germany and Japan...

"I see no exit. We've been down that road before. It's called Vietnamisation. The idea that we're going to have an Iraqi force trained to defeat an enemy we can't defeat stretches the imagination. They will be tainted by their very association with the foreign occupier. In fact, we had more time and money in state building in Vietnam than in Iraq."

Jeffrey Record, professor of strategy at the Air War College

"This is far graver than Vietnam. There wasn't as much at stake strategically, though in both cases we mindlessly went ahead with the war that was not constructive for US aims. But now we're in a region far more volatile, and we're in much worse shape with our allies."

Retired Gen. William Odom

(complete article)

Retired general: Bush foreign policy a 'national disaster'
, CNN.com, July 31, 2004,      

Gen.Tony  McPeakRetired General Tony McPeak, the Air Force Chief of Staff during the first Gulf War, a former fighter pilot who campaigned for Bob Dole in 1996 and for George W. Bush in 2000, say Bush's first 3 years have been "a national disaster", but John Kerry is "up to the task" of re-building. General McPeak says Bush has,

 "alienated our friends, damaged our credibility around the world, reduced our influence to an all-time low in my lifetime, given hope to our enemies."

Top generals say U.S. troops' presence may fuel insurgency

Gen. CaseyWASHINGTON — The U.S. generals running the war in Iraq presented a new assessment of the military situation in public comments and sworn testimony this week: The 149,000 U.S. troops in Iraq are increasingly part of the problem.

During a trip to Washington, the generals said the presence of U.S. forces was fueling the insurgency, fostering an undesirable dependency on American troops among the nascent Iraqi military, and energizing terrorists across the Middle East ...

During his congressional testimony, Army Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, also said that troop reductions were required to "take away one of the elements that fuels the insurgency, that of the coalition forces as an occupying force."

The White House Cabal
by Col.Lawrence B. Wilkerson, USA (Ret)
Col. Wilkerson served as chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell from 2002 to 2005.

IN PRESIDENT BUSH'S first term, some of the most important decisions about U.S. national security — including vital decisions about postwar Iraq — were made by a secretive, little-known cabal. It was made up of a very small group of people led by Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld...

But the secret process was ultimately a failure. It produced a series of disastrous decisions and virtually ensured that the agencies charged with implementing them would not or could not execute them well...

Today, we have a president whose approval rating is 38% and a vice president who speaks only to Rush Limbaugh and assembled military forces. We have a secretary of Defense presiding over the death-by-a-thousand-cuts of our overstretched armed forces (no surprise to ignored dissenters such as former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki or former Army Secretary Thomas White)...

(complete article original (subscription)

Col. Wilkerson's speech
New America foundation, October 19, 2005

Brent Scowcroft Breaks Rank

Brent Scowcroft the United States National Security Advisor under Presidents Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush and a Lieutenant General in the United States Air Force. He also served as Military Assistant to President Richard Nixon and as Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs in the Nixon and Ford administrations. He also served as Chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005.

The First Gulf War was a success, Scowcroft said, because the President knew better than to set unachievable goals. "I'm not a pacifist," he said. "I believe in the use of force. But there has to be a good reason for using force. And you have to know when to stop using force." Scowcroft does not believe that the promotion of American-style democracy abroad is a sufficiently good reason to use force....

The neoconservatives -- the Republicans who argued most fervently for the second Gulf war -- believe in the export of democracy, by violence if that is required, Scowcroft said. "How do the neocons bring democracy to Iraq? You invade, you threaten and pressure, you evangelize." And now, Scowcroft said, America is suffering from the consequences of that brand of revolutionary utopianism. "This was said to be part of the war on terror, but Iraq feeds terrorism," he said....

(entire article)

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