Archive for the ‘Rumsfeld’ Category

Former UK Army Chief Attacks US Failures in Iraq

December 20, 2008

A former head of the British Army has accused the Americans of “appalling” decision making during the Iraq war.

By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent
Telegraph (UK)
.
Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, General Sir Mike Jackson, the former chief of the general staff, said that the violence in post-war Iraq was “much exacerbated by the security vacuum created by Washington’s appalling decisions” to disband the Iraqi security forces.

Gen Sir Mike, who was head of the British Army at the time of the war, added that the US policy to “de-Baathify” Iraq doubled the time taken to reach the point where the coalition could consider a withdrawal from the country.

Former Army chief General Sir Mike Jackson attacks US failures in Iraq

Former Army chief General Sir Mike Jackson decribed American decision making as ‘appalling’ Photo: PA

The general also added that Iranian backing for Shia militants, a development which led to hundreds of British casualties, further complicated the post-war environment.

The former defence chief, who said that he believed the campaign had been successful, was also critical of the US and British governments for failing to “understand fully” the complexity of the situation in Iraq and to create a proper reconstruction plan.

The general said that the euphoria which followed the toppling of Saddam was short lived because of various factions inside Iraq began to use violence in pursuit of political objectives.

But he added that the coalition, which suffered from political and military infighting, achieved “tremendous successes” including a referendum on a new Iraqi constitution and the subsequent elections, the creation of a new Iraqi security force and the avoidance of outright civil war.

Of the 136 troops who died in Iraq and the thousands injured, the general said that their deaths and wounds “were not in vain but rather suffered in the noble cause of a better future for Iraq and the region as a whole.”

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Report Spotlights Iraq Rebuilding Disaster

December 14, 2008

An unpublished 513-page federal history of the American-led reconstruction of Iraq depicts an effort crippled before the invasion by Pentagon planners who were hostile to the idea of rebuilding a foreign country, and then molded into a $100 billion failure by bureaucratic turf wars, spiraling violence and ignorance of the basic elements of Iraqi society and infrastructure.
The history, the first official account of its kind, is circulating in draft form here and in Washington among a tight circle of technical reviewers, policy experts and senior officials. It also concludes that when the reconstruction began to lag — particularly in the critical area of rebuilding the Iraqi police and army — the Pentagon simply put out inflated measures of progress to cover up the failures.

By By JAMES GLANZ and T. CHRISTIAN MILLER
The New York Times

In one passage, for example, former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell is quoted as saying that in the months after the 2003 invasion, the Defense Department “kept inventing numbers of Iraqi security forces — the number would jump 20,000 a week! ‘We now have 80,000, we now have 100,000, we now have 120,000.’ ”

Mr. Powell’s assertion that the Pentagon inflated the number of competent Iraqi security forces is backed up by Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the former commander of ground troops in Iraq, and L. Paul Bremer III, the top civilian administrator until an Iraqi government took over in June 2004.

Among the overarching conclusions of the history is that five years after embarking on its largest foreign reconstruction project since the Marshall Plan in Europe after World War II, the United States government has in place neither the policies and technical capacity nor the organizational structure that would be needed to undertake such a program on anything approaching this scale.

The bitterest message of all for the reconstruction program may be the way the history ends. The hard figures on basic services and industrial production compiled for the report reveal that for all the money spent and promises made, the rebuilding effort never did much more than restore what was destroyed during the invasion and the convulsive looting that followed.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/14/world/mi
ddleeast/14reconstruct.html?_r=1&hp

Bipartisan Report: Bush, Rumsfeld Responsible for Detainee Abuse

December 11, 2008

A bipartisan Senate report released today says that former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other top Bush administration officials are directly responsible for abuses of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and charges that decisions by those officials led to serious offenses against prisoners in Iraq and elsewhere. 

By Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 11, 2008; 12:39 PM

The Senate Armed Services Committee report accuses Rumsfeld and his deputies of being the principal architects of the plan to use harsh interrogation techniques on captured fighters and terrorism suspects, rejecting the Bush administration’s contention that the policies originated lower down the command chain.

Carl Levin
Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
spearheaded the report….

“The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of ‘a few bad apples’ acting on their own,” the panel concludes. “The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees.”

Donald Rumsfeld
Above: Mr. Rumsfeld.  Senators McCain and Levin
were never leaders in his fan club….

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20
08/12/11/AR2008121101969.html?hpid=topnews

Obama’s Choice of Gen Shinseki For VA: Good or Bad For Vets?

December 10, 2008

General Eric Shinseki gained controversey, even noteriety, when he predicted that the invasion of Iraq would take a lot more troops than the number predicted by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld.  When asked about the appointment of General Shinseki to head the Department of Veterans Affairs on “Meet the Press,” part of Barack Obama’s answer was, “He was right” about the troop numbers.

I thought at the time: being right on that one issue doesn’t make a person the best leader of the Veterans….

*****

From the Washington Post

My own view is that Shinseki is a shrewd choice.  He is an honorable man — he has handled his retirement much better than the anti-war faction has — and he will give the VA post a higher profile than it has had in the past.  Ironically, his sky-high reputation will give him authority to serve as something of a check on the Administration if they move in ways detrimental to Veterans.  What is your view?Read the rest:

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/community/groups/index.html?plckForumPage=ForumDiscussion&plc
kDiscussionId=Cat%3aa70e3396-666
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President-elect Barack Obama (L) introduces retired General ...

President-elect Barack Obama (L) introduces retired General Eric K. Shinseki as nominee for Veterans Affairs secretary during a news conference in Chicago, December 7, 2008.REUTERS/John Gress (UNITED STATES)

Obama: No person ‘more qualified’ than Shinseki to head VA

December 7, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama formally announced Sunday that retired Army Gen. Eric Shinseki is his pick to be secretary of Veterans Affairs.

CNN

Obama names Shinseki as choice for VA chief 

“There is no one more distinguished, more determined, or more qualified to build this VA than the leader I am announcing as our next secretary of Veterans Affairs — General Eric Shinseki,” Obama said at a press conference. “No one will ever doubt that this former Army chief of staff has the courage to stand up for our troops and our veterans. No one will ever question whether he will fight hard enough to make sure they have the support they need.”

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/1
2/07/obama.shinseki/index.html

Condoleezza Rice takes responsibility for Iraq occupation woes; absolves Rumsfeld

December 7, 2008

Condoleezza Rice is taking responsibility for the troubled U.S. occupation in Iraq right after Saddam Hussein was overthrown.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speaks during a joint news ... 

Rice was President George W. Bush’s national security adviser when the war began in 2003. She says it wasn’t former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld‘s fault that things went badly when the U.S. began to occupy Iraq after driving out Saddam.

She says military operations went very well in removing Saddam from power. But she says the U.S. did not have what she calls the right structure in place to handle the occupation.

Donald Rumsfeld
Donald Rumsfeld

Rice says the Bush administration put a single department — the Pentagon — in charge of running Iraq. Rice — who’s now secretary of state — says that wasn’t the right approach.

Rice made her comments on “Fox News Sunday.”

–Associated Press

Rumsfeld nemesis Shinseki to be named VA secretary

December 7, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama has chosen retired Gen. Eric K. Shinseki to be the next Veterans Affairs secretary, turning to a former Army chief of staff once vilified by the Bush administration for questioning its Iraq war strategy.

General Shinseki Is A Spectacular Pick!

Obama will announce the selection of Shinseki, the first Army four-star general of Japanese-American ancestry, at a news conference Sunday in Chicago. He will be the first Asian-American to hold the post of Veterans Affairs secretary, adding to the growing diversity of Obama’s Cabinet.

“I think that General Shinseki is exactly the right person who is going to be able to make sure that we honor our troops when they come home,” Obama said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” to be broadcast Sunday.

NBC released a transcript of the interview after The Associated Press reported that Shinseki was Obama’s pick.

By Hope Yen, Associated Press WriterShinseki’s tenure as Army chief of staff from 1999 to 2003 was marked by constant tensions with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, which boiled over in 2003 when Shinseki testified to Congress that it might take several hundred thousand U.S. troops to control Iraq after the invasion.

 

Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, belittled the estimate as “wildly off the mark” and the army general was ousted within months. But Shinseki’s words proved prophetic after President George W. Bush in early 2007 announced a “surge” of additional troops to Iraq after miscalculating the numbers needed to stem sectarian violence.

Obama said he chose Shinseki for the VA post because he “was right” in predicting that the U.S. will need more troops in Iraq than Rumsfeld believed at the time.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081207/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/oba
ma_veterans_affairs;_ylt=Am9B9OU36FH.uoTOzSUjkpKs0NUE

In this July 21, 2000 file photo, then Army Chief of Staff Gen. ... 
In this July 21, 2000 file photo, then Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki talks with reporters Pentagon in Washington. Democratic officials say President-elect Barack Obama has selected Shinseki to be the next Veterans Affairs secretary.(AP Photo/Kamenko Pajic, File)