Fresh perspectives on today’s news by: Whymrhymer

On Monday, the Army Times and its three companion military newspapers (the Navy Times, the Marine Corps Times and the Air Force Times) will publish an editorial (read it here) calling for President Bush to remove Donald Rumsfeld from his position as Secretary of Defense. They base this call on several factors:

  • While some retired military officers, in the past, have talked negatively about our military actions in Iraq and about the very narrow chances for success, the discontent and gloomy forecasts are now coming from currently active-duty, high-ranking military officers.
  • Military officers and non-coms who handle the training of the Iraqi military have repeatedly requested additional troops and additional funding — calls that have not been responded to satisfactorily.
  • Secretary Rumsfeld has repeatedly assured the American Public that the situation was either under control or stabilizing when it fact it is (according to Army Gen. John Abizaid at a Senate Armed Services Committee in September) very bad and if the trend is not reversed a full-blown civil war is very probable.
  • In April of this year, the Army Times polled the readers of their website (ArmyTimes.com) asking them this question:

    “Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has come under fire in recent weeks from a variety of retired generals, who say he should resign for his performance in managing the war in Iraq. Do you think the U.S. war effort is grounds for Secretary Rumsfeld to resign?”

    Almost 2/3 of the nearly 3000 respondents said “yes.” (It is important to note that while most of these readers were probably either current or ex-military people, anyone could respond to that poll so as polls go, it was very unscientific.)

While I believe the Military Times editorials make an excellent case for Rumsfeld’s removal and while I believe that this group of newspapers do their best to serve and inform current and former service members and their families, I have three major concerns about this editorial:

  1. These four newspapers are NOT owned, operated or published by the government or the military, which could be a good thing if they were independently owned and operated but the fact is these four papers are owned by the publishing giant Gannett. Gannett also owns hundreds of mostly small circulation newspapers around the U.S. and in the U.K. and they own one giant one, USA Today. The staff for these four papers are also (according to this very biased source) writers for USA Today; that may not be true but is is certainly a possibility considering the budget cutting measures many newspapers have been forced to make in the face of falling circulations.
  2. The editorial makes the old claim that President Bush made the statement “Mission Accomplished” which, in the context it is used, is sloppy journalism. The implication, in their context, is that the president, while standing on the deck of the aircraft carrier, declared that our involvement in Iraq was over; when they know (or at least I hope they know) that 1) The large banner behind him was representative of that ship’s current mission, which was indeed accomplished and 2) the entire statement that the president made was: “America sent you on a mission to remove a grave threat and to liberate an oppressed people, and that mission has been accomplished.” The military did indeed remove what the world perceived to be a grave threat (Saddam’s plans to develop some devastating weapons) and they did indeed liberate the people from Saddam’s dictatorship. At that point in time, the President’s crystal ball was probably in the repair shop below decks on the carrier so he could not have predicted the massive influx of insurgents who have since turned Iraq into a 21st Century version of our Vietnam conflict.
  3. The timing of this editorial is obviously suspicious and in spite of the claims by the Army Times publishers that the upcoming mid-term election was not a factor in their decision to publish this editorial, I think its safe to say (with all due respect) that they are lying through their teeth.

While I obbviously have some problems with this editorial I’ll have to say that the Army Times is probably right; Rumsfeld may have been the right man for the job at the onset of this “war” but it doesn’t appear that he is the right man to extract us from this war with anything resembling a victory.

Links:

The San Jose Mercury News: Military-oriented media urge Bush to fire Rumsfeld

Indianapolis Star: Military papers to call for Rumsfeld’s resignation

From the blogosphere:

Talk Radio/Kerry Fox: Military Publications: ‘Rumsfeld Must Go’

Checksum Crusader: Axing the Donald

Whymrhymer’s fresh perspectives on today’s news, as published at BNN, also appear at My View from the Center. You are always welcome there!

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