Sanity in the World?

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Monday, April 17, 2006

LT Colonel of the US Army Responds

An officer, LT Colonel in the United States Army sent the following email in response to David Ignatius's Op-Ed piece in the Washington Post that stated this:

Rumsfeld has lost the support of the uniformed military officers who work for him. Make no mistake: The retired generals who are speaking out against Rumsfeld in interviews and op-ed pieces express the views of hundreds of other officers on active duty. When I recently asked an Army officer with extensive Iraq combat experience how many of his colleagues wanted Rumsfeld out, he guessed 75 percent. Based on my own conversations with senior officers over the past three years, I suspect that figure may be low.

Seems this US Army LT Colonel has an opinion that differs from David Ignatius's Op-Ed piece, and states the following:

I would beg to differ with that assessment by Mr. Ignatius. I am a combat arms officer, a combat veteran of the Global War on Terror, currently serving on the faculty of one of the Staff Colleges.

My assessment from extensive and continuous contact with young field grade officers, most of which are combat arms branch, combat veterans, is that Secretary Rumsfeld is considered the finest Secretary of Defense of the last forty years. This is in addition to my "peer group", of which many of us maintain contact with each each other regardless if we are in CONUS or SW Asia.

Maybe Mr. Ignatius has limited his conversations to Officers assigned in the Beltway. Yes, "beltway types" unfortunatly also exist in the military.

However, I can tell you that beyond the Beltway in dusty and dirty places like Ft. Benning, Ft. Stewart, Ft. Hood, Ft. Campbell and Ft. Bragg, where officers wear BDUs instead of Class Bs that there are tens of thousands of Officers, Commissioned/Warrant/Non-Commissioned, that would go to hell and back for this Secretary.

He pushes us to what we "think" is our limit, then shows us we have another ten percent to give. Secretary Rumsfelds nickname among many is the "110% Secretary." Former Secretary Cohen, a good man whom I respected, would have been considered the "90% Secretary" as he never was able to get us to give "all."


As I have stated before, there are over 800 Generals in the US Armed Forces, you have a very small few, approximately six, that decided to wait YEARS till retirement, and then speak out for concern of the troops.

I find this hypocritical.

If you have a problem and you think it is something serious enough to warrant speaking out about it, why do you wait YEARS till your retirement to speak?

The media has been all over these few generals, and yet there are 800 plus more, that don't seem to be speaking as they do. You also have thousands of officers like the US Army LT Colonel's email above, that as he states, "that would go to hell and back for this Secretary."

That is some major loyalty there.

As a former US Army grunt myself (Korea my 1st duty station, Ft. Campbell my 2nd), I can tell you that loyalty is not given easily. Military personnel are a different breed, a different society than that of civilians. We are always suspicious of the 'brass'. To have this type of loyalty speaks alot of what the officers feel as something good for the military.

To further get a 'feel' for this, I would love to see and hear some from the troops on the ground, what they think and how they feel. I also would like to know what those officers that work closest to Secretary Rumsfeld think.

I think that would definately give us a more rounded view of how the military views Secretary Rumsfeld, and not just take a small slice of retiring generals word on things. As the LT Colonel says, the military is made up of 'beltway types' also. So I would feel better if we had a more rounded view of more than just a few generals.

******** PM UPDATE ********

I want to thank US Army: Stand-To! for the interest, and I wish to welcome those that have come through Stand-To! and I would like to take this time to encourage you to comment on what your opinion is concerning Secretary Rumsfeld.

All I ask is the following:

* No need for name or rank if you dont want to, but rank will help others know what opinions the individual soldiers have. The choice is yours.

* Keep it civil. Different opinions are what make this country great. We serve so Americans can have Freedom of Speech, allow and think about what others have to say.

* Give us your opinion on the state of the Military, what your thoughts are concerning the different issues with the military, and what your thoughts are concerning Secretary Rumsfeld.

See Sanity's Related Posts:
The Media's Gas - Rumsfeld says, "This Too Shall Pass"

Putting 6 Retired Generals into Perspective