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What About the Generals?

10:11 AM, Apr 19, 2006 • By DANIEL MCKIVERGAN
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Max Boot has an interesting take on the Rumsfeld v. Generals flare up in today's Los Angeles Times (reg. req'd):

The retired generals, who claim to speak for their active-duty brethren, premise their uprising on two complaints. First, many (though not all) say we should not have gone into Iraq in the first place. Former Lt. Gen. Greg Newbold calls it "the unnecessary war," and former Gen. Anthony Zinni claims that "containment worked remarkably well."

That is a highly questionable judgment, and one that is not for generals to make. They are experts in how to wage war, not when to wage it. If we had listened to their advice, we would not have gone into Kuwait or Bosnia or Kosovo.

Their second complaint - about how the war has been fought - is more valid. There is no doubt that the president and his top aides blundered by not sending enough troops and not doing enough occupation planning. But what about the blunders of the generals?

To listen to the retired brass, the only mistake they and their peers made was not being more outspoken in challenging Rumsfeld. But that's not the picture that emerges from the best account of the invasion so far: "Cobra II" by veteran correspondent Michael Gordon and retired Marine Lt. Gen. Bernard Trainor.