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Posted by on May 11, 2007 in At TMV | 9 comments

General Discontent With the War

It is a telling commentary on the catastrophe that the Iraq war has become and the damage it has done to the military that several retired generals have gone public to harshly rebuke former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and President Bush.

Now three of the generals are challenging a dozen members of Congress in a new TV commercial by VoteVets.org, saying the politicians can’t support the president’s Iraq policy and expect to win re-election.

Says retired Major General John Batiste:

I am outraged, as are the majority of Americans. I’m a lifelong Republican, but it’s past time for change.

Our strategy in Iraq today is more of the same, a slow grind to nowhere which totally ignores the reality of Iraq and the lessons of history. Our president ignores sound military advice and surrounds himself with like-minded and compliant subordinates.

Batiste’s outspokenness apparently has now cost him his job as a CBS News consultant.

Not surprising, and Batiste should have expected as much. But Atrios notes that there are a slew of former generals shilling for the cable news channels and networks “cheering on the war,” and anything less likely would earn them the boot.

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  • Somebody

    Our strategy in Iraq today is more of the same, a slow grind to nowhere which totally ignores the reality of Iraq and the lessons of history. Our president ignores sound military advice and surrounds himself with like-minded and compliant subordinates.

    Yes. One thing I learned a long time ago in my Military career is that Generals have political aspirations. They are human and they are Democrats, Republicans or Independents.

    There are many in the Republican party that are calling for Change. I’m one of them. I am not calling for withdrawal. I am calling for change. The course is wrong. Our troops cannot sustain this. The toll on these men and women is harsh.

    Either vote a draft, send 1 million men and women to Iraq or redeploy into a containment pattern and cut the troop strength in half and cut the budget in half.

    A change is needed. Pulling OUT is not the change Im advocating.

  • casualobserver

    What am I missing here?

    If the posters here can fashion a “drawdown/containment” strategy framework that seems to be getting “bipartisan” support here, why can’t Nancy Pelosi or Hillary Clinton do the same thing, line up a bunch of so-inclined generals and go on camera and sell it to the American public?

    Seems to me they are missing an excellent opportunity to be seen as proactive problem solvers and not just naysayers.

    Bush can still be flip to Congress per se, but not so easily to an engaged American populace.

  • Rudi

    LOL Somebody I agree with your plan, but it’s a couple of years to late. The public won’t except a real war, were spoiled by GW1 and Grenada. The royals may be willing to send their sons, but the privlaged here think fighting the war is flying yellow ribbons on their Hummer. We whine about gas prices yet send our money to the ME, while driving loaded SUV’s to the suburban malls. I remember when tucks had the label “work” attached to them and Lincoln didn’t make PUs and SUVs.

  • kritter

    I like Batiste- he is 100% sincere. I am convinced he would never advocate for a position that he didn’t believe in. It took 2 weeks to fire Imus but 2 days for Batiste- because of WH pressure maybe? No one’s ever been fired for advocating for the Bush policy.

  • Kritter,
    Yes… we should all be bombarding Newsweek day after day for giving Bill Kristol another column.

  • kritter

    Our downfall may come because we have allowed failure to be rewarded while silencing all of the truthtellers. I have to respect the man for trying, because the military culture is to support your CIC no matter what. He’s going against the grain and may deserve a JFK profiles in courage award for speaking out.

  • Bones_708

    This was an add made by a supposedly non partisan group that in reality is wholly democratic in nature and funded Unions and Moveon.org. My only real gripe is they pretend to be non partisan when they are in fact very much so. That being said with this add the General really isn’t an objective analyst anymore is he? We moved himself into the realm of politics so it would be hard to keep him on. That seems clear and reasonable.

  • kritter

    There are many military analysts on TV that are not independent. They are denied access to meetings at the Pentagon if they come out too harshly against the war. Do you think that he would have been fired if he filmed a commercial in support of Bush and his position?

    The guy spoke his conscience and gave his best analysis of the situation on the ground in Iraq. He was fired for speaking out against a very unpopular president. In this country we are allowed to oppose our government, and I hope he keeps doing just what he’s doing.

  • Bones_708

    He was fired for being in a political add. He could of continued to “speak out” on CBS and trash Bush all he wanted and I really doubt anything would of happened. When he moved to politics he crossed a line to no longer being able to unbiased. Of course most of the media has some bias but they seem to like to keep the fig leaf, if you will. Batiste threw it away and with it his job. His choice, activist or analysts, the results were reasonable. And who said “independent” anyway? I said objective.

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