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The Tentacle


November 8, 2006

Rumsfeld must stay

Kevin E. Dayhoff

Just in time for the mid-term elections, the Military Times Media Group, which publishes the Army Times, Marine Times, Air Force Times and Navy Times, ran an editorial last weekend which pronounces: "Rumsfeld must go."

The editorial was quick to point out, at the end of the marauding masterpiece of pre-election print-theatre: "This is not about the midterm elections. Regardless of which party wins Nov. 7, the time has come, Mr. President, to face the hard bruising truth: Donald Rumsfeld must go."

The liberal blogosphere went bananas. The editorial was glorified by folks such as Brent Budowsky, a former legislative assistant for U.S. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D., TX), as "speaking truth to power."

Whenever I hear the term, "speaking truth to power," I always worry that I am about to get showered by another round of numbing repetitions of Clintonesque falsehoods, which the perpetrator hopes will become true if they are repeated often enough.

Let's make one point clear right now; I have written before that it has become obvious to even the most loyal, that some changes in approach in Iraq are in order. In the military it is called, "engage, adapt and overcome."

The adjustments must come from the military commanders in the field and not from the Armani-clad California Rep. Nancy Pelosi in the comfort of her spacious home in San Francisco.

And, yes, I want our men and women in uniform to come home - after the job has been finished. We really don't want to have to re-visit this nightmare again, years down the road - after another terrorist attack on American soil.

Our armed forces should come home after some form of stable government is established to move Iraq forward as a productive member of the world community and not a vacuous wasteland that can only benefit folks who wish to do the West harm, simply on the grounds of a militant and extremist perversion of one the world's great religions.

Folks such as the biased scriveners of the Military Times papers, have a right to speak their minds. But let's not make this into what it is not. The Military Times is not the "voice of (military) commanders, the troops and their families," as Mr. Budowsky wrote in a post picked up by numerous blogs, including the "Huffington Post" last Saturday. This is not "one of the most extraordinary and important moments in the history of this war."

The Military Times does not speak for the troops, or the families, or the military commanders, as has been written by Mr. Budowsky and many others.

The Military Times, to the best of my knowledge, is not written by active duty military personnel. It is a subsidiary of Gannett Newspapers, the same outfit that publishes the McPaper, "USA Today."

The Military Times publishes newspapers for the military market. Yes, in spite of recent assertions by Massachusetts's Sen. John Kerry; not only can current military personnel read, but many are well educated.

Men and women in the military are quite capable of speaking for themselves. Training and discipline facilitate our men and women in uniform to concentrate on their mission. They tend to leave the grandstanding and pontificating to blowhards like, well - Senator Kerry and posers like the Military Times; while they fight to protect a grandstander's right to spew verbal dysentery.

According to "Editor and Publisher," White House spokesman Tony Snow responded Saturday by calling "the editorial 'a caricature' and a 'shabby piece of work' filled with inaccuracies. He said it implied the administration (has) made nothing but 'rosy' predictions about Iraq. Snow said that isn't true."

In Saturday's briefing, Mr. Snow said: "A lot of people are thinking, aha, what you have are a lot of military people in open revolt against the President, when, in fact, you've got a lot of Gannett editorial writers, which would be thoroughly consistent with USA Today and the rest of the Gannett chain."

And, aha, that is what many spun the editorial to be - a mutiny. In fact, Mr. Budowsky said of the vice-president, "(he) acts like Captain Queeg, claiming preposterously that he was always right, demanding that we stay the course with this catastrophic policy."

For anyone who is familiar with the fictional character, Philip Francis Queeg, in Herman Wouk's 1951 novel, or the 1954 movie, "The Caine Mutiny;" it is a reference that is a little over the top. Yet, all too often, it is ad hominem drivel like this that is offered for what the left suggests is a learned and respectful debate over the future of our plans in Iraq.

The editorial goes on to quote U. S. Army Gen. John Abizaid totally out of context and then, for that special touch, brings up The New York Times.

In an attempt to manipulate a synthetic momentum, the editorial says: "Now, however, a new chorus of criticism is beginning to resonate. Active-duty military leaders are starting to voice misgivings about the war's planning, execution and dimming prospects for success."

To which on Saturday, the Military Times itself reported that Department of Defense spokesman Bryan Whitman said, "the new 'chorus of criticism' noted by the editorials is actually old news and does not include commanders in the field, who remain committed to the mission..The assertion, without evidence, that senior military officers are 'toeing the line' is an insult to their judgment and integrity."

With the mid-term elections over, the time has come for an intelligent conversation to commence as to how we can defend the security of our nation, support our fighting men and women in uniform and arrive at what is the best and most prudent plan of action against an enemy that is proving resourceful, persevering and determined to kill all of us.

Meanwhile, since I share the same rights as the Military Times, for which men and women in uniform have died; I say Secretary Rumsfeld must stay; it is the editors of the Military Times who need to go.

Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster: E-mail him at: kdayhoff@carr.org



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