The New Yorker: Fact
Offense and Defense:
The battle between Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon.
  by Seymour M. Hersh (if given)
April 7, 2003 (posted 3/31/03)


Minister of Attacking Poor Starving Countries Donald Rumsfeld's public 
behavior is that of a supremely arrogant and self-satisfied man. He 
obviously dearly loves being in charge -- and knows he deserves to be. He 
has little patience with adversarial questions from reporters, dismissing 
them with the hardly disguised contempt of someone who considers himself 
better-informed and more intelligent than his questioners. The word "smug" 
comes to mind.

Well, it turns out that, apparently, he treats generals the same way he 
treats reporters. According to Seymour Hersh, one of the most respected 
reporters on military affairs, Rumsfeld has decided that he knows better 
than the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the other commanders how to run the 
war against Iraq:

> Rumsfeld's team took over crucial aspects of the day-to-day 
> logistical planning -- traditionally, an area in which the 
> uniformed military excels -- and Rumsfeld repeatedly overruled 
> the senior Pentagon planners on the Joint Staff, the operating 
> arm of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "He thought he knew better," 
> one senior planner said. "He was the decision-maker at every 
> turn."

Rumsfeld's main disagreement was with the size of the forces the generals 
wanted to use:

> [The generals' war plan] was repeatedly updated and presented 
> to Rumsfeld, and each time, according to the planner, Rumsfeld 
> said, "'You've got too much ground force -- go back and do it 
> again.'" In the planner's view, Rumsfeld had two goals: to 
> demonstrate the efficacy of precision bombing and to "do the 
> war on the cheap."

Although Hersh doesn't point this out, Rumsfeld is an ex-Navy pilot, which 
has apparently colored his ideas about war. He has a long history of 
pushing for air power: in an earlier incarnation as Gerald Ford's 
Secretary of War (the youngest in history), he was the most vociferous 
advocate for the adoption of the B-1 bomber. The B-1 was an enormous 
boondoggle that had to be redesigned from top to bottom -- at a cost of 
billions -- before its long-delayed deployment, after which it was 
discovered that its hugely expensive electronic countermeasures weren't 
good enough to allow it to be used for its primary mission: penetrating 
Soviet airspace to bomb targets there. (That hasn't stopped it from being 
used in the current war against the Iraqis -- their air defenses, never 
close to the level of those of the Soviet Union, have been pounded 
mercilessly for years by U.S. warplanes, and any new weapons or spare 
parts have had to be smuggled in because of the 12-year-long blockade. 
Rumsfeld must feel vindicated at last.)

Hersh says that Rumsfeld rejected the general's complicated, highly 
refined logistical plan for deploying forces against Iraq.

> When it was initially presented to Rumsfeld last year for his 
> approval, it called for the involvement of a wide range of 
> forces from the different armed services, including four or 
> more Army divisions. Rumsfeld rejected the package, because it 
> was "too big," the Pentagon planner said. He insisted that a 
> smaller, faster-moving attack force, combined with overwhelming 
> air power, would suffice. Rumsfeld further stunned the Joint 
> Staff by insisting that he would control the timing and flow of 
> Army and Marine troops to the combat zone. Such decisions are 
> known in the military as R.F.F.s -- requests for forces. He, 
> and not the generals, would decide which unit would go when 
> and where.

Any student of military history must see this as monumental hubris. It's 
reminiscent of Adolf Hitler's insistence on micromanaging his generals, 
which led to a series of blunders resulting in huge defeats.

As a result of Rumsfeld's insistence on relying on airpower to "shock 
and awe" the Iraqis into surrender, and his interference in logistical 
planning, U.S. forces in Iraq are now stretched thin. Their supply lines 
are long and vulnerable, and they don't have enough men or equipment to 
defend them from constant attacks by guerillas (referred to as "terrorists" 
by the Imperium and their lackeys in the press):

> According to a dozen or so military men I spoke to, Rumsfeld 
> simply failed to anticipate the consequences of protracted 
> warfare. He put Army and Marine units in the field with few 
> reserves and an insufficient number of tanks and other armored 
> vehicles. (The military men say that the vehicles that they do 
> have have been pushed too far and are malfunctioning.) ... 
> "It's a stalemate now," the former intelligence official told 
> me. "It's going to remain one only if we can maintain our 
> supply lines. The carriers are going to run out of JDAMs" -- 
> the satellite-guided bombs that have been striking targets in 
> Baghdad and elsewhere with extraordinary accuracy. Much of the 
> supply of Tomahawk guided missiles has been expended. "The 
> Marines are worried as hell," the former intelligence official 
> went on. "They're all committed, with no reserves, and they've 
> never run the LAVs" -- light armored vehicles -- "as long and 
> as hard" as they have in Iraq. There are serious maintenance 
> problems as well. "The only hope is that they can hold out 
> until reinforcements come."

This is not to say that Imperial forces in Iraq are facing defeat -- there 
is too much at stake for Rumsfeld and the Emperor to allow that to happen, 
no matter what the cost in blood and treasure. It does mean, however, that 
they may suffer serious damage at the hands of an entire country that has 
ungratefully rejected the U.S. attempt to liberate it. The Iraqi forces are 
pathetically ill-equipped compared with those of the United State. But 
apparently they have been training for 12 years for this war, and they have 
taken to heart the lessons of the first Gulf War. In addition, they have 
the support of the population, which has endured with great suffering 12 
years of malnutrition and deprivation as the direct result of the U.S. 
blockade of their country and which is armed to the teeth, to boot. This 
is another serious miscalculation by Rumsfeld and his neo-Trot acolytes, 
who predicted popular uprisings against the hated Saddam.

If the looming disaster comes to pass, it will be interesting to see how it 
is treated by our informal Ministry of Truth, the News Media: How will it 
be spun? And how long will it take before the press lapdogs turn on the 
haughty, superannuated Whiz Kid, and tear him to pieces?

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