Thursday, November 09, 2006

Rummy Was Never Appreciated

Don Rumsfeld is out as we all probably know by now. Now I can hear all the folks screaming and yelling that it is too late, that he is a war criminal, etc. etc. The one general who matters who I have not heard from is General Tommy Franks who was head of CENTCOMM which covers basically the entire Middle East and the 'Stans; Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, etc.

Franks operated out of his offices in Tampa, Florida, and I never heard him on television or in his book say anything negative about Rummy. Franks, was the General in charge that led the invasion of Afghanistan and then later Iraq. Him and Rumsfeld worked together to develop a plan to wage war inside these two nations.

Prior to 9/11 Rumsfeld was in the process of reforming the military into a force that would be capable of fighting in the way that wars would be fought in the future. The days of mass invasions were over, he believed, and the days of relying mostly on Special Forces was the new way to wage warfare. This was done successfully in Afghanistan. The U.S. relied heavily on the locals, mostly the anti-Taliban fighters, known as the Northern Alliance. Although Secretary of State Colin Powell wanted a 500,000 invasion force for Iraq, Franks and Rumsfeld went with a force much smaller, but still substantial at around 150,000.

Overall I liked Rumsfeld, with some mixed feelings, but a time for change had come and was probably overdue. But to besmirch this man's good name as he served his country in the Navy during the 1950s is really out of line. He was the oldest and youngest man to hold the position of Secretary of Defense. The man loved his country and did the best he could. Nothing like Monday morning quarterbacks to make him out to be a pariah!

Rumsfeld has a personality that I generally don't gravitate to. He is, in sports parlances, similar to Bill Parcells, Pat Reilly, and Bobby Knight, three guys I can't stand. Although Reilly is a bit more congenial as opposed to the other two men who exude arrogance at seemingly every moment.

Rummy was an in-your-face type of guy, he got up five days a week and played squash first thing in the morning, at the age of 74 no less.

From what I have read over the years, the generals in the military generally don't like the whole idea of Special Forces. Some of the traditionalists see it as too much like Rambo. But things change, the world has changed. There is no more Soviet Union but a much more fragmented enemy.

I kind of feel bad for Rumsfeld, but he's got plenty of money and has been incredibly successful in life. But he took an endless amount of criticism since he was sworn in five years ago. He got no credit for the good that was done in Afghanistan, or Iraq for that matter.

History, will view this man favorably and will see him as a visionary, hardheaded yes, but not a stupid man. I think he will actually be missed when all is said and done.

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