April 18, 2006

Politics As Unusual

Hatched by Dafydd

The newest wrinkle in the "Seven Days In April" (Tony Blankley's term) conspiracy of generals to unseat Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (and hurt Republicans in the November elections) brings the essentially political nature of the rebellion into sharp focus. Oddly, though it's a day old, it's still not being reported in American mainstream news media -- at least not as I write this.

Brit Hume mentioned on Special Report yesterday that the newest addition to the Griping Generals is none other than former NATO commander and former Democratic presidential candidate Gen. Wesley Clark. But I can't find that news on any American news feed (via Google News search; I don't subscribe to the hideously overpriced LexisNexis)... not even on FoxNews.com.

It's reported in foreign news sources, however. ABC News Australia:

A former commander of NATO, Wesley Clark, has joined six other retired United States generals in calling for the resignation of the US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld.

He says Mr Rumsfeld has also lost the confidence of some serving officers, because of his handling of the war in Iraq and because they believe Mr Rumsfeld does not listen to advice.

General Clark, who was a candidate for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 2004, said Mr Rumsfeld had pushed the US into war in Iraq, before the diplomatic process had ended.

But you won't find it by searching abcnews.go.com here.

The Guardian has it, though they fail to note the political significance:

Mr Rumsfeld's position became more tenuous after six retired generals called for him to quit, followed by the revelation he was "personally involved" in "degrading and abusive" treatment of a Guantánamo Bay detainee, according to an internal military inquiry. On Saturday General Wesley Clark became the seventh ex-commander calling for him to go.

The Guardian misses the fact that Clark is not just an "ex-commander," he was also a candidate for president on the Democratic ticket.

And here's the Beeb, which highlights what the Guardian skipped:

Ex-Nato commander Gen Wesley Clark, who ran for the Democrat presidential nomination in 2004, backed calls for Mr Rumsfeld to resign....

Gen Clark said in a television interview: "I believe secretary Rumsfeld hasn't done an adequate job. He should go."

Gen Clark said he believed Mr Rumsfeld, along with Vice-President Dick Cheney, had helped push the Iraq invasion when there was "no connection with the war on terror".

Gen Clark said the secretary had lost the confidence of some officers in the military who were asking for "somebody in the military chain of command who will listen".

Gen Clark has been a frequent critic of the Bush administration's Iraq policy.

So what is the political component here? Why do we say the addition of Candidate Clark changes the complexion of the criticism? Because it makes it clearer than ever that this is a political revolt against Republican policy, driven by the Democratic Party -- not the concerns of unbiased military professionals.

The leadership role played by Gen. Anthony Zinni -- who, according to Fred Barnes, organized this political stunt by actually telephoning generals to talk them into joining the rebellion -- already pointed towards the real core of dissent, as opposed to the stated reasons: they're unhappy with the 2004 election results and hope to do better in November.

Big Lizards has noted the intensely political nature of Gen. Zinni's opposition to Rumsfeld from our first post on this subject. Zinni is widely expected to be Rumsfeld's replacement if John Kerry wins election in 2008; other Democrats might also consider him. Zinni opposed the "unnecessary" Iraq War from Day-1; he has repeatedly said that sanctions against Saddam Hussein were working and keeping him "in his box."

In 2000, Zinni himself said that Iraq had WMD, active WMD programs, and that there was a danger that terrorists could get WMD from Iraq and other state sponsors of terrorism. But starting just before the 2004 election, Zinni began claiming the opposite, that the Bush administration manipulated pre-war intelligence on WMD to manufacture casus belli.

We noted how the Democrats immediately began using the talking points generated for them by the Gripers to attack the Bush administration. And now the mask is off: a once and Democratic candidate openly joins the ranks of the Gripers.

I believe the Democrats have once again overplayed their hand, as at the Paul Wellstone memorial. When the Gripers only comprised generals who had actually served under Rumsfeld, they could be portrayed as simply worried and concerned that Rumsfeld was screwing up the war.

When General Zinni emerged as the ringleader, however, that started to make clear the political motivation of the group (as well as making the generals themselves seem like sock puppets)... but only to those who followed politics closely enough to know who Zinni was in the 1990s and could be in 2009.

And with the emergency of Wesley Clark, light dawns. Even the most casual follower of current events should remember that Clark ran for president as a Democrat in 2004 then withdrew and campaigned for John Kerry; that he was the preferred candidate of Michael Moore and most of the Hollywood lefties; that he opposed the Iraq War even before it began, testifying against it before Congress in 2002; and that he touts himself as a "progressive" from Little Rock, Arkansas.

Clark should now seize the mantle of "spokesman" from Zinni; Clark is unquestionably the best-known member of the Grumbling Gripers, and one would think that he can get "face time" more easily than Zinni. But the curious reluctance of the antique media even to mention that Clark is now part if the mob seems peculiar... does it mean the MSM realizes how this changes the tenor of the revolt from concerned-but-loyal troops to partisan hacks feeding talking points to the Democratic Party? Or are they just being slow on the uptake, as so often in recent years?

Since the 1960s, the New Left has followed a deliberate policy of infiltration and subversion of great American institutions, twisting them into front groups for "the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party": newspapers and television news, movies and television entertainment, schools (public and private), the clergy of several major religions, the Girl Scouts (they're still trying to get inside the Boy Scouts), corporate America, the Civil Rights movement, the AMA and APA, and so forth.

In this, they are only following in the footsteps of the Master, for such subversion was an integral part of the worldwide Communist subversion of the 1930s through the 1950s, the Stalinist period. (The red-diaper babies of the New Left, from the Port Huron Statement on, have basically been Luddite Stalinists, more radical than their pro-industry Communist parents. Their "useful idiots" are progressives, such as Zinni, Clark, Sen. Russell Feingold (D-WI), and the like.)

It is now clear that they have infiltrated and subverted at least some portion of the military, reaching all the way up to the highest rank (Zinni and Clark are both four-stars). There exists now a slice of the United States Army and the United States Marine Corps that is in fact the military branch of the Democratic Party. They serve the Party, not the country; although the public face comprises entirely retired general officers, they claim they have many allies within the active-duty ranks... and there is no reason to doubt that they do.

Certainly Tony Blankley buys it, per a column from which I got that catchy phrase "Seven Days In April" up top (hat tip, Scott Johnson at Power Line). Blankley references and quotes from a Washington Post column by former ambassador to the UN Richard Holbrooke:

First, it is clear that the retired generals -- six so far, with more likely to come -- surely are speaking for many of their former colleagues, friends and subordinates who are still inside.... Retired Marine Lt. Gen. Greg Newbold, who was director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the planning period for the war in Iraq, made this clear in an extraordinary, at times emotional, article in Time magazine this past week when he said he was writing "with the encouragement of some still in positions of military leadership." He went on to "challenge those still in uniform . . . to give voice to those who can't -- or don't have the opportunity to -- speak."

Holbrooke is a relentless Democratic campaigner; President Clinton seriously considered him for Secretary of State to replace the retiring Warren Christopher (Clinton picked Madeleine Allbright instead). Holbrooke goes on in that column to insist the generals "are not newly minted doves or covert Democrats." He does not claim, however, that they are not overt Democrats; and indeed, the two ringleaders assuredly are. The rest repeat earlier Democratic talking points (such as that there was "no post-war planning"). [Hat tip to commenter jd watson, who spotted an error in the succession order of Clinton's two Secretaries of State. - the Mgt.]

Holbrooke makes clear his own sympathy with this group of revolting retired and active-duty generals:

The major reason the nation needs a new defense secretary is far more urgent. Put simply, the failed strategies in Iraq and Afghanistan cannot be fixed as long as Rumsfeld remains at the epicenter of the chain of command.

Tony Blankley wonders whether a conspiracy among active-duty generals to retire, one by one, and then immediately denounce the Bush administration and the Secretary of Defense, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and Republicans in general might constitute a crime, either under the federal civilian law or the UCMJ:

A "revolt" of several American generals against the secretary of defense (and by implication against the president)? Admittedly, if each general first retires and then speaks out, there would appear to be no violation of law.

But if active generals in a theater of war are planning such a series of events, they may be illegally conspiring together to do that which would be legal if done without agreement. And Ambassador Holbrooke's article is -- if it is not a fiction (which I doubt it is) -- strong evidence of such an agreement. Of course, a conspiracy is merely an agreement against public policy.

Big Lizards is less concerned about that aspect (does Blankley suggest that Alberto Gonzales begin issuing arrest warrants?) than we are curious whether anyone will actually believe in such a drip, drip, drip of sudden and "independent" resignations and denunciamentos -- or whether, with each new "falling star," the public will grow more and more skeptical of the political independence of the group.

Especially when it is led by Wesley Clark, the man who would be president.

Big Lizards anticipates the latter: as we implied a few posts ago and mention supra, the Democrats have yet again overplayed their hand. But then, like the scorpion and the frog, it is their nature to do so.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, April 18, 2006, at the time of 4:51 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this hissing: http://biglizards.net/mt3.36/earendiltrack.cgi/672


The following hissed in response by: Don

Has General Clark mentioned that he came first in his class in every school he ever attended yet?

He has you know. I forget how many times he reminded us of that fact during 2003-2004, but lots.

It must make his unusually popular among his fellow generals, I think.

The above hissed in response by: Don [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 18, 2006 5:18 PM

The following hissed in response by: Don

Clark for Dicta er {er, President)!

The above hissed in response by: Don [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 18, 2006 5:20 PM

The following hissed in response by: MarkD

Did I dream the last election results?

Weasely Clark didn't even get the Democrat nomination. That other military genius, John Kerry did, but he didn't win the election either.

Memo to losers: You have as much right to pick the Secretary of Defense as I do.

The above hissed in response by: MarkD [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 18, 2006 6:46 PM

The following hissed in response by: justphishing


This excerpt is from Thomas P.M. Barnett's article in the July 2005 edition of Esquire:

The wire brush is an integral tool Rumsfeld uses in his deep dives.

Giving someone the wire brush means chewing them out, typically in a public way that's demeaning to their stature. It's pinning their ears back, throwing out question after question you know they can't answer correctly and then attacking every single syllable they toss up from their defensive crouch. It's verbal bullying at its best, and when you're a ranking civilian and we're talking some military officer, you can certainly get your rocks off doing it because—hey—they have to take it from you, what with civilian control and all. Plus, there's a certain brand of military officer who really keeps it in—really tight inside. Those guys you can play like a fiddle.

Rumsfeld has created enemies in the ranks with this tactic, and during the Afghanistan campaign, he wire-brushed someone big right out of the service. Marine Lieutenant General Greg Newbold held the all-important position of J-3 on the Joint Staff during that war, meaning he was the flag officer overseeing combat operations from the Pentagon. In that role he routinely briefed the press on the progress of the war. One day, he announced that the Taliban had been "eviscerated." Immediately signaling Rumsfeld's displeasure at this potentially explosive choice of words, General Richard Myers, who had recently been named chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, "We were surprised that a marine even knew what eviscerated meant."

Newbold knew he was in for it. Soon after, he was jerked back from press briefings and replaced by a more savvy Navy admiral. Subjected to some intense wire-brushing, Newbold chose to end his military career by requesting early retirement. Later asked about Rumsfeld's "abusive" ways, Newbold cited an even bigger concern: that Rumsfeld's tough style intimidated some generals from doing their jobs right. As he put it, "If the environment's intimidating and suppressive, if it demeans, people tend to clam up."

Note that Lt Gen Newbold was saying the same thing before July 2005 as he's saying now. However not all Generals thought "deep diving" and "wire brushing" were bad things; some thought they were good, and that they motivated people to be better prepared and think things through more carefully.

Zinni is a different story; he has always been anti-war and probably now has the same mental disease as Chris Matthews, who is incapable of looking at facts and making logical conclusions - a problem that I don't think he has always had. You probably know what I'm talking about and already have a name for the condition.

OIF Distraught Distortion Syndrome (ODDS)?

Zinni is overlooking the fact that Rumsfeld did not make any recommendations to go to war and did not predict what the outcome would be (I got this from Woodward's book). His angst is directed at the wrong person and he either has ODDS or Political Ambitions (PA)

My blog site is Gone Phishing - it has a new look and uses your suggestions - I wanted to include more quotes but couldn't find the Bob Woodward "Plan of Attack " book that I read and used in my post.

The above hissed in response by: justphishing [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 18, 2006 8:00 PM

The following hissed in response by: jd watson

Just a minor quibble: Clinton did not appoint Warren Christopher to replace Madeleine Albright. Christopher was Sec. of State from Jan. 20, 1993 to Jan. 17, 1997 (Clinton's first term) and was succeeded by Madeleine Albright, who served from Jan. 23, 1997 to Jan. 20, 2001 (Clinton's second term).

The above hissed in response by: jd watson [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 18, 2006 8:45 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


Ack! I knew that; I somehow inverted the two.

I've made the correction... thanks, JD!


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 18, 2006 9:09 PM

The following hissed in response by: Don

Did I dream the last election results?

No. You don't understand. Had the class been graded properly Wesley Clark would have been nominated by the Democratic Party and then elected President. The fact that you and may think otherwise only goes to show that we are stupid cretins less than the dust beneath his (jack)boots.....

The above hissed in response by: Don [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 19, 2006 4:22 AM

The following hissed in response by: Don

Wesley Clark is not only the most brilliant man now living - he is even more brilliant than Al Gore - brilliant though Gore may be as the inventor of the internet and all.

Did I mention that General Clark has come first in everything he has ever done? Except Kosovo, but let's not mention that.

The above hissed in response by: Don [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 19, 2006 4:29 AM

The following hissed in response by: Jabba the Tutt

General Clark was such a bonehead, that even his fellow Arkansan Bill Clinton fired him. Nothing is sacred to the Democrats anymore in their grasping for power, they've now politicized the Corps of Generals. Disgusting and it's harmful to the country. But they don't care, if it gets themselves closer to power. I for one, will never vote for a Democrat, who can't prove his opposed and fought against the activities of his fellow Democrats.

The above hissed in response by: Jabba the Tutt [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 19, 2006 4:36 AM

The following hissed in response by: Don

Wesley Clark even wrote his own campaign song. A sampling:

" Some people say I'm egotistical,
but they're not really sure what that means,
I guess it has something to do with the way
that I pull on my skin-tight fatigues"

The above hissed in response by: Don [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 19, 2006 6:50 AM

The following hissed in response by: www.gringoman.com

The Democs, the revolting Generals and the cheerleading MSM want Rumsfeld out, or at least say they want him out and not just twisting in their wind. Who is being proposed as exciting new SecDef blood? I must have missed it. Who can help?

(New cartoon in gringo color: 'Nanny Man & Mullah Man')

The above hissed in response by: www.gringoman.com [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 19, 2006 7:28 AM

The following hissed in response by: Don

What about Wesley Clark? I'd suggest Joe Leiberman but Leiberman is just too GOP for words...

The above hissed in response by: Don [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 19, 2006 8:12 AM

The following hissed in response by: Big D

I saw Clark give a speech in person once. He had this curious habit of telling a story that happened to someone he knew...yet at some point in the story he always became the star. For example: "I knew a general once who, when he retired, went to his car in the parking lot and sat in the back seat waiting for his driver...and as I sat there waiting, I realized that I would have to drive myself..." This was not done in a humorous way, but in a way that made him seem...confused...disconnected...It happened several times during a relatively short speech. I left thinking he was an interesting guy (as in "that waiter with a hunchback sure is interesting"), but completely out of it.

The above hissed in response by: Big D [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 19, 2006 9:59 AM

The following hissed in response by: Don

We have not been radical enough. The Generals should add to the chorus calling on Cheney to resign for being a bad shot.

I was going to suggest that General Clark replace Vice President Cheney and General Zinni replace Rumsfeld - but on second thought I fail to see why we need Zinni. Clark can do both jobs.

Nevertheless let's offer General Zinni the honor of placing General Clark in nomination. Excerpts from a speech I wrote for General Zinni:

"....... profoundly wise, surpassingly handsome, and strong enough to bear any job a grateful nation may impose. But enough about me.

We are here today to nominate General Clark for Vice President and to be Secretary of Defense. I can only do so by comparing him to great military leaders from our nation's illustrious past. This is a soldier with the strategic vision of Joseph Hooker, the tactical acumen of Ambrose Burnside, the loyalty of Benedict Arnold, the modesty of Douglas MacArthur, and the retiring manner of George Patton. This man has worn exceedingly tight pants in his nation's service for many year, I can say no more. With that I give you General Wesley Clark! "

The above hissed in response by: Don [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 19, 2006 11:57 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman

former commander of NATO, Wesley Clark

The blinding intellect that ordered NATO troops to take Pristna away from the Russians??


General Clark's plan was blocked by General Sir Mike Jackson, K-For's British commander.

"I'm not going to start the Third World War for you," he reportedly told General Clark during one heated exchange

The above hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 19, 2006 3:38 PM

The following hissed in response by: Don

Yes Dan. After Clark replaces Cheney then Bush can be prevailed upon to step down and the results of the 2004 election will be as they ought to have been.

The above hissed in response by: Don [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 19, 2006 7:43 PM

Post a comment

Thanks for hissing in, . Now you can slither in with a comment, o wise. (sign out)

(If you haven't hissed a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Hang loose; don't shed your skin!)

Remember me unto the end of days?

© 2005-2009 by Dafydd ab Hugh - All Rights Reserved