"We Will Win Every Fight, and Lose the War"


So says Col. Paul Hughes, the former U.S. director of strategic planning in Baghdad, in this Washington Post article about military dissatisfaction with Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and the war leadership. Surprisingly sharp criticism, on and off the record. Excerpt:

Some officers say the place to begin restructuring U.S. policy is by ousting Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, whom they see as responsible for a series of strategic and tactical blunders over the past year. Several of those interviewed said a profound anger is building within the Army at Rumsfeld and those around him.

A senior general at the Pentagon said he believes the United States is already on the road to defeat. "It is doubtful we can go on much longer like this," he said. "The American people may not stand for it—and they should not."

Why so anonymous? Here's one explanation:

Also, some say they believe that Rumsfeld and other top civilians punish public dissent. Senior officers frequently cite what they believe was the vindictive treatment of then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric K. Shinseki after he said early in 2003 that the administration was underestimating the number of U.S. troops that would be required to occupy postwar Iraq.

And at the end of the story, there's this little exchange:

A Special Forces officer aimed higher, saying that, "Rumsfeld needs to go, as does Wolfowitz."

Asked about such antagonism, Wolfowitz said, "I wish they'd have the—whatever it takes—to come tell me to my face."