In the Washington Post, former Secretary of Defense (to Nixon, so it doesn't really count) Melvin Laird and former assistant to three (count 'em!) secretaries of Defense Robert Pursley ask of the various retired generals attacking Don "Rummy" Rumsfeld, "Why Are They Speaking Up Now?"
The short answer? They're living in an incredibly shitty Michael Cimino movie (not The Deer Hunter, which features the great George Dzundza at his dzundziest, but Year of the Dragon, which features Mickey Rourke as a semi-psycho vet who never really made it back from Danang).
The ghost of Vietnam may be whispering to these retired generals, who understandably want to guarantee that military wisdom is never again trampled by political expediency.
But don't get the idea these guys are in the tank for Rummy. They grant that the Bob McNamara-looking secretary, like all the popes of Rome until 1870, is not "infallible." Still, they know treason when they hear it on CNN:
In speaking out now, they may think they are doing a service by adding to the reasoned debate. But the enemy does not understand or appreciate reasoned public debate. It is perceived as a sign of weakness and lack of resolve.
Which does make us wonder: Who again is exactly the enemy in Iraq?
And didn't George H.W. "Poppy" Bush exorcise the "ghost of Vietnam" when he "kick[ed] a little ass" in the 1984 [corrected] Vice-Presidential Debate with Geraldine Ferraro?
Whole bit here.
Me? I'm waiting for the retired generals in the Kiss Army to weigh in before making a decision on Rumsfeld.
Serious geopolitical question: Did the Swedish Kiss Army remain neutral during the Great Rock 'N' Roll Wars of the 20th century?