Earlier, I recalled the revolting group of generals that Democrats proudly trotted out earlier this year. At the time, I likened them to new Praetorians. Guess what? They're baaaack. Today, a couple of generals are going to attack Donald Rumsfeld. Their "testimony" has already been given to the press in advance of the "hearings" the Democrats are throwing.
"I believe that Secretary Rumsfeld and others in the administration did not tell the American people the truth for fear of losing support for the war in Iraq," retired Maj. Gen. John R. S. Batiste said in remarks prepared for a hearing by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee.
A second witness, retired Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, is expected to assess Rumsfeld as "incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically …."
"Mr. Rumsfeld and his immediate team must be replaced or we will see two more years of extraordinarily bad decision-making," said his testimony prepared for the hearing, to be held six weeks before the Nov. 7 midterm elections in which the war is a central issue.
The conflict, now in its fourth year, has claimed the lives of more than 2,600 American troops and cost more than $300 billion.
Sen. Byron Dorgan (news, bio, voting record), D-N.D., the committee chairman, told reporters last week that he hoped the hearing would shed light on the planning and conduct of the war. He said majority Republicans had failed to conduct hearings on the issue, adding, "if they won't … we will."
Since he spoke, a government-produced National Intelligence Estimate became public that concluded the war has helped create a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Several members of the Senate Democratic leadership were expected to participate in the hearing. Dorgan said Republican lawmakers had been invited.
Even before the session convened, Republicans counter-attacked.
"Today's stunt may rile up the liberal base, but it won't kill a single terrorist or prevent a single attack," Sen. Mitch McConnell (news, bio, voting record), R-Ky., said in a statement. He called Rumsfeld an "excellent secretary of defense."
It is unusual for retired military officers to criticize thewhile military operations are under way, particularly at a public event likely to draw widespread media attention.
But Batiste, Eaton and retired Col. Paul X. Hammes were unsparing in remarks that suggested deep anger at the way the military had been treated. All three served in Iraq, and Batiste also was senior military assistant to then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.
Everyone, especially Democrats and the left, should be very concerned about politicized military officers. This is about the worst thing we could encourage. Besides rogue intelligence agents, of course. This country has been one of the few nations in history that has kept its military out of politics. Do we really want that to change? Really? Better think hard about this folks.