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Rumsfeld Rebuked by Retired Generals - Ex-Iraq Commander Calls for Resignation-merged

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Rumsfeld Rebuked by Retired Generals - Ex-Iraq Commander Calls for Resignation-merged

Old 04-13-06, 06:11 AM
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Rumsfeld Rebuked by Retired Generals - Ex-Iraq Commander Calls for Resignation-merged

The Washington Post

By Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writer

The retired commander of key forces in Iraq called yesterday for Donald H. Rumsfeld to step down, joining several other former top military commanders who have harshly criticized the defense secretary's authoritarian style for making the military's job more difficult.

"I think we need a fresh start" at the top of the Pentagon, retired Army Maj. Gen. John Batiste, who commanded the 1st Infantry Division in Iraq in 2004-2005, said in an interview. "We need leadership up there that respects the military as they expect the military to respect them. And that leadership needs to understand teamwork."

Batiste noted that many of his peers feel the same way. "It speaks volumes that guys like me are speaking out from retirement about the leadership climate in the Department of Defense," he said earlier yesterday on CNN.

Batiste's comments resonate especially within the Army: It is widely known there that he was offered a promotion to three-star rank to return to Iraq and be the No. 2 U.S. military officer there but he declined because he no longer wished to serve under Rumsfeld. Also, before going to Iraq, he worked at the highest level of the Pentagon, serving as the senior military assistant to Paul D. Wolfowitz, then the deputy secretary of defense.

Batiste said he believes that the administration's handling of the Iraq war has violated fundamental military principles, such as unity of command and unity of effort. In other interviews, Batiste has said he thinks the violation of another military principle -- ensuring there are enough forces -- helped create the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal by putting too much responsibility on incompetent officers and undertrained troops.

His comments follow similar recent high-profile attacks on Rumsfeld by three other retired flag officers, amid indications that many of their peers feel the same way.

"We won't get fooled again," retired Marine Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold, who held the key post of director of operations on the staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2000 to 2002, wrote in an essay in Time magazine this week. Listing a series of mistakes such as "McNamara-like micromanagement," a reference to the Vietnam War-era secretary of defense, Newbold called for "replacing Rumsfeld and many others unwilling to fundamentally change their approach."

Last month, another top officer who served in Iraq, retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times in which he called Rumsfeld "incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically." Eaton, who oversaw the training of Iraqi army troops in 2003-2004, said that "Mr. Rumsfeld must step down."

Also, retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, a longtime critic of Rumsfeld and the administration's handling of the Iraq war, has been more vocal lately as he publicizes a new book, "The Battle for Peace."

"The problem is that we've wasted three years" in Iraq, said Zinni, who was the chief of the U.S. Central Command, which oversees Iraq and the rest of the Middle East, in the late 1990s. He added that he "absolutely" thinks Rumsfeld should resign.

On Tuesday, Gen. Peter Pace, who is the first Marine to serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, attempted to tamp down the revolt of the retired generals. No officers were muzzled during the planning of the invasion of Iraq, he said.

"We had then and have now every opportunity to speak our minds, and if we do not, shame on us," he said at a Pentagon briefing. "The articles that are out there about folks not speaking up are just flat wrong."

Lawrence T. Di Rita, a counselor to the Defense Department, disagreed with the retired generals' characterizations of Rumsfeld's style. "People are entitled to their opinions. What they are not entitled to is their own facts. . . . The assertions about inadequate exposure to military judgment are just fundamentally incorrect," he said.

Other retired generals said they think it is unlikely that the denunciations of Rumsfeld and his aides will cease.

"A lot of them are hugely frustrated," in part because Rumsfeld gave the impression that "military advice was neither required nor desired" in the planning for the Iraq war, said retired Lt. Gen. Wallace Gregson, who until last year commanded Marine forces in the Pacific Theater. He said he is sensing much anger among Americans over the administration's handling of the war and thinks the continuing criticism from military professionals will fuel that anger as the November elections approach. He declined to discuss his own views.

Another retired officer, Army Maj. Gen. John Riggs, said he believes that his peer group is "a pretty closemouthed bunch" but that, even so, his sense is "everyone pretty much thinks Rumsfeld and the bunch around him should be cleared out."

He emphatically agrees, Riggs said, explaining that he believes Rumsfeld and his advisers have "made fools of themselves, and totally underestimated what would be needed for a sustained conflict."

Military experts expressed some concern about the new outspokenness of retired generals.

"I think it flatly is a bad thing," said Richard H. Kohn, a military historian at the University of North Carolina who writes frequently on civilian-military relations. He said he worries that it could undermine civilian control of the military, especially by making civilian leaders feel that that they need to be careful about what they say around officers, for fear of being denounced as soon as they retire.

"How can you prosecute a war if the military and civilians don't trust each other?" Kohn asked.

Also, the generals themselves may be partly to blame for the situation in Iraq, along with Rumsfeld and the White House, said Michael Vickers, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a Washington think tank.

"It's just absurd to lay the blame on Don Rumsfeld alone," he said.

____________________

Retired Maj. Gen. John Batiste, now president of Klein Steel Service in Rochester, N.Y., was in Iraq until February 2005 and never turned down a reporter seeking an embed. He had the right approach: "You have to take a risk. We owe to the citizens of our country to tell them what is going on. I share everything with embeds. I never regretted taking them into my confidence."

Last edited by classicman2; 04-13-06 at 07:57 AM.
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Old 04-13-06, 06:57 AM
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The road to advancement in the military under bush - Pace being an example - is to be a yes-man and cheerleader, even in the face of failure.
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Old 04-13-06, 07:06 AM
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Just a question, for the sake of context - do Generals (retired or on active duty) usually have a positive opinion about the Secretary of Defense?
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Old 04-13-06, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
Just a question, for the sake of context - do Generals (retired or on active duty) usually have a positive opinion about the Secretary of Defense?
Probably not!

However, when 2 theater level generals and a number of divisional level generals are critical, I believe something is amiss.

Mammal,

All CJCOS are 'rah-rah' men. It goes with the job. If you hold the top military job in the U. S., you can't be critical of your civilian bosses. This is not a peculiarity with the George W. Bush administration. It certainly was present when Bill Clinton was president.

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Old 04-13-06, 07:57 AM
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Definitely a cause for concern.

I probably wouldn't mind a fresh face, depending on who the replacement would be.
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Old 04-13-06, 08:00 AM
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c-man, do you think the Joint Chiefs were the ones to leak the bunker busting nuke theory to the press or was it someone lower down the food chain in the Pentagon?

A agree that once you get onto the Joint Chiefs, you are in as much of a political position as a military position.
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Old 04-13-06, 08:05 AM
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It might have been one of JCOS, but I'm more inclined to believe it was someone a little lower down - not much lower though.

I wonder how many military higher-ups who absolutely oppose it will resign? Apparently a few already have.
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Old 04-13-06, 09:59 AM
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Methinks there is a good amount of monday morning quarterbacking going on here, along with a healthy dose of covering one's own ass. However, I agree with the basic point, Mr. Rumsfeld should step down at this point.
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Old 04-13-06, 10:07 AM
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Bush seems to be unable to recognize incompetence in subordinates. For a CEO, that's a fatal flaw.
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Old 04-13-06, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Pharoh
Methinks there is a good amount of monday morning quarterbacking going on here, along with a healthy dose of covering one's own ass. However, I agree with the basic point, Mr. Rumsfeld should step down at this point.
I never thought I would see this post.
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Old 04-13-06, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Pharoh
Methinks there is a good amount of monday morning quarterbacking going on here, along with a healthy dose of covering one's own ass. However, I agree with the basic point, Mr. Rumsfeld should step down at this point.
I could understand it if there were one, two, or three who were doing the complaining. However, when the plethora of them complain...........

Even Tommy Franks had problems, and Tommy has problems with nobody.
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Old 04-13-06, 01:24 PM
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Bush to Cheney: "Dick, I'm afraid I've got some bad news for you, but before we go into that, I think I'm going to have to duck out of that duck hunting trip we were planning... "
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Old 04-13-06, 01:33 PM
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Goes to show a bombing of Iran would be interesting. Wouldn't be surprised if Rummy took a US Trooper fresh out of Boot Camp to be a general.

Rummy: "Son? You wanna be a General?!!!"

US Trooper: " Sir! Yes, Sir! Stay the course, sir! Iraqi Freedom, sir! God Bless America, sir!"

Rummy: "I love yah, son!"
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Old 04-13-06, 06:24 PM
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Do it Rummy. It seems like liberal college campus like this one only wants to cherry pick what law to obey and what not.

http://www.mountainstateslegal.org/p...eases_home.cfm

RUMSFELD ASKED TO DENY FUNDS TO CALIFORNIA COLLEGE
April 12, 2006 - For Immediate Release
Contact: William Perry Pendley

DENVER, CO. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld should withhold federal funds from a California college given the failure of the college to ensure the safe presence of military recruiters on campus, the Secretary was advised by a public interest law firm in a letter released today. According to news reports, military recruiters were forced to flee yesterday from a University of California Santa Cruz job fair because of a raucous mob. Mountain States Legal Foundation advised Rumsfeld that the college’s actions violate the Solomon Amendment, which requires that colleges permit military recruiters on campus or lose all federal funds. UC Santa Cruz received $80 million in federal funds during 2005. A unanimous Supreme Court ruled the Solomon Amendment constitutional early last month.

“It is outrageous that members of the Armed Forces, who are asked to serve in harm’s way in Afghanistan and Iraq, are driven from a campus by a mob in America,” said William Perry Pendley, president and chief legal officer of Mountain States Legal Foundation. “Unless Secretary Rumsfeld responds to this craven violation of federal law, radicals on other campuses will be emboldened, will endanger the lives of men and women in uniform, and will deny students the right to learn how they may serve their country.”

The Solomon Amendment, named after the late Congressman Jerry Solomon (R-NY), requires colleges and universities to allow military recruiters on campuses “at least equal in quality and scope to the [degree of] access to campuses and to students that is provided to any other employer.” The law was enacted in 1996 but was not enforced by the Clinton Administration.

On September 19, 2003, Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights (FAIR), a group of 24 law schools and faculties that oppose military recruiters on college campuses, and its allies filed a lawsuit against Secretary Rumsfeld and five other cabinet officers in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. On November 5, 2003, the District Court ruled against FAIR.

On November 29, 2004, the Third Circuit, by a 2-1 ruling, held the Solomon Amendment violates the freedoms of speech and association of the law schools and their professors because it suppresses their free speech and forces them to associate with a message they “abhor,” that is, the military’s policy as to homosexual activity. The dissent, noting the sophistication of law school faculties and students, wrote that they were able to disassociate themselves from the military’s “message.” The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case on May 2, 2005, after considering a brief filed by Mountain States Legal Foundation. The case was argued on December 6, 2005. On March 6, 2006, the Court upheld the law by a vote of 8-0.

Mountain States Legal Foundation is a nonprofit, public interest law firm dedicated to individual liberty, the right to own and use property, limited and ethical government, and the free enterprise system. Its offices are in the Denver, Colorado, metropolitan area.
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Old 04-13-06, 06:27 PM
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I agree with much of what has been said in this thread. As Cman said when you've got a "plethorah" of theatre-level generals complaining something isn't going right Bush says he always listens to the Generals, perhaps it's time he actually does? Rumsfeld is a liability at this point and contrary to white house claims I don't seem him doing "A very good job". Right now, more than ever, we need good morale. I don't see Rumsfeld generating it.
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Old 04-13-06, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Myster X
Do it Rummy. It seems like liberal college campus like this one only wants to cherry pick what law to obey and what not.

http://www.mountainstateslegal.org/p...eases_home.cfm

RUMSFELD ASKED TO DENY FUNDS TO CALIFORNIA COLLEGE
April 12, 2006 - For Immediate Release
Contact: William Perry Pendley

DENVER, CO. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld should withhold federal funds from a California college given the failure of the college to ensure the safe presence of military recruiters on campus, the Secretary was advised by a public interest law firm in a letter released today. According to news reports, military recruiters were forced to flee yesterday from a University of California Santa Cruz job fair because of a raucous mob. Mountain States Legal Foundation advised Rumsfeld that the college’s actions violate the Solomon Amendment, which requires that colleges permit military recruiters on campus or lose all federal funds. UC Santa Cruz received $80 million in federal funds during 2005. A unanimous Supreme Court ruled the Solomon Amendment constitutional early last month.

“It is outrageous that members of the Armed Forces, who are asked to serve in harm’s way in Afghanistan and Iraq, are driven from a campus by a mob in America,” said William Perry Pendley, president and chief legal officer of Mountain States Legal Foundation. “Unless Secretary Rumsfeld responds to this craven violation of federal law, radicals on other campuses will be emboldened, will endanger the lives of men and women in uniform, and will deny students the right to learn how they may serve their country.”

The Solomon Amendment, named after the late Congressman Jerry Solomon (R-NY), requires colleges and universities to allow military recruiters on campuses “at least equal in quality and scope to the [degree of] access to campuses and to students that is provided to any other employer.” The law was enacted in 1996 but was not enforced by the Clinton Administration.

On September 19, 2003, Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights (FAIR), a group of 24 law schools and faculties that oppose military recruiters on college campuses, and its allies filed a lawsuit against Secretary Rumsfeld and five other cabinet officers in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. On November 5, 2003, the District Court ruled against FAIR.

On November 29, 2004, the Third Circuit, by a 2-1 ruling, held the Solomon Amendment violates the freedoms of speech and association of the law schools and their professors because it suppresses their free speech and forces them to associate with a message they “abhor,” that is, the military’s policy as to homosexual activity. The dissent, noting the sophistication of law school faculties and students, wrote that they were able to disassociate themselves from the military’s “message.” The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case on May 2, 2005, after considering a brief filed by Mountain States Legal Foundation. The case was argued on December 6, 2005. On March 6, 2006, the Court upheld the law by a vote of 8-0.

Mountain States Legal Foundation is a nonprofit, public interest law firm dedicated to individual liberty, the right to own and use property, limited and ethical government, and the free enterprise system. Its offices are in the Denver, Colorado, metropolitan area.
And what does that have to do with the subject of the thread?

Answer - absolutely nothing!!!

Your next tact will be switching to Somalia and Bill Clinton.

Somehow, you'll blame Bill Clinton for the Bush mess in Iraq.

Last edited by classicman2; 04-13-06 at 06:40 PM.
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Old 04-13-06, 06:37 PM
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When it rains it pours.
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Old 04-13-06, 07:20 PM
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Well, as a Bush supporter on most issues, one of my biggest dissapoinments when I got back from a 2 week vacation the other day was not seeing more of a shake-up in the administration. I checked into an internet cafe over there and briefly saw news of a big shake up with more to come, but I'm not impressed so far. Rummy out would be more notable. Though I'm less critical of him than most here might be, I do not overlook the need for refreshing things a bit. I think there are other things he could be doing that would keep his departure from being digraceful.
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Old 04-13-06, 07:41 PM
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Rumsfeld isn't the problem here folks.
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Old 04-13-06, 07:43 PM
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I knew the armed forces were stressed thin, but according to MysterX, they just got their asses kicked by Banana Slugs!
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Old 04-13-06, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by CRM114
Rumsfeld isn't the problem here folks.
Please leave Clinton out of this.
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Old 04-13-06, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by General Zod
Please leave Clinton out of this.
That was funny, I'll give you that one.
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Old 04-13-06, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Thor Simpson
Well, as a Bush supporter on most issues, one of my biggest dissapoinments when I got back from a 2 week vacation the other day was not seeing more of a shake-up in the administration. I checked into an internet cafe over there and briefly saw news of a big shake up with more to come, but I'm not impressed so far. Rummy out would be more notable. Though I'm less critical of him than most here might be, I do not overlook the need for refreshing things a bit. I think there are other things he could be doing that would keep his departure from being digraceful.
Remember that Rummy was the guy who is responsible for Gitmo, and those who are in it. Let me explain. He's the one who told the Generals who told their troops, to get some terrorists, no matter what. Rumsfeld wanted terrorists to lock up. He didn't care how much evidence was valid. It could be made up for all he cared, and basically said as much.

The real Baghdad Triangle is Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld.
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Old 04-13-06, 10:07 PM
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My dad, a Bush supporter, was active duty during the first few years of the administration and when Rumsfeld was appointed SecDef he said that there were negative reactions all over AMC. IIRC, he wasn't too happy about the appointment either, but I doubt he would admit that today.

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Old 04-14-06, 09:18 AM
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Yahoo News:

Even More Generals want Rumsfeld to resign

By Steve Holland

Two more retired U.S. generals called for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign on Thursday, claiming the chief architect of the Iraq war and subsequent American occupation should be held accountable for the chaos there.

As the high-ranking officers accused Rumsfeld of arrogance and ignoring his field commanders, the White House was forced to defend a man who has been a lightning rod for criticism over a war that has helped drive President George W. Bush's public approval ratings to new lows.

Retired Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni told CNN Rumsfeld should be held responsible for a series of blunders, starting with "throwing away 10 years worth of planning, plans that had taken into account what we would face in an occupation of Iraq."

The spreading challenge to the Pentagon's civilian leadership included criticism from some recently retired senior officers directly involved in the Iraq war and its planning.

Six retired generals have now called for Rumsfeld to step down, including two who spoke out on Thursday.

"I really believe that we need a new secretary of defense because Secretary Rumsfeld carries way too much baggage with him," said retired Maj. Gen. Charles Swannack, who led the Army's 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq.

"Specifically, I feel he has micromanaged the generals who are leading our forces," he told CNN.

Retired Major Gen. John Riggs told National Public Radio that Rumsfeld had helped create an atmosphere of "arrogance" among the Pentagon's top civilian leadership.

"They only need the military advice when it satisfies their agenda. I think that's a mistake, and that's why I think he should resign," Riggs said.


But at the White House, the 73-year-old Rumsfeld drew unflinching support. "Yes, the president believes Secretary Rumsfeld is doing a very fine job during a challenging period," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters.

Maj. Gen. John Batiste, who commanded the 1st Infantry Division in Iraq before his retirement, urged Rumsfeld on Wednesday to resign.

Retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold and Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton have also spoken out against Rumsfeld.

The outcry came as opinion polls show eroding public support for the 3-year-old Iraq war in which about 2,360 U.S. troops have died and Bush is struggling to bolster Americans' confidence in the war effort.

IGNORING THE CALLS

Rumsfeld has offered at least twice to resign, but each time Bush has turned him down.

Pentagon spokesman Eric Ruff said Rumsfeld is ignoring the calls for him to quit and they have not been a distraction.

"Has he talked to the White House? The answer is no, he's not. And two, the question of resignation: was he considering it? No."

Ruff added: "I don't know how many generals there are -- a couple thousand, at least. And they're going to have opinions."

Critics have accused Rumsfeld of bullying senior military officers and disregarding their views. They often cite how Rumsfeld dismissed then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki's opinion a month before the 2003 invasion that occupying Iraq could require "several hundred thousand troops," not the smaller force Rumsfeld would send.

But retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Mike DeLong rejected the idea that new leadership was needed at the Pentagon.

"Dealing with Secretary Rumsfeld is like dealing with a CEO," he told CNN. "When you walk in to him, you've got to be prepared. You've got to know what you're talking about. If you don't, you're summarily dismissed. But that's the way it is, and he's effective."

The White House pointed to comments supportive of Rumsfeld from Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and said criticism was to be expected at a time of war in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We are a nation at war and we are a nation that is going through a military transformation. Those are issues that tend to generate debate and disagreement and we recognize that," McClellan said.
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