It’s just not done for serving military men to criticise the command chain. That’s why the only ones in a position to do so would be those who have recently resigned. That’s why the recent criticism of US Defense Secretary Rumsfeld by a number of retired generals – who served in Iraq - should be viewed with such interest.
Personally, I think that once the US had committed, the worst mistake they made (apart from Abu Ghraib and the like) was to not secure the infrastructure and resources as soon as they hit the ground. But that’s spilt milk.
The generals are unequivocal: “We need leadership up there that respects the military as they expect the military to respect them. And that leadership needs to understand teamwork” (John Batiste). Rumsfeld is “incompetent – strategically, operationally, and tactically” (Paul Eaton). Those are the clearest possible indictments of command. And this is not just a military matter, but it reflects upon all of the US’s military engagements in the world, as well as on the international conduct of the Bush administration, given Rumsfeld’s cabinet stature.
I expect it to be due to Rumsfeld’s high degree of self-conviction, which manifests as both ideology and arrogance.
I can’t see anything coming of this generals’ outrage - except for the history books. Bush won’t fire Rumsfeld. He has a strong record of not dumping his mates - which is certainly a weakness. Neither will Rumsfeld go of his own volition - he’s definitely not that type, and he has an ideology to fervidly persue.
This happens in the corporate world, too. Sometimes the offender goes sooner, sometimes later. And the longer they hang on, the worse the fortunes of the corporation.