2006-04-14 13:06:18 UTC
Generals clamor for Rumsfeld's ouster over Iraq war
By Steve Holland
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -
Two more retired U.S. generals called for Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld to resign on Thursday, claiming the chief architect of the
Iraq operation ignored years of Pentagon planning for a U.S.
occupation and 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
Six retired generals have now called for Rumsfeld to step down,
including two who spoke out on Thursday.
Retired Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni added to the pressure for
Rumsfeld's scalp by telling CNN that Rumsfeld should be held
accountable 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."
His views were supported by other commanders who served under
"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,"
But at the White House, the 73-year-old Rumsfeld drew unflinching
"Yes, the president believes Secretary Rumsfeld is doing a very fine
job during a challenging period," White House spokesman Scott
McClellan told reporters.
Recently retired Maj. Gen. John Batiste, who commanded the 1st
Infantry Division in Iraq, urged Rumsfeld on Wednesday to resign.
In recent weeks, retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold and
Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton have also spoke up.
The demands for Rumsfeld's departure 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.
Read about the Deserter-In-Chief running from the Vietnam War
Oh, and have you visited the Chickenhawk Database lately?