Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation, asks, “Is there a retired general left in the States who hasn’t called on Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to fall on his sword?”
Batiste. Eaton. Newbold. Riggs. Zinni….Is there a retired general left in the States who hasn’t called on Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to fall on his sword? While The Nation suggested he resign in April, 2003, an unanticipated and unprecedented cast of characters has joined the growing chorus.
Maj. Gen. John Batiste (US Army, Ret.) is the latest in a line of top military brass to ask the embattled Rumsfeld to step down. As the Washington Post reported Thursday, Batiste said, “It speaks volumes that guys like me are speaking out from retirement about the leadership climate in the Department of Defense.”
Volumes indeed. Batiste commanded an army division in Iraq and was offered three-stars as well as the No. 2 position there. He chose instead to retire rather than continuing to serve under Rumsfeld. Batiste believes “... the administration’s handling of the Iraq war has violated fundamental military principles….” And, as he told The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, “...the strategic underpinnings of this war can be traced back in policy to the secretary of defense. He built it the way he wanted it.”