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Mid-level military officers on responsibility for Iraq
From: "David Farber" <dave () farber net>
Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2006 19:07:20 -0400

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--- Begin Message --- From: Paul Levy <plevy () citizen org>
Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2006 16:19:41 -0400
There is a fascinating article in this morning's New York Times, based on interviews with mid-level officers and 
others, suggesting widespread discontent and debate within the military over the failure of  senior officers to give 
candid advice to Rumseld and the Adminsitration about the reasoins why the invasion of Iraq would be a mistake.  


Officers making such comments as,

"This is about the moral bankruptcy of general officers who lived through the Vietnam era yet refused to advise our 
civilian leadership properly," said one Army major in the Special Forces who has served two combat tours. "I can only 
hope that my generation does better someday."  and 

"The history I will take away from this is that the current crop of generals failed to stand up and say, 'We cannot do 
this mission.' They confused the cultural can-do attitude with their responsibilities as leaders to delay the start of 
the war until we had an adequate force. I think the backlash against the general officers will be seen in the 
resignation of officers" who might otherwise have stayed in uniform." 

There was also an interesting angle on Condoleeza Rice's famous comment about "thousands of errors," casting it in a 
light I had not considered, as a slap at the military and a deflection of responsibility for the Administration's own 

The debates are fueled by the desire to mete out blame for the situation in Iraq, a drawn-out war that has taken many 
military lives and has no clear end in sight. A midgrade officer who has served two tours in Iraq said a number of his 
cohorts were angered last month when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that "tactical errors, a thousand of 
them, I am sure," had been made in Iraq.

"We have not lost a single tactical engagement on the ground in Iraq," the officer said, noting that the definition of 
tactical missions is specific movements against an enemy target. "The mistakes have all been at the strategic and 
political levels."

Paul Alan Levy
Public Citizen Litigation Group
1600 - 20th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 588-1000

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