Guest Column: The case for impeachment—part three

The evidence for impeaching President Bush is growing surely and swiftly. First, he lied that no one anticipated a breaching of the levees in New Orleans after Katrina hit. Next, he told a series of lies about his desire to take out Saddam Hussein, culminating with the whopper—“I didn’t want war.”

Of course, even children know how one lie leads to another, and then another, until the need to lie becomes habitual. So it is with Bush, and now he has more people lying for him.

A case in point occurred during ABC’s This Week show April 16. General Richard B. Myers (Ret.), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when Bush decided to invade Iraq, was George Stephanopoulos’ guest. Myers had the gall to say that not one general in the chain of command—other than “wildly off the mark” Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki—had maintained that it would take many more troops to stabilize Iraq.

It is a matter of public record that Rumsfeld overruled General Tommy Franks, the CENTCOM commander, on troop levels in Iraq. The Secretary of Defense was adamant about his intention to construct HIS war plan, based on his equally-flawed vision for transforming (i.e., downsizing) the military’s fighting unit forces. Even Myers knew Rumsfeld’s plan was pre-ordained, and there was no use arguing with his civilian boss. Myers insisted that Rumsfeld didn’t “intimidate” him or any other general, when it is common knowledge in the Pentagon and on the Beltway that Rumsfeld simply wore people down who differed with him—if he didn’t fire them or force them into “early retirement,” as he did General Shinseki. It is also common knowledge that Myers was a career Air Force officer, with a reputation for being unwilling to disagree strongly with his superior’s views.

Joining the list of people willing to lie for Bush, General John Keane appeared on the Lehrer News Hour April 18, deploring the group of retired generals now calling for Rumsfeld’s resignation. In the course of “explaining” to Jim Lehrer how wrong these generals were to speak out publicly, Keane said it was General Tommy Franks’ war plan, and not Rumsfeld’s. General Keane was in the loop with both Franks and Myers, so he knew and still knows that Franks’ plan had called for more troops, not fewer. But Rumsfeld, who insisted on micromanaging the military and “off-ramping” Army units ASAP, overruled. Franks wanted both the 1st Armored and 1st Cavalry divisions to strengthen the military’s position in northern and western Iraq, but Rumsfeld scuttled the deployment of the 1st Cavalry Division.

Let’s forget for now the six retired generals who are calling for Rumsfeld’s ouster. Instead, let’s focus on another list of officers who spoke out BEFORE the invasion. General Shinseki gets most of the press for his estimate that “several hundred thousand” troops would be needed to pacify Iraq. However, he was not alone. General Tony Zinni’s estimate called for 380,000-400,000 troops. Of course, Zinni took a lot of heat for these numbers, and the Pentagon even called him a traitor for saying that its prewar planning amounted to dereliction of duty, at best, and criminal neglect, at worst.

The list doesn’t stop with Shinseki and Zinni. Further down the chain of command, Major Jeff Kojac did an independent assessment of the troop numbers needed for post-invasion Iraq, based on population-to-troop ratios in Bosnia and Kosovo. His estimate came in between 364,000 and 480,000 troops. When he presented his study to the White House, guess whose position came out on top? It sure wasn’t the Major’s.

Not only is Bush falling into a pattern of chronic lying; signs are beginning to show that his lying is becoming pathological and widespread, if it wasn’t all along.

Oh, what tangled webs we weave when first we practice to deceive.

W. Harrison Goodenow is a Rockford resident.

From the May 10-16, 2006, issue

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