Stop whatever you're doing and read this. Larry Johnson at No Quarter posts an exchange of emails between Joe Galloway, longtime military reporter, and the spokesperson for Donald Rumsfeld, Larry Di Rita.
It began with one of Galloway's columns for Knight Ridder wherein the following statement was made:
Van Riper told Knight Ridder that in looking at Rumsfeld's
leadership he found three particular areas of inability and incompetence.
First, he said, if any battalion commander under him had created so "poor a climate of leadership" and the "bullying" that goes on in the Pentagon under Rumsfeld he would order an investigation and relieve that commander.
Even more than that I focus on (his) incompetence when it comes to preparing American military forces for the future," Van Riper said. His idea of transformation turns on empty buzz words. There's none of the scholarship and doctrinal examination that has to go on before you begin changing the force."
Third, he said, under Rumsfeld there's been no oversight of military acquisition.
Mr. Rumsfeld has failed 360 degrees in the job. He is incompetent," Van Riper concluded. "Any military man who made the mistakes he has made, tactically and strategically, would be relieved on the spot."
DiRita objected, and called Galloway some names:
You're just becoming a johnny one-note and it's only a couple of steps from that to curmudgeon!!
Galloway responds, eventually with a laundry list of what Rumsfeld's Pentagon has done wrong, including this:
and in the latest QDR, his last, he made none of the hard choices about wasted money on high dollar weapons systems that make no sense in the real world today. the same QDR quite correctly identifies an urgent need for MORE psyops and civil affairs and military police and far more troops who have foreign language training appropriate to where we fight. and we budget a paltry 191 million, i say MILLION, bucks to do all that. not even the cost of the periscopes on those oh-so-necessary submarines, or the instruments on one of those f22s. this is what has my attention; this is what has me in a mood to question over and over and over, waiting for answers that never come, change that never comes, course corrections that never come. you wanted some specifics. there are some
Di Rita's response:
This is tough stuff, and we're all hard at it, trying to do what's best for the country.
Then Galloway brings tears to my eyes with this: (warning: have tissues at the ready)
i can wish that your boss had surrounded himself with close advisers who had, once at least, held a dying boy in their arms and watched the life run out of his eyes while they lied to him and told him, over and over, "You are going to be all right. Hang on! Help is coming. Don't quit now..." Such men in place of those who had never known service or combat or the true cost of war, and who pays that price, and had never sent their children off to do that hard and unending duty. i could wish for so much. i could wish that in january of this year i had not stood in a garbage-strewn pit, in deep mud, and watched soldiers tear apart the wreckage of a kiowa warrior shot down just minutes before and tenderly remove the barely alive body of WO Kyle Jackson and the lifeless body of his fellow pilot. they died flying overhead cover for a little three-vehicle Stryker patrol with which i was riding at the time. i could wish that Jackson's widow Betsy had not found, among the possessions of her late husband, a copy of my book, carefully earmarked at a chapter titled Brave Aviators, which Kyle was reading at the time of his death. That she had not enclosed a photo of her husband, herself and a 3 year old baby girl. those things i received in the mail yesterday and they brought back the tears that i wept standing there in that pit, feeling the same shards in my heart that i felt the first time i looked into the face of a fallen american soldier 41 years ago on a barren hill in Quang Ngai Province in another time, another war. someone once asked me if i had learned anything from going to war so many times. my reply: yes, i learned how to cry. Jg
You can probably guess what the reply was. Go read the complete exchange, including the KR article that started it all, and Gen. Barry McCaffrey's instructions to Joe to print it all online. (It's easier to read if you make the text bigger. And try to control your anger, I found it distracting when I chanted curses at Rumsfeld and Bush as I read.)