Thursday, April 13, 2006

General Peter Pace on Rumsfeld and the Planning Process 
Quoting General Pace:

Let me just give you Pete Pace's rendition of how the process worked building up to Iraq. First of all, once it became apparent that we may have to take military action, the Secretary of Defense asked Tom Franks, who was the commander of Central Command, to begin doing some planning, which he did. Over the next two years, 50 or 60 times, Tom Franks either came to Washington or by video teleconference, sat down with the Secretary of Defense, sat down with the Joint Chiefs and went over what he was thinking, how he was planning. And as a result of those iterative opportunities and all the questions that were asked, not once was Tom told, "No, don't do that. No, don't do this. No, you can't have this. No, you can't have that." What happened was, in a very open roundtable discussion, questions about what might go right, what might go wrong, what would you need, how would you handle it, and that happened with the Joint Chiefs and it happened with the Secretary.

And before the final orders were given, the Joint Chiefs met in private with General Franks and assured ourselves that the plan was a solid plan and that the resources that he needed were going to be allocated. We then went and told the Secretary of Defense our belief in Tom's plan and in the resources, and I know for a fact, because I was there, that when the Joint Chiefs were called over to the White House, several of the questions that the president asked specifically were about our understanding and belief in the plan, and whether or not the amount -- proper amount of resources had been allocated. He did that both with us, just the Joint Chiefs, and then again when all the combatant commanders were in from around the globe well before a final decision was made.

We had then and have now every opportunity to speak our minds, and if we do not, shame on us because the opportunity is there.

It is elicited from us. You know, we're expected to. And the plan that was executed was developed by military officers, presented by military officers, questioned by civilians as they should, revamped by military officers, and blessed by the senior military leadership.

Then, when we go to Congress, part of our confirmation process is, "Will you, General Pace, if confirmed, give your personal opinion when asked?" And the answer to that question is, "Yes, I will, sir." And I have been for almost five years now asked my personal opinion multiple times by members of the Congress of the United States in testimony, and I have spoken my personal opinion.

Now, I've given my best military advice to the Secretary and to the president, as have the other officers who have the privilege of being Joint Chiefs or being combatant commanders. Our troops deserve and will continue to get our best military thinking.

I wanted to tell you how I believe this system works, and I wanted to tell you how I have observed it working for five years, because the articles that are out there about folks not speaking up are just flat wrong.

There is a reason we are trained, as young officers, to give our opinions and recommendations to our bosses in private, before decisions are made. Once the decision is made, it is our DUTY to follow the orders of the officers appointed over us, whether we agree with that decision or not. It is the foundation, the basis for which all military discipline is regimented.

This was about planning for a war with an infinite number of variables involved. You plan for what you can, and you try to be flexible enough to handle the unknown when it comes up. This has nothing to do with following unlawful orders, either. No unlawful orders of any type were issued in this war that we can determine.

GEN Pace has shown he understands what duty, honor, and discipline are all about. The retired generals have shown they understand nothing about what they learned as a junior officer, or that they have forgotten it. I have never respected a single flag officer who came out after his retirement with a position against the path his service has followed. These Men who served honorably, and apparently well enough to become LTGs and MGs, do not understand what these words will now mean to the troops under the command of the Generals serving today.

I would never say anything bad about the Navy or my Armed Forces under any circumstances. I gave 21 yrs of my life to them. Why would I begin to tear their legacy down now? I love them as I love my Father and My Mother, and my children.

The fact that these Generals cannot do the same, shows me they never understood what Honor and Loyalty to their Men was all about. Shame on them.

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