imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Schwarzkopf

by Thomas E. Ricks Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2003 at 7:03 AM
Washington Post

"Candidly, I have gotten somewhat nervous at some of the pronouncements Rumsfeld has made," says Schwarzkopf. Rumsfeld worries him. "It's scary, okay?" he says. "Let's face it: There are guys at the Pentagon who have been involved in operational planning for their entire lives, okay? . . . And for this wisdom, acquired during many operations, wars, schools, for that just to be ignored, and in its place have somebody who doesn't have any of that training, is of concern."

Desert Caution

Once 'Stormin' Norman,' Gen. Schwarzkopf Is Skeptical About U.S. Action in Iraq

By Thomas E. Ricks

Washington Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, January 28, 2003; Page C01

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A52450-2003Jan27.html

----------------------------------------------

photo:

http://media.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/images/I52645-2003Jan27

Schwarzkopf: "I have gotten somewhat nervous at some of the pronouncements Rumsfeld has made." (Jim Stem -- Silver Images For The Washington Post)

----------------------------------------------

TAMPA

Norman Schwarzkopf wants to give peace a chance.

The general who commanded U.S. forces in the 1991 Gulf War says he hasn't seen enough evidence to convince him that his old comrades Dick Cheney, Colin Powell and Paul Wolfowitz are correct in moving toward a new war now. He thinks U.N. inspections are still the proper course to follow. He's worried about the cockiness of the U.S. war plan, and even more by the potential human and financial costs of occupying Iraq.

And don't get him started on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

In fact, the hero of the last Gulf War sounds surprisingly like the man on the street when he discusses his ambivalence about the Bush administration's hawkish stance on ousting Saddam Hussein. He worries about the Iraqi leader, but would like to see some persuasive evidence of Iraq's alleged weapons programs.

"The thought of Saddam Hussein with a sophisticated nuclear capability is a frightening thought, okay?" he says. "Now, having said that, I don't know what intelligence the U.S. government has. And before I can just stand up and say, 'Beyond a shadow of a doubt, we need to invade Iraq,' I guess I would like to have better information."

He hasn't seen that yet, and so -- in sharp contrast to the Bush administration -- he supports letting the U.N. weapons inspectors drive the timetable: "I think it is very important for us to wait and see what the inspectors come up with, and hopefully they come up with something conclusive."

This isn't just any retired officer speaking. Schwarzkopf is one of the nation's best-known military officers, with name recognition second only to his former boss, Secretary of State Powell. What's more, he is closely allied with the Bush family. He hunts with the first President Bush. He campaigned for the second, speaking on military issues at the 2000 GOP convention in Philadelphia and later stumping in Florida with Cheney, who was secretary of defense during the 1991 war.

But he sees the world differently from those Gulf War colleagues. "It's obviously not a black-and-white situation over there" in the Mideast, he says. "I would just think that whatever path we take, we have to take it with a bit of prudence."

So has he seen sufficient prudence in the actions of his old friends in the Bush administration? Again, he carefully withholds his endorsement. "I don't think I can give you an honest answer on that."

Now 68, the general seems smaller and more soft-spoken than in his Riyadh heyday 12 years ago when he was "Stormin' Norman," the fatigues-clad martinet who intimidated subordinates and reporters alike. During last week's interview he sat at a small, round table in his skyscraper office, casually clad in slacks and a black polo shirt, the bland banks and hotels of Tampa's financial district spread out beyond him.

His voice seems thinner than during those blustery, globally televised Gulf War briefings. He is limping from a recent knee operation. He sometimes stays home to nurse the swelling with a bag of frozen peas.

He's had time to think. He likes the performance of Colin Powell -- chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Gulf War, now secretary of state. "He's doing a wonderful job, I think," he says. But he is less impressed by Rumsfeld, whose briefings he has watched on television.

"Candidly, I have gotten somewhat nervous at some of the pronouncements Rumsfeld has made," says Schwarzkopf.

He contrasts Cheney's low profile as defense secretary during the Gulf War with Rumsfeld's frequent television appearances since Sept. 11, 2001. "He almost sometimes seems to be enjoying it." That, Schwarzkopf admonishes, is a sensation to be avoided when engaged in war.

The general is a true son of the Army, where he served from 1956 to 1991, and some of his comments reflect the estrangement between that service and the current defense secretary. Some at the top of the Army see Rumsfeld and those around him as overly enamored of air power and high technology and insufficiently attentive to the brutal difficulties of ground combat. Schwarzkopf's comments reflect Pentagon scuttlebutt that Rumsfeld and his aides have brushed aside some of the Army's concerns.

"The Rumsfeld thing . . . that's what comes up," when he calls old Army friends in the Pentagon, he says.

"When he makes his comments, it appears that he disregards the Army," Schwarzkopf says. "He gives the perception when he's on TV that he is the guy driving the train and everybody else better fall in line behind him -- or else."

That dismissive posture bothers Schwarzkopf because he thinks Rumsfeld and the people around him lack the background to make sound military judgments by themselves. He prefers the way Cheney operated during the Gulf War. "He didn't put himself in the position of being the decision-maker as far as tactics were concerned, as far as troop deployments, as far as missions were concerned."

Rumsfeld, by contrast, worries him. "It's scary, okay?" he says. "Let's face it: There are guys at the Pentagon who have been involved in operational planning for their entire lives, okay? . . . And for this wisdom, acquired during many operations, wars, schools, for that just to be ignored, and in its place have somebody who doesn't have any of that training, is of concern."

As a result, Schwarzkopf is skeptical that an invasion of Iraq would be as fast and simple as some seem to think. "I have picked up vibes that . . . you're going to have this massive strike with massed weaponry, and basically that's going to be it, and we just clean up the battlefield after that," he says. But, he adds, he is more comfortable now with what he hears about the war plan than he was several months ago, when there was talk of an assault built around air power and a few thousand Special Operations troops.

He expresses even more concern about the task the U.S. military might face after a victory. "What is postwar Iraq going to look like, with the Kurds and the Sunnis and the Shiites? That's a huge question, to my mind. It really should be part of the overall campaign plan."

(Rumsfeld said last week that post-Saddam planning "is a tough question and we're spending a lot of time on it, let me assure you." But the Pentagon hasn't disclosed how long it expects to have to occupy Iraq, or how many troops might be required to do that.)

The administration may be discussing the issue behind closed doors, Schwarzkopf says, but he thinks it hasn't sufficiently explained its thinking to the world, especially its assessment of the time, people and money needed. "I would hope that we have in place the adequate resources to become an army of occupation," he warns, "because you're going to walk into chaos."



The Result of a Bad Ending?



Just as the Gulf War looks less conclusive in retrospect, so has Schwarzkopf's reputation diminished since the glory days just after the war, when, Rick Atkinson wrote in "Crusade," Schwarzkopf "seemed ubiquitous, appearing at the Kentucky Derby, at the Indianapolis 500, on Capitol Hill, in parades, on bubblegum cards."

Twelve years and two American presidents later, Saddam Hussein is still in power, and the U.S. military is once again mustering to strike Iraq.

Some strategic thinkers, both inside the military and in academia, see Schwarzkopf's past actions as part of the problem. These experts argue that if the 1991 war had been terminated more thoughtfully, the U.S. military wouldn't have to go back again to finish the job.

"Everyone was so busy celebrating the end of the Vietnam syndrome that we forgot how winners win a war," says one Gulf War veteran who asked that his name not be used because he hopes to work in the administration.

Schwarzkopf in particular draws fire for approving a cease-fire that permitted the Iraqi military to fly helicopters after the war. Soon afterward, Iraqi helicopter gunships were used to put down revolts against Hussein in the Shiite south and the Kurdish north of Iraq. Only later were "no-fly zones" established to help protect those minority populations.

"It's quite clear that however brilliant operationally and technologically, the Gulf War cannot be viewed strategically as a complete success," says Michael Vickers, a former Special Forces officer who is now an analyst for the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a defense think tank.

Added one Pentagon expert on Iraq, "With benefit of hindsight, the victory was incomplete, and the luster of the entire operation has faded."

When Army colonels study the Gulf War at the Army War College nowadays, notes one professor there, "a big part of the class is discussing war termination."

For all that, few experts contend that Schwarzkopf is really the one to blame for the way the Gulf War ended. "Insofar as Gulf War 1 didn't finish the job, blame is more likely and appropriately laid on Bush 41 and, to a somewhat lesser extent, on Colin Powell," says John Allen Williams, a political scientist who specializes in military affairs at Loyola University Chicago.

Schwarzkopf himself doesn't entirely disagree with the view that the war was ended badly. "You can't help but sit here today and, with 20/20 hindsight, go back and say, 'Look, had we done something different, we probably wouldn't be facing what we are facing today.' "

But, he continues, Washington never instructed him to invade Iraq or oust Saddam Hussein. "My mission, plain and simple, was kick Iraq out of Kuwait. Period. There were never any other orders." Given the information available back then, the decision to stop the war with Saddam Hussein still in power was, he says, "probably was the only decision that could have been made at that time."



'Tell It Like It Is'



Schwarzkopf was never as lionized in military circles as he was by the general public. Like a rock star, he shuns commercial air travel mainly because he can barely walk through an airport without being besieged by autograph seekers and well-wishers. But his reputation inside the Army has "always been a bit different from the outside view," notes retired Army Col. Richard H. Sinnreich, who frequently participates in war games and other military training sessions.

Sinnreich doesn't think that many in the armed forces blame Schwarzkopf for the inconclusive ending of the Gulf War. "I know of no Army officer, active or retired, who holds such a view," he says. "The decision to suspend offensive operations clearly was a political decision that I suspect the relevant principals now profoundly regret, even if they're loath to admit it."

But what did sour some in the Army on Schwarzkopf, says Sinnreich, was his "rather ungracious treatment of his Gulf War subordinates."

Schwarzkopf raised eyebrows across the Army when, in his Gulf War memoir, he denounced one of his generals, Frederick Franks, for allegedly moving his 7th Corps in a "plodding and overly cautious" manner during the attack on the Iraqi military. He elaborated on that criticism in subsequent rounds of interviews. This public disparagement of a former subordinate rankled some in the Army, which even more than the other services likes to keep its internal disputes private.

"I think his attack on Franks was wrong," says Army Maj. Donald Vandergriff, in a typical comment.

"It wasn't meant to be an attack on Fred Franks," Schwarzkopf responds in the interview. Rather, he says, he was trying to provide an honest assessment, in the tradition of the Army's practice of conducting brutally accurate "after-action reviews." "No matter how painful it is, [when] you do your after-action review, tell it like it is."

The other behavior that bothered some was Schwarzkopf's virtual absence from the Army after the Gulf War. Many retired generals make almost a full-time job of working with the Army -- giving speeches at West Point and at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., visiting bases to mentor up-and-coming officers, sitting on Pentagon advisory boards, writing commentaries in military journals.

"The fact that Schwarzkopf . . . did not make himself available to speak to the many, many Army audiences anxious to listen to him won him no friends in the Army," notes retired Army Brig. Gen. John Mountcastle.

Adds Earl H. Tilford Jr., a former director of research at the War College's Strategic Studies Institute: "You never saw him at Carlisle, never."

Likewise, a professor at West Point recalls repeatedly being brushed off by Schwarzkopf's office.

Schwarzkopf says he avoided those circles for good reason. After the Gulf War, he says, he decided to take a low profile within the Army because he didn't want to step on the toes of the service's post-Gulf War leaders. There were sensitivities about overshadowing those generals, he says, especially after word leaked that he had been considered for the post of Army chief of staff but had declined the position.

Seeing that "open wound," he says, "I purposely distanced myself for a reasonable time."

The Army War College's location in rural Pennsylvania makes it difficult to reach from his home in the Tampa area, he says. And he notes that he has done much other work behind the scenes on behalf of the Army, including meeting with presidential candidate Bush to lobby him on military readiness issues.

He also has been busy with nonmilitary charities. After a bout with prostate cancer in 1994, he threw himself into helping cancer research; no fewer than 10 groups that fight cancer or conduct other medical research have given him awards in recent years.



No More Heroes?



Perhaps the real reason that Schwarzkopf's reputation has shrunk has more to do with America and less to do with Schwarzkopf's actions. American wars used to produce heroes such as Washington, Grant and Eisenhower, whose names were known by all schoolchildren, notes Boston University political scientist Andrew Bacevich.

But in recent decades, Bacevich says, "military fame has lost its durability." Sen. John McCain may appear to be an exception, he says, but he is someone noted less for what he did in the military than for what he endured as a prisoner of war.

More representative, Bacevich notes, may be Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the officer who would lead U.S. forces in any new war with Iraq. Franks "has not ignited widespread popular affection," says Bacevich, himself a retired Army colonel.

It may be that American society no longer has an appetite for heroes, military or otherwise, says Ward Carroll, a recently retired naval aviator and author of "Punk's War," a novel about patrolling the no-fly zone over southern Iraq. American society may not be making the kinds of sacrifices that make people look for heroes to celebrate. "You don't have rationing, you don't have gold stars in the window, and the other things that made [war heroes] a part of the fabric of American life" in the past, he says.

Even Schwarzkopf's own Gulf War memoir was titled "It Doesn't Take a Hero."

Or it just may be that America no longer puts anyone up on a pedestal. "Even our sports heroes aren't heroes anymore, in the way that Lou Gehrig and Mickey Mantle were," says Carroll. "The picture is a lot more blurred nowadays."

Washington Post researcher Rob Thomason contributed to this report.

Report this post as:

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A13 12:39AM

lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Paraphysique de psychosomatique S22 6:58AM

Chuck Grassley: Women Abusing, Animal Murdering, Illegal War Supporting Criminal S22 2:58AM

Finance Capitalism and the Digital Economy S21 4:45PM

Muselières syndicales, muselières patronales S21 7:19AM

Jeff Bezos, Amazon, The Washington Post, Whole Foods, Etc S21 2:50AM

Why Choose Nut Milk Over Cows' Milk S21 1:01AM

Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement S19 9:53AM

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

Paraphysique de contextualité S05 8:29AM

Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism S03 3:39PM

Ex-voto de réification S03 10:24AM

Please Oppose Warmonger, Execution and Torture Supporting Bush Operative Brett Kavanaugh A31 10:45PM

Paraphysique d'exploitation occultation A31 10:24PM

Ryan Zinke Is Charging Taxpayers For A Trophy Hunters' Council A31 2:10PM

Is the Financial Crash 2.0 Coming? A31 10:07AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy