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 Saturday, April 15, 2006

Donald Rumsfeld Got to Go : Too Much Damage Already Done

  Read here full article by John Denham

SEVERAL high-ranking US generals have called for the removal of Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld over his handling of planning for the Iraq war.

Retired Maj Gen John Batiste said while he had not talked to the other generals, the clamour for Mr Rumsfeld to step down is "happening for a reason".

Gen Batiste, who commanded the 1st Infantry Division forces in Iraq, said he declined an opportunity for promotion to the rank of lieutenant general and return to the war-torn country as the No 2 US military officer because he could not accept Mr Rumsfeld's tough management style.

He said he does not believe Mr Rumsfeld has been sufficiently accountable for the plan that led to the invasion of Iraq and the ouster of Saddam Hussein, although he also said that "we have no option but to succeed in Iraq".

Mr Batiste told CBS's The Early Show:

"I support civilian control [of the military] completely.

But we went to war with a flawed plan that didn't account for the hard work to build the peace after we took down the regime.

We also served under a secretary of defence who didn't understand leadership, who was abusive, who was arrogant, and who didn't build a strong team".

Asked why he was focusing his criticism on Mr Rumsfeld and not President George W Bush, Mr Batiste replied, "My focus is on the Department of Defence. It's what I know."

Mr Rumsfeld claimed there is no coordinated effort to get him fired, calling a recent series of critical statements "absolutely coincidental".

The White House insisted Mr Rumsfeld continues to have Mr Bush's confidence.

"The president believes Secretary Rumsfeld is doing a very fine job during a challenging period in our nation's history,"

Mr Bush spokesperson said as two more retired generals called for the secretary's resignation Thursday, bringing the number this month to six.

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