Thursday, June 14, 2007

Open Letter to Senator Reid

When I heard this on the news today I almost blew a gasket. I try really hard to maintain an even temper, evaluate the news, question it, and work with the reality of it. But, just like the last posting, sometimes I simply revert to the McUSA norm.
"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid once again found himself on the defensive after calling the outgoing Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace "incompetent" during a recent conference call interview with liberal bloggers. His comments were first reported by The Politico and confirmed by NBC News. Earlier this year Reid was criticized after saying "the war is lost." -- Source

After I got home I double and triple checked to make sure that I wasn't hallucinating and that more than one source carried the story.

Dear Mr. Reid,
I hope this finds you healthy and your family doing well. I read with absolute disgust your appalling comments against General Peter Pace. At first I didn't believe that a savvy politician could be so publically stupid. But sure enough, You called a Four-Star General of Marines incompetent.

I for one would like to know exactly which benchmarks you are using in your character assassination? Is it a direct comparison of your service versus his? How many years did you dedicate to placing yourself in harms way? I respect your stint as a Capitol Hill policeman. But that really doesn't compare to a Bronze Star with Combat V; Navy Commendation Medal with Combat "V"; and the Combat Action Ribbon now does it.

I have to respect General Pace for tolerating your nonsense. Since you are not in his chain of command, he is free to defend himself and his reputation. It's too bad that his time spent at the Naval Academy taught him to not lash out at public stupidity that cannot be substantiated.

Back to benchmarks; Could your ignorance be based on the perception that you are better than him educationally speaking? Does your AS and BS at two no-name Utah colleges compare favorably with his competitive appointment, attendance at, and graduation from the US Naval Academy? In all fairness I will call you two even on that score. So, it must be your JD from George Washington University that you think is the tiebreaker. I'd stack his Master's Business from George Washington University, and his time spent at Harvard University for the Senior Executives in National and International Security program. As if that isn't enough to drown out your slanderous lie, he also a graduated from the Infantry Officers' Advanced Course; the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the National War College.

Maybe you based it on performance? He consistently advanced thru the toughest meritocracy in this country. Did you start at the bottom and through qualification and competence advance upwards to your position? Or, did you simply get reelected time after time? While I assume that the Capitol Police are a meritocracy it doesn't look like you stuck it out long enough to make something of yourself.

Could it have been his character that caused you to fault his competence? I suppose that since you are a real estate tycoon and ethics rules violator yourself, you likely shouldn't throw stones. General Pace "grew up" in an environment that isn't monastically perfect, but far less tolerant of lying in any form, cheating, and technical violations of regulation/law. I suppose it was his forthright non-nuanced answer about gays in the military that makes you think he is incompetent. You may be right, he likely wouldn't make a good politician since he won't bother to define "is".

I am at a loss to figure out why you would call him incompetent. In every measurable category I can think of he outstrips you. Since Officer promotions above major (if memory serves) require Senate confirmation, why didn't you halt him when you had a chance?

I hope your voters are intelligent enough to know they should be ashamed of you and take to sackcloth and ashes. You should simply resign and remove yourself to private life where you will not slander your betters and be taken seriously.

PE Gwinn
MSgt/USMC (ret)


  1. By just about any data point, Iraq is a mess. The US military has been engaged since 2003 yet killing rates are up and economic production is down. US forces have far better training and equipment yet the opposition continues to thrive. Somebody is to blame for this poor performance. If not the military chain of command, then who?

  2. Hi Jeff, thanks for stopping by.

    This caught my eye: "Somebody is to blame for this poor performance. If not the military chain of command, then who?"

    Let's start with the Administration that placed politically motivated rules of engagement onto the troops. Let's continue with the Congress that really doesn't care about the conflict except as it relates to them getting reelected.

    If the President put out the word to once and for all win this thing without restraints..... It would be over a lot quicker and with a lot less American dead.

    But neither Congress, the Administration, nor the American people have any stomach for winning. For the proof of that statement, read the declaration of war against Japan. Then compare the campaigns. Then read the modern equivalent, the AUMF.

    No sane person wishes for war. But to blame the professionals who are forced to follow amateurs orders is reprehensible.

    C'ya round, come back anytime. Or check out the Talk America message board if you prefer longer, more detailed discussions.

  3. A realist deals with the world as it is, not as he'd like it to be. The fact is the military reports to the civilian leadership. The day that changes, is the day we should wet ourselves. Whether or not your description of the President and Congress is accurate, we can find plenty of plunders on the military side.

    The US fought a great war of counterinsurgency in Vietnam. After Tet, the VC were essentially destroyed. Too bad they didn't build on that experience.

    You didn't have to be an army guy to know wars were getting smaller because of nuclear weapons. Yet the US military essentially tossed its manual on counterinsurgency warfare. George Bush didn't tell them to toss it. That decision was made by the chain of command.

    As far as I can tell, it wasn't Bush's call to bypass the Fedayeen enroute to Baghdad. Many of those men became the backbone of the Sunni insurgency.

    Although we may debate Bush's competence, we can agree that the civilian leadership can't make good strategic decisions without good intelligence. The US military was slow to recognize the insurgency and equally slow to recognize the civil war. It was slow to identify those changes and shift tactics. Those failures have gone a long way towards solidifying the current mess.

    On the tactical level, the US has a nasty habit of calling in airstrikes to take out snipers. That's great in the short run: sniper obliterated but the house he was hiding behind probably wasn't his own. These types of tactical decisions have helped create as many enemies as they've destroyed.

    While the civilian leadership is incompetent, I can find plenty of blame to go round...

  4. "A realist deals with ... " LOL I have said that so many times I sometimes forget that others may use it as well.

    I don't agree with everything you wrote. However, unlike a certain Senator who is still on my shitlist, I can respect your opinion.

    Why? Because you explained your rationale. Simple really. Had Reid specified exactly why the good General was incompetent then I would never have printed a rant. I might have posted it for discussion on my message board at TalkAmerica. I might have even attacked his reasoning. But, I would have respected the man far more by him simply stating his belief and whatever he thinks confirms it.

    Without trying to debate Strategy, Operational Art, Tactics, and Techniques on this blog I will say that I don't totally disagree with your comment at all. There is plenty of blame to go around. We, I think, may apportion it differently and from different perspectives but agree that there is plenty.

    Take care.