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Good News, Bad News — Why Now?
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Good News, Bad News

The Military Times are four weekly newspapers that cater specifically to the military with the unimaginative names of the Air Force Times, Army Times, Navy Times, Marine Corps Times. While they share content under the Military Times name, each is tailored to the specific service on the masthead.

On Monday there will be an editorial calling for the removal of Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense.

As Charles of The Fulcrum says in his article, Why Don’t the Troops Support the Troops?, this is devastating.

Billmon of The Whiskey Bar worked for the group that published the Military Times before Gannett bought them out. He is troubled in his article, Unfriendly Fire, about the seeming attempt by the uniformed leaders to put all of the blame on Rumsfeld.

I share both views and have additional dread over the meaning of this.

The military has become too political. It is time for a major house cleaning. The people at the top, in and out of uniform, are spending more time and effort on marketing than the military. There are too many flag officers looking at their job prospects after retirement, and not enough attention being paid to their current job. Where are the protest retirements and resignations?

We are spending too much money on things that may never be used, like new aircraft and weapons systems, and not enough money on things that are being used up.

With all of the stars in the Pentagon how in hell do you run out of small arms ammunition? Why in hell did it take so long to get body armor and to up-armor Humvees? How in hell can an American military unit run short of rations? This is basic logistics. These are things that the military has had to do for thousands of years without computer networks and aircraft. These are not things that a Secretary of Defense deals with and the people responsible have screwed up. Getting rid of Rumsfeld isn’t going to solve these problems, but it is the necessary first step.

Waiting until the day before a mid-term election to print this editorial might be a very strong political signal, but why couldn’t they have sent it earlier? People have died who might not have if this had occurred earlier.


1 Michael { 11.05.06 at 9:08 am }

I dunno. The Pentagon brass have never liked Dumsfeld, primarily because he made it very clear from the start that he was out to shake things up in the armed forces. “Modernizing” and “streamlining” often mean “cutbacks” in bureaucratese, and that makes flag officers nervous, since their prestige isn’t usually measured in terms of gonadal size but more in terms of the forces they have under their command.

Yes, I think it’s significant that the military papers are calling for his ouster. But I don’t think it necessarily signifies a sea change in their opinions about him. They’ve hated him all along: the fact that he’s presided over the biggest clusterfuck since Vietnam is just icing on the cake.

2 Bryan { 11.05.06 at 11:22 am }

Michael, they went along with him and covered up his screw-ups. While the JAGs were complaining, the four-stars at the top were boot licking. The guys at the top are politicians, not military leaders. The military leaders have retired.

3 Mustang Bobby { 11.05.06 at 7:43 pm }

There was some hack on CNN who said that the Army Times et al were papers that were run by Gannett and so they take their editorial orders from Gannett, and they’re a liberal media conglomerate… and I missed the rest of it because I was laughing too loudly.

4 Bryan { 11.05.06 at 8:40 pm }

They are now owned by Gannett, but they have to deal with the military on a daily basis to get the important stuff, like the promotion lists, that keeps them in subscribers. They have a hiring preference for veterans that’s stronger than the Reserves, and every unit PR type has them on speed dial.

If Rummy retaliates and bans the sale of the papers from bases things could get very nasty.

The Military Times wouldn’t even consider publishing this without the approval of the Joint Chiefs and, more importantly, the senior NCOs of the services. The military had to have pushed this, because Gannett doesn’t have the ‘nads.

My newspapers in Rochester, NY, San Diego, CA, and Pensacola, FL are all Gannett puppy trainers, and none of them are crusading newspapers by any stretch of the imagination.