Update: To watch each of the prepared statements, click on the photos below.
The Democratic Policy Committee's Senate hearing today on the state of the U.S. military in Iraq was disturbing, to say the least. All three military officers who testified spoke in stark terms of widespread discontent in the U.S. armed forces, and a generalized lack of confidence in Donald Rumsfeld's leadership. All three men have served in Iraq - commanding an infantry division, training Iraqi forces and establishing bases for the Iraqi forces.
"The detailed deliberate planning to finish the job in Iraq was not considered as Secretary Rumsfeld forbade military planners from developing plans for securing a post-war Iraq. At one point, he threatened to fire the next person who talked about the need for a post-war plan. Our country and incredible military were not set up for success."
- Major General John R.S. Batiste, U.S. Army (ret.)
"The leadership that has led us to this point fails today to understand the strategic planning requirements to solve the Iraqi dilemma, stating essentially that their strategy is to stand up Iraqi Security Forces and to withdraw U.S. forces. Stay the course is not a strategy."
- Major General Paul D. Eaton, U.S. Army (ret.)
"Our procurement has not only been slow, we have failed to buy the best available. Further, the administration has categorically failed to maintain or replace the equipment necessary for the units in the U.S. to be ready for other potential operations."
- Colonel Thomas X. Hammes, USMC (ret.)
One interesting military rule of thumb emerged from the hearing: Civil wars condemn 10% of the population to death. In the case of Iraq, the carnage would amount to 2 million people. If CSPAN reruns this hearing, try to watch. It's one small step toward a return to congressional oversight, and the kind of hearing one might get if Republicans lose the Congress and the Pentagon is forbidden to send civilian neocon handlers, like defense intelligence czar Stephen Cambone, when uniformed personnel are called to testify.