Blaming the Generals and Apologies

Hoffmania features Rick Maze of the Military Times:

In the wake of Sen. John Kerry’s belated apology for offending troops deployed in Iraq, House Majority Leader Rep. John Boehner of Ohio is being asked by Democrats to apologize for seemingly blaming senior military officers for any problems with the Bush administration’s Iraq strategy. Boehner, however, does not appear to be budging. “Good try,” he said when asked about demands for an apology. In a Wednesday appearance on CNN, Boehner was asked for his view on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the U.S. policy in Iraq. “There are a lot of people who want to blame what’s happening in Iraq on Donald Rumsfeld, but when you look at the transformation that our military has been through, it’s nothing short of remarkable,” Boehner said. “The fact is, the generals on the ground are in charge.” Boehner acknowledged that “there have been mistakes along the way,” but did not blame Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld, Boehner said, has been pushing the military to transform, but the uniformed military leaders have resisted. “You have to understand that the generals who have been in charge of the Pentagon have been very resistant to change,” Boehner said.

Rick gets only one thing wrong – John Kerry did not call our troops stupid. And he did apologize for any misunderstanding. Boehner said he would beat Kerry to death if he did not apologize. But when Boehner insults our generals rather than blame the Commander-in-Chief, he owes us know apology? I bet Tony Snow has a ready explanation, which goes something like this. As Snow told the press corp:

I mean, you and I and everybody in this room have said things that we didn’t intend to say. And when it offends people, you say, I’m sorry.

We noted the converse:

Let’s see. Mr. Snow has made a lot of disgusting accusations based on lies for which he has not apologized. Same goes for President Bush and Vice President Cheney. But I guess they intended to lie in a way that offends people.

So I presume that Boehner intended to insult our troops. Did Michael Steele also intend to insult the generals? There does seem to be a GOP pattern developing.

In the meantime, the press is finally reporting the news of that abducted soldier and we now know his name:

The U.S. military identified a kidnapped soldier for the first time on Thursday, saying he was 41-year-old Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie. Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell also confirmed widely published reports that the reserve soldier was visiting his Iraqi wife when he was handcuffed and taken away by gunmen during a visit to the woman’s family. The soldier’s name first became known after a woman claiming to be his mother-in-law told the story of the interpreter’s allegedly secret marriage three months ago and his abduction on Oct. 23 … The spokesman said the United States believed the soldier was still in the custody of his abductors and there was “an ongoing dialogue” to win the his release. He did not say with whom or at what level.

An ongoing dialogue with his abductors? Are you serious? Mark Kleiman calls this cut and run – and Andrew Sullivan suggests that the Commander-in-Chief has abandoned Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie. Our soldiers deserve better than this.