Just when it seemed the revolt of the six retired generals was dying down, the junior Senator from New York state has decided to fan the flames by granting Zinni, Batiste, Newbold, and the others a semblance of respectability by calling on them to testify before the Senate.
It is a shrewd move on her part. It allows her to do 'something' to try and keep the anti-war crowd in her camp as she campaigns for her Senate seat and a possible 2008 Presidential bid. By focusing on 'what went wrong' she hopes to impress the more moderate voters in her state that she is not frothing at the mouth. But since Operation Iraqi Freedom, Democrats have been harping on nothing but what they think has gone wrong so this is nothing new so I don't expect her to gain any new supporters. This is just a ploy to keep what supporters she has on the reservation.
What is new is the dangers this entire episode presents. As Charles Krauthammer points out, this radical politicization of the military is a dangerous thing. He talks about banana republics and their militaries, it goes further back than that. In Imperial Rome, it became the Praetorian Guard who became the elector of the Emperor on several occasions. The most well known being the ascension of Cladius to the purple toga and golden laurels. Rome was never the same after that, it was a watershed moment to rank up there with Ceaser's crossing the Rubicon and the later final fall of Rome to barbarian hordes.
Comment on General Batiste.
Krauthammer quotes Batiste as complaining that Secretary Rumsfeld discarded 12 years of deliberate planning before Operation Iraqi Freedom kicked off. Methinks the retired general complains too much, that perhaps he spent his tours at the Puzzle Palace finishing up his Masters Degree in PowerPoint presentation on those deliberate plans. Batiste should remember an axiom that is taught to all butter bar lieutenants, that 'no plan survives first contact.' The first contact in this new war being the crashing of three airliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon with a fourth crashing into a field. Batiste should remember another time in the past hundred years when all the perfect US plans for a future war were invalidated by first contact with the enemy. It happened on a beautiful Sunday in December at a place called Pearl Harbor. In the span of two hours, the War and Navy Departments' various Orange Plans become so much junk, like all the wrecked P-40s and the battleships setting into the mud of the harbor. The US had to adopt a totally new strategy back then, just as they are doing now.