November 4, 2006
Dissent among upper-level military officers over Iraq war policy has become widespread over the past few months, and a few retired generals have written books sharply critical of the Bush administration. Another one spoke at the University of Virginia's Miller Center (where I used to work) last week: Gen. Paul Van Riper (Ret.), USMC. He is the author of Straight Talk: An Obligation. He is probably in his 70s, so has not had close contact with active duty generals lately, but his observations are very honest and should be taken seriously. He is deeply troubled by what he believes to be the neglect of strategic planning by the Bush administration, and refusal to heed the opinions of military officers. Gen. Van Riper made it clear that he does not favor a precipitous withdrawal, which would be contrary to our national interests and prestige. He just thinks it's time to cut our losses and make the best of a bad situation. Toward the end, he said he just doesn't trust what Bush says anymore, and received a standing ovation from the audience. It is not the first time such words have been spoken, but it was a chilling presentation, nonetheless. His forum was broadcast on WVPT on Friday evening and will be rebroadcast on Sunday at 2:00 PM.
One hundred eight American service men and women died in Iraq last month, including ten whose names have not yet been released pending notification of next of kin.
The War introduction page has been thoroughly revised and now includes more detailed data on U.S. ground, naval, and air forces, including the names of all U.S. aircraft carriers and the numbers of various types of combat aircraft.