Gene Gomulka | May 01, 2006
I could not help but notice that the Foreword to your marriage book was written by General Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret), who
has called for Mr. Rumsfeld’s resignation. Don’t you think General Zinni and the other general officers who have
voiced criticism of the Secretary of Defense are being disloyal…? Roger
When I was an active duty chaplain, I was forbidden to have my answer to your question reported in the media. Well, guess
what? I’m no longer on active duty, and like General Zinni and the other retired officers, I’m now free to speak
my peace without fear of being disciplined for violating Articles 88 and 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
You questioned the loyalty of General Zinni who disagreed with the Secretary of Defense over the need to have invaded Iraq
that President Bush initially argued was in response to the presence of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). What you have to
realize is that General Zinni was, and always will be, a Marine. The motto of the Marine Corps is “Semper Fidelis.”
Being “faithful” goes beyond “loyalty.” While some people (even Presidents) feel they are “loyal”
by defending others even when they make mistakes (or give bad advice), a person who is “faithful” is not afraid
to risk being criticized when he or she voices disagreement with what he or she believes in conscience to be a wrong decision.
questioning the need to have invaded Iraq, one is then moved to ask if the sacrifices our troops are making are in vain? If
history judges that the generals are right in their criticism, then President Bush’s legacy may be similar to that of
President James Polk. When criticizing people like General Zinni, one must remember that one of our country’s most respected
generals, Ulysses S. Grant, while also in retirement, criticized President Polk’s decision to invade Mexico.
Is our invasion of Iraq similar to our incursion in Mexico? President Polk said we needed to declare war because Mexicans
had "invaded our territory and shed American blood upon American soil." This was in reference to shots supposedly exchanged
between Mexican calvary and U.S. soldiers along the Rio Grande on April 24, 1846. However, was the U.S. in any real danger
from our neighbors to the South? Did this skirmish justify a declaration of war and our invasion of Mexico? Our war against
our Mexican neighbors ultimately resulted in the deaths of 13,000 American soldiers, only 1.5 percent (i.e., 195) of whom
died of wounds suffered in combat; the rest stemmed from disease and unsanitary conditions during the war. To date, 2390 American
military personnel have been killed in Iraq.
In reflecting upon his involvement as a young officer fighting against the Mexicans along side Robert E. Lee and other
fellow West Point graduates, President Grant wrote: “There was never a more wicked war than that waged by the United
States on Mexico. I thought so at the time, when I was a youngster, only I had not moral courage enough to resign." Had the
Mexican-American War waged on for years and had Grant been ordered to return to fight in Mexico, would he have turned down
promotion and resigned like Major General Batiste whom some have cricized for his disagreement with the Secretary of Defense?
As Congress debates current immigration problems, would the history and economy of Mexico have evolved differently had we
not invaded Mexico, occupied its capital, crippled its economy, annexed its territory, and killed some 25,000 Mexicans? How
our invasion of Iraq ultimately affects the history and economy of Iraq and the region has yet to be seen.
Although General A. C. Zinni was already retired when U.S. Forces invaded Iraq, his son, Anthony, a Marine Corps officer,
continues to serve on active duty. After having made two deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, how will Captain A. E. Zinni
view his country’s military involvement in Iraq years from now when President Bush and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld
are long retired? Will he be like General Grant and regret what his President ordered him to do, or will he, like many World
War II veterans, proudly view his military service in Iraq as a justified response against a real threat to world peace?
“A voice for military families” Columnist and author of The Survival Guide for Marriage
in the Military available at www.plaintec.net
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Copyright 2006 Gene Gomulka. All opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily reflect
those of Military.com.