Today on CNN Late Edition, retired Army General John Batiste said there was a “direct link” between allegations of serious misconduct against Iraqi civilians at Haditha and the “bad judgment” of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in 2003 and 2004. Batiste explained that Rumsfeld’s war plan left troops “under-resourced [and] overcommitted.” The result was an “unbelievable” strain on U.S. forces. Watch it:
I, however, see a direct link between Haditha, the national embarrassment of Abu Ghraib, going on four years now of uncontrollable chaos in Iraq, with the bad judgment, poor decisions of our secretary of defense back in late 2003 and 2004.
I question his competency. And I speak for the American people. We deserve accountability.
BLITZER: Well, what specifically did he do wrong, in your opinion, that could have resulted in this kind of alleged atrocity at Haditha or what we all know happened at Abu Ghraib?
BATISTE: Wolf, we went to war with his plan, his plan alone. He all but ignored the U.S. Central Command’s hard work to develop a strategy that would have worked in Iraq, that would have accounted for the hard work to build the peace and stop the insurgency.
We should have deployed with up to 380,000 coalition troops, in addition to the Iraqi security forces, to establish security in that country, to secure the boarders with Iran and Syria, to intimidate the insurgent.
We went in under-resourced, overcommitted. And the strain on the force is unbelievable.