Outspoken Army General Upsets White House
Editor's Note: If top fighting generals are making statements like this with troops still in the field, the level of frustration among those tasked to fight this war must be enormous. The game plan espoused by Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Perle has left our troops exposed, underfed, lacking fuel and open to attacks from the flank. Nasiriya and Basra remain untaken, with Baghdad looming ominously in the distance. Many of our soldiers are dead or wounded. General Wallace has every right to be angry. - wrpBy The Associated Press
Friday 28 March 2003
WASHINGTON -- His war plan may not have panned out in Iraq quite as neatly as Lt. Gen. William S. Wallace had hoped.
"The plan is to be decisive, rapid, lethal and to give our adversary no edge he can take advantage of,'' Wallace, commander of the ground battle in Iraq, was quoted as saying earlier this month.
After a week of war, Wallace upset the White House Thursday by saying publicly that Pentagon strategists had misunderstood the combativeness of Iraqi fighters. The miscalculation, he said, had stalled the coalition's drive toward Baghdad.
"The enemy we're fighting against is different from the one we'd war-gamed against,'' Wallace, commander of V Corps, told The New York Times and The Washington Post. "We knew they were here, but we did not know how they would fight.''
Wallace's comments fed into the frustration the Bush administration already was expressing over media coverage of the pace of the war effort. The war, the White House says daily, is going well and at a good speed.
White House press secretary Ari Fleischer on Friday would not say whether he agreed with Wallace.
"The strength of the plan is at the ability to adapt to the realities of the circumstances while still focused on what it is we seek to do,'' Fleischer said at his daily briefing.
At a briefing at U.S. Central Command in Qatar, Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks said uncertainty is part of battle.
"No one can ever predict how a battle will unfold,'' Brooks said. ``We remain confident that we have a good grip on what's going on here and we're proceeding.''
Tough talk isn't new for Wallace, 55, who was promoted to commanding general of V Corps in June 2001.
Chafing at the wait for action to begin earlier this year, Wallace growled to a reporter that he was sick of having to deal with missile warnings of Iraqi incoming "lawn darts'' without striking back. Saddam Hussein, he said in less polite terms, was ticking him off.
Wallace also said he found the responsibility humbling.
He had worked for it all his career. Wallace, who goes by his middle name, Scott, graduated from West Point in 1969 and then the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the Naval War College before earning postgraduate degrees in operations analysis and international relations.
A Vietnam veteran, Wallace progressed from soldier to student to trainer and commander. By June 1999, he was serving as commander of the Joint Warfighting Center and director of joint training at the U.S. Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va.
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