Stand Down and Shut Up

Do you have a problem with people who show their temper? I don't. Maybe thanks to some of my Italian heritage, it doesn't much bother me. But it bothers a lot of people.

More than a few newspapers ripped Donald Rumsfeld and Joint Chiefs Chairman General Richard Myers for getting a little hot under the collar this week. At issue: all these criticisms of the U.S. war plan -- apparently a lot of it coming from active and retired military officers.

Here's what I think: Rumsfeld and Myers are right to get ticked. Not even two weeks into the war and they're being second-guessed? I can see armchair general reporters doing that. But the real ones?


They say we should have more troops. But I don't remember them saying a peep when they knew before all this started the exact number of our troops.

They say we're getting stymied. I say, 13 days into this, we're getting a hell of a lot closer to Baghdad.

They say guerilla forces are frustrating us. I say we control 90 percent of Iraqi airspace, so they don't appear to be stopping us.

In this country, we're free to speak up. But in war, I think we're also bound to shut up. Our troops are having a tough enough time dealing with the Republican Guard. The last thing they need is grief from our own military guard.

Here are the facts:

U.S. and British casualties have been surprisingly light. Iraqi casualties stunningly heavy.

Yes, they have our prisoners. But we have thousands more of theirs.

We can't control the occasional terrorist who wants to blow himself up. But they can't control the more than occasional Iraqi soldier who just wants to give himself up.

I'm no general, but I think our men and women in combat are doing a pretty good job in combat.

I'm not fit to judge them. But I don't think some embittered armchair generals, retired or otherwise, should second-guess them. So stand down and shut up. If this is failure, someone -- anyone -- please show me success.

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