It’s been obvious from the beginning of the Iraq debacle that the Bush administration put blind pursuit of geopolitical power ahead of military intelligence and planning, then told new lies to sway public opinion when old ones went sour. We’re finding out more about that as we learn the president and those around him leaked discredited classified information about Iraq’s supposed nuclear plans to sell the war and then tried to silence former ambassador Joseph Wilson for exposing the fraud.

Now, a rising chorus of former military leaders are speaking up. Many are calling for the removal of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. If only that were enough. Here’s what they’re saying–and see page 17 for a story about one who’s coming to the Triangle. And remember, this is a year we can start to change things.

Marine Lt. Gen. Greg Newbold (Ret.), director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2000-02, in Time magazine:

“I am driven to action now by the missteps and misjudgments of the White House and the Pentagon. … What we are living with now is the consequences of successive policy failures. Some of the missteps include: the distortion of intelligence in the buildup to the war, McNamara-like micromanagement that kept our forces from having enough resources to do the job, the failure to retain and reconstitute the Iraqi military in time to help quell civil disorder, the initial denial that an insurgency was the heart of the opposition to occupation, alienation of allies who could have helped in a more robust way to rebuild Iraq, and the continuing failure of the other agencies of our government to commit assets to the same degree as the Defense Department.”

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul D. Eaton (Ret.), in charge of training the Iraqi military from 2003-04, in The New York Times:

“In sum, [Rumsfeld] has shown himself incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically. … Too much power has shifted to the executive branch, not just in terms of waging war but also in planning the military of the future. Congress should remember it still has the power of the purse; it should call our generals, colonels, captains and sergeants to testify frequently, so that their opinions and needs are known to the men they lead.”

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. John Batiste (Ret.), led the 1st Infantry Division in Iraq, on CBS:

“We went to war with a flawed plan that didn’t account for the hard work to build the peace after we took down the regime. We also served under a secretary of defense who didn’t understand leadership, who was abusive, who was arrogant, who didn’t build a strong team.”