In a report, prepared for a hearing at the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, retired generals Hammes, Eaton and Batist accused the Pentagon head of having sent to Iraq poorly outfitted and equipped troops. Later on, they say, Rumsfeld had spared no effort to conceal that fact from the public.
Gen. Hammes has called it "a serious failure of the US leadership".
Donald Rumsfeld and other members of the US administration concealed certain facts from American citizens, for fear of losing public support of the Iraq war, affirms another retired general, John Batist.
For his turn, the third retired senior officer, Maj.-Gen. Paul Eaton, qualified Rumsfeld as a professionally inapt Secretary of Defense.
As Senator-Democrat Byron Dorgan, chairman of the Senate Committee told journalists last week, the hearing would shed light on the details of the planning and conduct of the military operation in Iraq. He noted that most Republican Senators had declined to attend the hearing.
According to the conclusions of the report drawn up by the generals, the Iraq war has brought up a new generation of Islamist radicals and provoked a tremendous upsurge of terrorism in the world.
Notably, it is quite unusual for retired servicemen in the United States to publicly criticize the Pentagon's actions in the course of a running military operation. It always draws the attention of the press.
Apart from the head of the Pentagon, the retired US generals also accuse Congress of the lack of any serious control of how the Pentagon has been running the Iraq operation. Gen. Batist says that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld threatened to sack anyone who dared mention the necessity of planning Iraq's postwar order.
In Batist's opinion, if due attention had been paid to the plans for Iraq's postwar order, Islamic fundamentalism would not have spread in Iraq, and the United States would not have made so many enemies.
Gen. Hammes had been in charge of setting up bases for Iraqi armed forces. Gen. Eaton had been responsible for the training of Iraqi servicemen and police. They both say that the planning of Iraq's postwar order was, to put it mildly, clumsy and unprofessional.
The Iraq war, which is in its fourth year, has claimed the lives of 2,700 US servicemen and cost US budget $300 billion. Opinion polls indicate massive public disapproval of the Bush administration. At the same time, opinions differ on the date for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.