“Now, at the same time, we had this war on terrorism. We were fighting al Qaeda. We were engaged in Afghanistan. We were looking at ‘cells’ in 60 countries. We were looking at threats that we were receiving information on and intelligence on. And I think most of the generals felt, let’s deal with this one at a time. Let’s deal with this threat from terrorism, from al Qaeda.
“I blame the civilian leadership of the Pentagon directly. Because if they were given the responsibility, and if this was their war, and by everything that I understand, they promoted it and pushed it – certain elements in there certainly – even to the point of creating their own intelligence to match their needs, then they should bear the responsibility.
Look, there is one statement that bothers me more than anything else. And that’s the idea that when the troops are in combat, everybody has to shut up. Imagine if we put troops in combat with a faulty rifle, and that rifle was malfunctioning, and troops were dying as a result. I can’t think anyone would allow that to happen, that would not speak up. Well, what’s the difference between a faulty plan and strategy that’s getting just as many troops killed? Itâ€™s leading down a path where we’re not succeeding and accomplishing the missions we’ve set out to do.”