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Last Updated: Friday, 14 April 2006, 14:57 GMT 15:57 UK
Rumsfeld resignation calls grow
Donald Rumsfeld
Rumsfeld is accused of fostering an atmosphere of arrogance
Pressure is growing on US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, with more retired generals calling for him to resign over the Iraq war.

The White House has said it is happy with the way Mr Rumsfeld is handling his job and the situation in Iraq.

But the backing comes as the number of retired generals calling for him to be replaced has risen to six.

It is being described as a rebellion led by those who know Mr Rumsfeld's handling of the war from the inside.

The two most recent retired generals to voice their unease about Mr Rumsfeld's handling of the war are Maj Gen John Riggs and Maj Gen Charles H Swannack Jr, both of the Army.

I feel he has micromanaged the generals who are leading our forces
Maj Gen Charles H Swannack Jr

In a radio interview Gen Riggs, a former division commander, said it was time for Mr Rumsfeld to go because he fostered an atmosphere of "arrogance" among the Pentagon's top civilian leadership.

"They only need the military advice when it satisfies their agenda. I think that's a mistake, and that's why I think he should resign," he told National Public Radio (NPR).

Gen Swannack Jr, who led the 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq, went even further.

He questioned whether Mr Rumsfeld was the right person to lead the fight against terrorism.

CRITICAL RETIRED GENERALS
Maj Gen Charles H Swannack Jr, Army
Maj Gen John Riggs, Army
Maj Gen John Batiste, Army
Gen Anthony Zinni, Marines
Lt Gen Gregory Newbold, Marines
Maj Gen Paul Eaton, Army

"I really believe that we need a new secretary of defence because Secretary Rumsfeld carried way too much baggage with him," he told CNN.

"Specifically, I feel he has micromanaged the generals who are leading our forces."

Gen Riggs, who has been an outspoken critic on problems facing the US military before, served in the army for 39 years and became a three-star general.

He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions as a helicopter pilot during Vietnam, but retired with the loss of one of his stars after the army said he had misused contractors, according to the NPR website.

Gen Swannack Jr commanded the 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq from 2003-4.

Donald Rumsfeld visiting troops in Iraq, December 2005
The White House insists Mr Rumsfeld has its firm backing
The fresh resignation calls add to those already made by four other retired generals directly involved in the Iraq war and its planning.

Retired Marine Gen Anthony Zinni told CNN Mr Rumsfeld should be held responsible for a series of mistakes, beginning with "throwing away 10 years worth of planning, plans that had taken into account what we would face in an occupation of Iraq".

'Fine job'

But others have come out in support of the embattled defence secretary, who twice offered to resign over the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal - offers which US President George W Bush rejected.

Retired Marine Lt Gen Mike DeLong, who was deputy commander of Central Command as the US military prepared to invade Iraq in March 2003, said Mr Rumsfeld was good at his job.

People... should never question the dedication, the patriotism and the work ethic of Secretary Rumsfeld
Gen Peter Pace,
Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman

"When you walk in to him, you've got to be prepared," he told CNN.

"You've got to know what you're talking about. If you don't, you're summarily dismissed. But that's the way it is, and he's effective."

And the White House has made clear once again that Mr Rumsfeld retains its full support.

Spokesman Scott McClellan said President George W Bush believed Mr Rumsfeld was doing a "fine job" at a very difficult time - when the nation was at war and the military undergoing major restructuring.

Mr Rumsfeld, when asked if the calls for his resignation were affecting his ability to do the job, answered only "no".

And Gen Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said criticism was to be expected at a time of war in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

But he said people "should never question the dedication, the patriotism and the work ethic" of Mr Rumsfeld.


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