The Rural Patriot

September 28, 2006

General Batiste on Randy Kuhl

Filed under: Iraq War,NY-29 Blogs,Randy Kuhl — ellicatt @ 10:52 am

Disclosure: Hat tip and full credit for this post goes to The Fighting 29th website. This is their find, and they deserve the recognition. If you haven’t visited the site, please do so. They are doing some great work on the Massa/Kuhl congressional race.

Batiste Interview

Retired Army Major General John Batiste has lived in Rochester for less than a year, but his outspoken criticism of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has quickly made him one of the area’s most well-known residents.

Batiste, who moved to Rochester to join Klein Steel in November 2005, served in Iraq twice, most recently in 2004 and 2005, when he was commanding general of the First Infantry Division. He also served as an assistant to Paul Wolfowitz when Wolfowitz was deputy defense secretary.


In your talk at the library, you criticized members of Congress who make fact-finding trips to Iraq and come back and report that things are going well. Was that a reference to Congressman Randy Kuhl?

Yeah, that was Randy Kuhl.

Have you spoken to Kuhl? Could he be right?

No, no. I wouldn’t give him the time of day or my vote, for that matter. I am a registered Republican, but it will be a cold day in hell before I vote for anyone who I don’t think is well informed and has the moral courage to make the right decisions.

I encourage you to read the full article. General Batiste’s views on the Iraq situation are quite insightful. In my view, his opinions carry validity and truth. He is being realistic. It’s not a pretty picture and he doesn’t try to mislead the readers into thinking that it is better than what some are trying to lead us to believe.



  1. Thanks for the plug, and I echo your recommendation to go check out the whole article.

    Batiste is interesting because he couples a harsh critique of the current situation and how we got there with a disarmingly candid approach to discussing possible solutions. His point is not that he has a solution, but that we need to re-think our whole strategy in Iraq. And that is an important first step, because the debate over Iraq has been muffled and constrained by strawman arguments. Either you “support the troops” and “stay the course”, or you “cut and run”. Those are false choices — we need to start talking about the real, hard choices we have to make. Either we gear up for a real war, with a much larger army and real sacrifice, or we need a smart withdrawal strategy.

    Instead of this debate, the last few years have seen a shameful display of politics at the expense of country by both sides. For the most part, the Democratic side has been content with pointing out every place that the war has gone wrong without proposing constructive alternatives. Moaning about how we got here without being willing to engage in a politically risky debate over the real, hard choices is no better than mouthing “stay the course”. The Republican focus on quashing dissent and painting an unrealistically rosy picture of the war is just as cowardly — real leaders admit mistakes and adjust the course.

    Eric Massa is one of the few, Democrat or Republican, who has the courage to propose a real Iraq alternative, and to discuss it in depth. Randy Kuhl has demonstrated the Republican brand of political cowardice on this issue. “Moral courage”, Batiste’s term, is exactly what we need now, and Kuhl doesn’t have it.

    Comment by Rottenchester — September 28, 2006 @ 11:46 am | Reply

  2. I agree with you Rottenchester.

    There are some Democrats, such as Massa, who are promoting a better way; however, it is the “petty politics” of both sides that receive the press coverage.

    I feel that a lot of those who are in support of “staying the course” are not being very honest with themselves and their supporters in terms on the impact to people, (military, military families, veterans, and Iraqi civilians) and the cost to our country (which now averages at least $1.5 Billion a week). The impact of all of this borrowing to finance this war is going to come back to bite us one day, and the dragging on of inefficient strategy is costing us in more ways than one.

    It is time for a change in the way this is being handled, including holding investigations/hearings on many matters related to this war. This is something that the Republican Congress has virtually refused to allow or even to participate in when Democrats have held their own hearings.

    I don’t understand this way of thinking. Lack of accountability and responsible spending does this country no good. It also leads to temptation on the part of those who are in the position to take advantage of a lax environment. Any business run in this manner would not survive long term.

    Comment by ellicatt — September 28, 2006 @ 12:26 pm | Reply

  3. This blogging about this race is impressive. The southern part of this district, and I know first hand believe me, is rural, economically in trouble and even sorta sleepy. Still, voters aren’t afraid to ticket-split—a big surprise, really. If the dollars can be poured into this race, I bet the Democrat will win. We’ll see, though….

    Comment by penn yan pepper — September 28, 2006 @ 11:39 pm | Reply

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