One guess is that the military is uncomfortable about the prospect of launching a war against Iran under Donald Rumsfeld. Retired officers are able to voice public criticisms that serving military are unable to put forward. Jim Lehrer interviewed retired General John Batiste on the Newshour last night
So far, the White House has dismissed the revolt of the generals:
JIM LEHRER: So where do you fit Don Rumsfeld into that then? He's one person. Everybody wants him to -- you guys want him to go. So what are you saying to me?
MAJ. GEN. JOHN BATISTE: I think an honorable man would take account, be responsible for what he did, and step down.
JIM LEHRER: What would you say to a skeptic who would say, "Wait a minute, General. One secretary of defense is solely responsible for everything that's gone wrong in Iraq, and there is nothing that any of you military leaders could do about it on the ground?"
MAJ. GEN. JOHN BATISTE: I didn't say that. What I'm saying is that the strategic underpinnings of this war can be traced back in policy to the secretary of defense. He built it the way he wanted it.
JIM LEHRER: Do you expect Secretary Rumsfeld to do what you want him to do?
MAJ. GEN. JOHN BATISTE: I have no idea.
JIM LEHRER: I mean, do you...
MAJ. GEN. JOHN BATISTE: He's his own man.
JIM LEHRER: Is that a bottom line for you? Have you talked to these other generals about this? Is this an organized effort?
MAJ. GEN. JOHN BATISTE: You know, surprisingly, it's not, not at all. We haven't talked; this is all spontaneous.
JIM LEHRER: Did you talk about it at the time when you were on active duty in private?
MAJ. GEN. JOHN BATISTE: Sure. We were all disgruntled.
SCOTT MCCLELLAN, White House Press Secretary: The president believes Secretary Rumsfeld is doing a very fine job during a challenging period in our nation's history.Translation: "Heck of a job, Rummy..."