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Sunday, April 16, 2006

Secretary Rumsfeld, it's time to call it a night and go home.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've already heard about the six retired generals who have called for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Some may say seven, but I'm not counting General Wesley Clark, since frankly, he doesn't matter, having run for the opposition party's candidacy and has at least the perception of taint or opportunism. Furthermore, it's been a long time since he was a general. No, of far more interest is the three former field commanders who have called for Secretary Rumsfeld to step down. His inability to effectively fulfill the duties of his position have been obvious for quite some time now, but these six retired generals cast a different light on the problems in the United States Department of Defense. I know I'm still somewhat young, but I have never seen the like in my lifetime, and after speaking with others, I doubt this has precedent in the history of the United States. President Bush has, predictably, shown his support for someone who has only brought him grief and embarassment. In the instances where he has given sound advice, he has executed his ideas in a manner more suitable for a business than a military, to the grief of soldiers and their families. The time has come for Secretary Rumsfeld to step aside and allow someone far more qualified to take his place. He has more than overstayed his welcome.


Snave said...

Of course there would be political gain for the left as long as Rumsfeld remains at his job, but I have to get myself past that... because having a Secretary of Defense who doesn't do a good job, regardless of his party affiliation, is not good for the country. I believe that a large part of the problems with the Iraq war has to do with what you point out about Rumsfeld executing his ideas "in a manner more suitable to a business than a military". I think a lot of those who have been involved in the logistics of the war from its inception have looked at it that way. The administration looks at most things like things should be run like a business, and there are lots of things in our country that just don't work that way... that's another soapbox.

As for the war, I know you and I have a basic disagreement on why we invaded Iraq, why we are still there, and whether or not it was a valid concept from the beginning. On the other hand, even if our reasons may be different, I think we can agree that keeping Rumsfeld in his current position is not a healthy thing for the United States...

Letting Rumsfeld go probably WOULD look like an admission of failure on Bush's part (that is, Bush himself would probably look at it that way, and the media might spin it that way), but I suspect the president would earn himself and his party a lot of brownie points by getting rid of the guy. I still wouldn't have much respect for Bush, but I might be willing to take him a little more seriously if he would dump Rumsfeld and Cheney. By doing so, he would at least demonstrate an acknowledgment that changes in the administration's approach to Iraq might need to be made in order to turn it into a positive situation for America and for the rest of the world. My guess is that due to stubbornness on the part of the POTUS, Cheney and Rumsfeld will still both be around six months from now, and that they will represent a huge drag on the Republican party at midterm election time.

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

I can see President Bush getting rid of SecDef Rumsfeld, as that would be relatively simple for all parties concerned. However, I don't know what, short of an impeachment, President Bush could do to get rid of Vice President Cheney, as his position is one of the few specifically mentioned in the Constitution of the United States.

Furthermore, I'm not nearly as sure that getting rid of him would be a good thing. Though we all know he is perhaps the most powerful vice-president in U.S. history, all we have heard from him has been the standard tripe we hear from all vice-presidents, supportive of the president's agenda and basically drawing some of the heat from him. All that said, I find it plausible that he may in fact be a moderating influence for the Ivy-league frat boy currently in the White House. After all, President Bush has had far more opportunities to screw up than he has actually taken, and that includes forms of screwing up that would have been consistent with both his ideology and his personality.

In the case of Cheney, I think you may be succumbing to the false but popular belief that things have to get better. If there's one thing life has taught me, it's that things don't have to get better; they can always get much, much worse.

1138 said...

Cheny has to go so that Bush can hand pick his successor for '08.
That's not a partisan evaluation it's a practical one.
Cheney can resign at any time but odds are they are waiting for after the November 2006 congressional races so they can see which way the cards come up on any possiblity for impeachment. If it comes up bad, Cheney midght stay or night go depending on how far it all goes, Bush could resign rather than face impeachment Cheney moves up and pardons him and picks his successor to do the same favor. All very much like Agnew Nixon Ford but of course nobody helped Agnew.
If the cards come up good, Cheney resigns so that Bush can pick someone that can show experiance in the White House for '08 and save the Republican Party a nomination bloodbath.

Rummy and Ashcroft put this administration in a bad light from the start and put a lot of us Veterans questioning policy before the day the WTC was attacked, before he moved slow on Afganistan and before everything that has come since.

It was hoped that there might be a softening of attitude in the second term and Bush would get serious about a positive legacy (Booting Rumsfeld). Instead we've seen anything but.
At this point even if Rumsfeld were to leave, there would be very little positive change unless the president were to do the one thing he has never done - reach outside the club for a successor.
Not likely.