William Safire chimes in on Rumsfeld

Reply Tue 11 May, 2004 07:49 am
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Reply Tue 11 May, 2004 07:52 am
GOP columnist and operative, Robert Novak, delivered a telling message in a recent piece he wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times.

While the White House officially vowed Rumsfeld's retention, there was no reinforcement in his natural political constituency. Last week, I talked to Republican members of Congress, GOP fund-raisers and contributors, defense consultants and even one senior official of a coalition partner. The clear consensus was that Rumsfeld had to go. ''There must be a neck cut,'' said the foreign official, ''and there is only one neck of choice.''

Rumsfeld is paying the price for the way he has run the Department of Defense for more than three years, but the price is also being paid by George W. Bush. From the first months of the Bush administration, I have heard complaints by old military hands that the new secretary's arrogance and insularity were creating a dysfunctional Pentagon. That climate not only limits the government's ability to deal with the prisoner scandal but also may have been its cause.


To well-informed outsiders, Rumsfeld's fate seems assured. Stratfor, the private intelligence service, reported last week: ''The amazing thing is not that the White House is preparing Rumsfeld for hanging but that it has taken so long.'' The report added that Rumsfeld ''consistently managed to get the strategic and organizational questions wrong.''

That harsh view is widely shared inside the Pentagon.
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Reply Tue 11 May, 2004 08:19 am
Its possible that there was a breakdown of communication at the Pentagon. However, I'm not at all surprised that the report and photos (allegedly) didn't make their way up the chain of command to Rumsfeld. It sounds like it was pay back time by those lower in the military side of the chain of command against Rumsfeld's arrogant management style. These lower level staff learned very early that Rumsfeld likes to kill the messenger bringing him bad news. The culture resulting from Rumsfeld's style and his compulsive need to micro manage left him vulnerable to lower level political sabotage.

Normally I would think it unadvisable to change Defense Secretaries in the middle of a war, but one must weigh the benefits and harm such a move would make. When Rumsfeld asks himself if he can remain "effective" in his job, he must also include his relationships with Pentagon civilian staff and with the Military both at the Pentagon and in the field. If he is really honest, the very fact that this disasterous event happened means that his effectiveness has been lost and he should resign and take his neocon ideologue underlings with him.

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Reply Tue 11 May, 2004 09:37 am
According to a poll reported in the Washington Post this week, most Americans do not want Rumsfeld to resign:


(Spelling corrected after admonishment by the spelling police.)
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Reply Tue 11 May, 2004 09:40 am
I agree -- i don't want Rumsfield to resign; Hell, i don't even know who Rumsfield is.

Donald Rumsfeld, however, ought to have gotten the axe long ago . . .
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Reply Tue 11 May, 2004 11:50 am
When something big like this happens, there has to be a sacrificial lamb. And Rumsfeld is it. He's as good as gone.
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