Isn't it a bit sad when the most powerful man in the world gets defensive? Like he still has something to prove? Showing that he's not much more than the underachieving frat guy he's always been, President Bush today made what was supposed to be a defense of Donald Rumsfeld more of a sniveling defense of his own broken decisions. Luckily for him, help is on the way.
From a CNN article today: "I hear the voices, and I read the front page and I know the speculation," the president said. "But I'm the decider, and I decide what's best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense."
Yeah, we get it. You're in charge. But who is he trying to convince?
Additionally, despite dismissing last week's call from six generals for Rummy to resign, a meeting has been called with other former generals to give them a forum in which they can speak their minds. Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Donald Shepperd said this isn't particularly out of the ordinary, but did say Tuesday's meeting was called late last week in response to recent events.
And like the cavalry coming to save the day, an Op Ed piece in yesterday's The Wall Street Journal (quoted in the CNN article) written by four ex-generals who support Rummy says that his detractors don't understand the war on terror and that they resent his move to transform the military into lighter, more flexible fighting units to better react to unconventional threats.
"Many senior officers and bureaucrats did not support his transformation goals -- preferring conventional weapons of the past ... which prove practically useless against lawless and uncivilized enemies engaged in asymmetric warfare," said the authors. I think that's a valid argument, but not what the critics last week mentioned as their rationale for Rummy's removal. They cite his bungling of the occupation of Iraq, his inability to heed the advice of commanders in the field who warned against a light force in Iraq (which has proven to be fatally true), and his fostering of an atmosphere in the Pentagon that discourages dissent. These are specific, pointed criticism that have nothing to do with Rumsfeld's transformation policy.
Growing up, I thought the lesson learned from Vietnam was that operations should not be run from DC; that you give the military an objective and then the support it needs to complete its mission. By all accounts, none of that lesson has been applied to the occupation of Iraq. Isn't it about time the party of "personal accountability" held SOMEBODY accountable for the mistakes in this mission?