Current Events: Rumsfeld Under Fire
Here’s another sentiment with which I agree — with the irony, at least:
When six generals criticized Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, it was a genuine, organic outpouring of widespread displeasure. When even more retired generals offer their support, it is a farce.
I have long operated under the premise that, whatever their faults, the White House executive leadership are not stupid. That being said, I do not understand the political calculus for keeping Secretary Rumsfeld. I understand not wanting to make him a scapegoat, but he’s voluntarily offered his resignation at least twice and it’s been refused. Maybe I’m not smart enough, or maybe I’m just not in the room.
The theories I can come up with off the top of my head are (a) they believe the political cost in giving ammunition to their foreign policy critics would outweigh the benefits of jettisoning their biggest target; (b) they don’t have a willing and able successor who’s any better, or who they would want to put through the Senate confirmation process; (c) they’ve taken a close look at his management style and decisions and they want him to continue working on some of his initiatives — transition to the mobile military force, for example — and are willing to take their lumps in the meantime; or (d) they believe the biggest apparent failures aren’t actually his fault, and they’re sufficiently loyal that they won’t throw him to the wolves.
That being said, certain pundits (or newspapers) can’t help but call for Secretary Rumsfeld’s resignation on principle without much consideration of either why he’s still on or what the administration would do after they booted him. I have a celebrity deathmatch idea: Rumsfeld vs. the Times editorial staff.
[Update 4/19/06: Funny stuff.]