By: Thomas Lindaman
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has been under the gun for a while now, mostly by people critical of his handling of the Iraq War. That scrutiny increased recently when six retired generals openly called for Rumsfeld’s resignation for what they considered to be the mishandling of military issues.
And, predictably, the media sat on their hands. Just kidding. They were all over the six generals’ statements like Michael Moore on a Twinkie, and it was just as messy. Democrats, too, seized on this opportunity to renew their calls for Rumsfeld to step down, and apparently the public seems to be catching the “throw the bum out” fever.
Personally, I like the guy. Any government official who can torque off that many media types is a winner in my book. But beyond that, the calls for his resignation are silly at best. It’s like Al Gore coming out with a movie about global warming.oh, wait, he did that. Okay, bad example.
The main reason why the Rumsfeld resignation isn’t coming anytime soon is that it’s not these generals’, the media’s, nor the Democrats’ choice. There’s only one guy who can tell Rumsfeld to hit the road, Jack, and his name is George W. Bush. (Of course, if Bush had done this with Mr. Abramoff, he might not have given fodder to the Democrats, but that’s another story.) That’s one of the perks of being President: you get to hire and fire whomever you want. If the Democrats really wanted to put Donald Rumsfeld out of a job, they would have chosen someone other than John Kerry to lead their 2004 ticket.
Another factor to consider is whether these generals have the credibility to speak out about the job Rumsfeld is doing. Sure, they have the First Amendment right to speak, but they may not have the authority to speak. And, yes, this is important. After all, Wesley Clark was a general and I wouldn’t trust him to lead a Cub Scout meeting, let alone the might of the US Armed Forces. The more we dig into the possible reasons for these generals to speak out, the more we see how political their motivations are. They’re not speaking out against Rumsfeld because he’s doing a bad job; they’re doing it because he’s doing a good job.
This brings us to another reason Rumsfeld isn’t going anywhere. Ask the troops what they think of Rumsfeld and the majority of them will say they love the guy. That goes a long way towards keeping the guy around because there is often a disconnect between the fighting forces and the commanders of those forces. What the higher-ups may think is horrible and wrong may be the cat’s pajamas to the front line folks. (Which begs the question of where cats even GET pajamas.) And when you’re dealing with those who are in the know, it’s more often than not the men and women on the front lines, not the ones who sit behind desks, and certainly not the ones who no longer sit behind desks and are more talking heads than heads of military forces.
Perhaps the best reason to keep Rumsfeld where he is right now is because of what would happen if he were fired or replaced amid the cries for his resignation. Rumsfeld is one of the architects of the Iraq War and, although it hasn’t gone smoothly, it has been run pretty well. Lower than normal casualty rates, high morale among the fighting forces, a sense of real accomplishment in Iraq. Those things don’t happen by accident, kids. They happen because someone high up cared enough to keep the soldiers in mind.
Now, imagine if Rumsfeld was forced out. That would be a huge blow to morale, which would hurt our effectiveness in Iraq. Plus, it would make America look like it was chickening out of the war it was brave enough to fight. Not to mention, it would support every single wrongheaded statement Democrats have made about the Iraq War from the get-go. It’s hard to imagine that one man could have such an impact on our current war, but it’s the case with Rummy. You take him out of the equation, and you have taken the heart out of the Iraq War.
Which might be exactly what the Democrats want. They see Rumsfeld as a major threat because he defies their rhetoric and proves them wrong at every turn. So, what better way to try to take him down than to trump up the discontent with him. But what they miss is the fact that Donald Rumsfeld is not a quitter, and George W. Bush isn’t someone who will dump someone just because some former generals say he should go. Without a legitimate reason to dump him, Bush will stay with the hand he’s been
And as we’ve seen time and time again, the four of a kind of Bush, Cheney, Rice, and Rumsfeld prove to be a better hand than the jokers the Democrats throw at them.
Thomas Lindaman is a Staff Writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets. He is also Publisher of CommonConservative.com.