Rumsfeld Resigns

This is really weird timing. I'd love to know what really prompted this. Bush has been adamant that Rumsfeld would not be going anywhere, and you know that "resigned" means "forced out." He's certainly not leaving on intelligent grounds, like on the basis of his utter failure; if that was the case, he would have been gone 2 years ago. His execution of the Iraq war has been perhaps the single worst example of incompetence I've ever seen on that scale. He demanded, and was given by Bush, absolute control over every aspect of the war, including the reconstruction efforts (which usually would have been handled by the State Department; instead, they were cut out entirely). The results speak for themselves.

He is being replaced by Robert Gates, former CIA director. That should at least help heal some of the very deep divisions between the Pentagon and the intelligence community. The spooks are absolutely furious with Rumsfeld (as well as Bush and Cheney) because much of the bad intelligence came out of the NSA and the DIA but it was the CIA that got the blame for it all. Now that we have a single coordinator for all intelligence activities, that should help a bit, but having Gates at the Pentagon will probably be an opportunity to heal some wounds as well.

Best of all, you've got to see STACLU's response to the resignation. Davef writes:

The terrorists, the UN, and the Democrats all got their wish. What exalted company our current congressional leaders find themselves in.

Jesus Christ. Donald Rumsfeld is Osama Bin Laden's wet dream, for crying out loud. It was under his leadership that Bin Laden managed to get away when we had him surrounded. It was under his leadership, and with his complete control, that we went into Iraq with far fewer troops than were needed to secure the borders, the munitions dumps and the cities, which allowed the insurgency to arm itself with the weapons we failed to secure after taking over the country.

It was Rumsfeld who not only refused to plan for a long post-war occupation with a very different set of requirements than the initial invasion, but threatened to fire any of the war planners who told him that such a plan was necessary. It was Rumsfeld who called a press conference and declared that Gen. Shinseki was "wildly off the mark" in claiming that more troops and more money was necessary than they were telling people. Guess who turned out to be right?

It was Rumsfeld who predicted that we would have a very short occupation period and the whole thing would cost less than $50 billion because the Iraqis would greet us as liberators and Iraqi oil would pay for it all. How's that working out, Don? Not one thing Rumsfeld has ever said about Iraq has turned out to be true. Every major decision he made has turned out to be a disaster and has only fueled the terrorists all the more. He's been their best friend, for crying out loud. His incompetence has made America far less safe. Good riddance.

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The interchange between Bush and the press on whether and why Bush had lied pre-election about Rumsfeld was truly bizarre. Bush's defense was near incoherent.

I won't believe he's really gone until he gets the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

I'm sure Rumsfeld has a cushy job waiting for him in Halliburton when he leaves office. Or a lobbyist position for Big Oil. Or maybe even as a "consultant" at a conservative think tank. Not a bad trade-off.

The time for resighn was well chosen, because he was absolite long time ago and now he had a good moment to step out of the folling bush administration.

Thank you for sharing this story with me !

Gates being a Bush I official and a crony of James A. Baker means that the adults are back in charge. Given the fact that we haven't overreacted to N. Korea or Iran, I would have to say that the change has been in the works for a while, but they didn't want it to happen before the election.

I don't see the timing as odd at all. Rumsfeld has been the lightning rod for criticism for a long time, so throwing him under the bus takes away one of the democrats prime talking points.

I would suspicion that while the administration knew that it was possible, even likely they woud lose the house, I don't think they had a clue it would be this bad. I think that coupled with the close senate, they thought it would be best to cooperate with the wishes of the dems. I also imagine they wanted to be certain they would be choosing rummies replacement.

"You're doin' a heckuva job, Rummy!...now get the hell out."
Yeah, a week or 2 ago, Bush just told the American people yet another lie, because he didn't want them to trouble their poor little heads over it.

Personally, I think Gates will do ok. If nothing else, his CIA experience means that even as the troops withdraw (inevitable) over the next few years, he can probably work with the CIA to leave behind an intelligence network to keep an eye on the goings-on and keep the international terrorist camps like those in Afghanistan and Libya from forming.

they've been wanting to kill each other for centuries, and unless we get in there with the attitude of Saddam (everybody shut up or we'll just kill ALL of you), it's not going to be quiet for quite some time.

as for the timing question? it was tricky. If Rumsfeld left before the election, it could be seen as "flip-flopping" (which hurts Republicans) or as "I'm finally doing something" (which *might* have helped them, but likely too little too late). Ditto keeping him - it might have strengthened the republican resolve (see, we're consistent and strong), or it might hurt them (see, nothing's changed and nothing's going to change unless we change it), which is what happened in the end.

By Joe Shelby (not verified) on 09 Nov 2006 #permalink

"Gates being a Bush I official and a crony of James A. Baker means that the adults are back in charge. "

If by "adults" you mean "people who thought it would be a good idea to sell arms to Iran to fund a terrorist campaign in Nicaragua against the explicit will of Congress", then you're right.

By Ginger Yellow (not verified) on 09 Nov 2006 #permalink

How off his game was Karl Rove in not firing Rummy two weeks before the election, when it would have given the floundering party a much needed boost?

Thank you Ginger Yellow!

Reading the comments (until yours), my ire was rising. Did no one recall what a slimy sneak this guy is? Gates's Iran/Contra shenanigans (subverting democracy), as well as his probable culpability in the 1980 October Surprise (subverting democracy), just proves that the power structures in DC remain generally unperturbed by any election result. The populace is merely a nuisance to the ruling class (D or R). Unsavory ghouls continue to circulate, reappearing at odd intervals, through the authoritarian power system. Gates, by the impetus of decency, should have been figuratively tarred and feathered in 1991 instead of smoothed into (by Lee Hamilton) a CIA directorship.

Reading the comments (until yours), my ire was rising. Did no one recall what a slimy sneak this guy is?

You guys really expect some clean, ideological Mother Theresa type of guy here? According to my Chomsky reader, isn't Negroponte guilty of some contra hanky-panky as well -- yet he's not drawing the type of ire when he was over in Iraq cleaning up after Bremmer or as head of national intelligence. The man knows death squad technology, and after his tenure in country what do we have in Iraq? Death squad technology as high art: drills being used to elicit information and a few dozen bodies here and there dumped around the city on a daily basis. Went over, gave a technology transfer session, and came back to oversee domestic surveillance.

But look, if these contra alumni hadn't been properly vigilant we'd be knee deep in Marxists throughout central and South America by now.

So, c'mon, Gates is at least realistic enough to know that you can't open new fronts in Iran and Korea while stuck to Iraqi flypaper. Besides, bringing in dad's staff looks to me something of an effort to salvage dad's credibility, lest both 41 and 43rd and the rest of that wretched clan are condemned by history. We're already damning 41 for not having the foresight to allow more spooge to run down his leg.

Rumsfeld has been the lightning rod for criticism for a long time, so throwing him under the bus takes away one of the democrats prime talking points.

Wrong -- the "talking point" was the grossly mismanaged war, and it won't be "taken away" until things start getting better for us on the ground.

Two other commenters have already alluded to what I see as a fairly straightforward reason for making the change now. The "resignation" was probably in the works for some time, but accepting it before the election might have hurt the Repubs "credibility" (I know, that's an oxymoron). Now that the elections over, that's not an issue. If they had held the senate, they still could've taken their sweet time picking a replacement, but with the Dem's in control (or projected to be in control as they were Wednesday) it was important to get it all over with quickly so the confirmation process could still be controlled by themselves.

By Savagemutt (not verified) on 09 Nov 2006 #permalink

This is really weird timing. I'd love to know what really prompted this.

Personally I've just been assuming this is all so that the Bush administration can accept the recommendations of the Baker report without either Rumsfeld getting in the way, or the change looking like a surrender to the Democrats. See, the complete change in policy isn't because Bush flip-flopped, it's because the secdef changed.

According to my Chomsky reader, isn't Negroponte guilty of some contra hanky-panky as well -- yet he's not drawing the type of ire when he was over in Iraq cleaning up after Bremmer or as head of national intelligence.

Did you follow the various nomination hearings at all? Just because the media largely ignored the issue doesn't mean people weren't kicking up a fuss. Elliott Abrams and John Poindexter were also up to the necks in Iran Contra. Look where that got us this time around.

But look, if these contra alumni hadn't been properly vigilant we'd be knee deep in Marxists throughout central and South America by now

This is a joke, right? Marxists like, um, Daniel Ortega? Or just Chavez and Morales?

By Ginger Yellow (not verified) on 09 Nov 2006 #permalink

This is a joke, right?

Ginger Yellow,

I just gave up on using the sarcasm html markup. So few parsers actually translate that directive correctly that it mostly gets lost.

I can't see your link for some reason, but look -- if you would note when Negroponte was nominated for the job in Iraq, that's pretty much when the administration figured that things were waaay out of hand there and that death squads were the acceptable solution to control the situation. In any of these cases one has to ask themselves - of the 300M people in the US, why this person? What fundamental skill does this person bring to the job? This is not a question that is usually answered by bringing some administration chum out on NPR to wax poetic on their competence and pedigree.

In the case of Gates it may be loyalty, competence, ruthlessness, discretion, and a clique that's headed by Scowcroft and his desire to buttress and insulate the legacy of 41 from 43.

And btw -- curse that Eugene Hasenfus for damning a whole generation of noble public servants! People just don't know how to go down in flames for the benefit of their betters anymore.

Apologies. Yet again the internets kill sarcasm. The links were to transcripts of the hearings, where various people brought up Negroponte's role in Iran Contra and suggested that someone notorious for at best turning a blind eye to death squads and torture might not be the best person to run Iraq/our intelligence services. Of course, as you say, that's exactly why BushCo chose him.

By Ginger Yellow (not verified) on 09 Nov 2006 #permalink

I think this is the first time Bush has fired someone who's loyal. Usually loyalty is really high on his hierarchy of importance and competence is very low.

No real surpirse that ALL the Iran/Contra players have been redeemed by GWB's adiministration, and the main player, Ollie, has a prominent role on Fox News.

Some of the comments are kinda missing the point: This clown should have been kicked to the curb two years ago. Not two weeks before the election, not the day after.

There are two things to say about the Rumsfeld departure and the entry of Gates and Baker.

1) It changes nothing. Rumsfield was not the problem. He was simply an agent for the real mover behind every disaster this administration has orchestrated since day one: Dick Cheney. The only change will come when Cheney leaves. That's why impeaching Bush would be a waste of time. The better action would be to impeach Cheney.

2) This just repeats the same pattern that W. has gone through his entire life. At school. In the oil business. With the Huston Astros. W. gets into something. Completely mucks it up. Daddy and Daddy's friends bail him out. The only difference this time is that the entire country and much of the world has been damaged by junior's incompetance and failures. This was a pattern many of us saw back in 2000, when Daddy's pals -- read Jim Baker -- bailed out junior and stole the election for him.

The only two questions about Bush's poll numbers are: What took two thirds of the country so long, and what planet are the other third living on?

By David Noziglia (not verified) on 14 Nov 2006 #permalink