Friday, March 31, 2006

More on Rumsfeld

I've said more than my share on Rumsfeld lately but I noticed an article by Joe Galloway of Knight Ridder that mentions two studies ordered by the Pentagon that suggest Rumsfeld's assumptions and ideas are so flawed they can no longer be dismissed with such flippant phrases as, "Stuff happens." Galloway sums up Rumsfeld's term as Secretary of Defense rather well near the end of the article:
From the beginning of his current tour as defense secretary, Rumsfeld has shown an amazing ability to hear only advice that agrees with him. Contrary advice, especially from a uniformed expert in the subject of combat power, is met with swift retribution. Telling the truth in Rumsfeld's Pentagon will get you in trouble quicker than a tour of duty in Iraq's Triangle of Death.

It's of interest that when budget time came around this year, Rumsfeld told the service chiefs that they could have manpower increases or money for weapons systems. One or the other, but not both. The service chiefs, to a man, opted for money to throw at defense contractors for weapons systems that were designed 20 or 30 years ago for the Cold War, or that haven't been designed at all.

Then the chiefs were informed that they'd also have to swallow decreases in manpower over the next five years.

Rumsfeld's arrogance and incompetence have done unprecedented damage to the military in a time of peril that won't end when he leaves town.
It's hard to say why Rumsfeld still has a job. He's clearly out of any useful ideas and is too stubborn to admit it. At age 73, he's wealthy and doesn't need the work though he can probably soothe his eqo by joining the board of directors of a half dozen major corporations.

Condi Rice glibly said yesterday that we have made thousands of tactical errors in Iraq. I don't know if that's a clumsy barb being thrown at Rumsfeld but Bush should run with that line of thinking. Now if Dr. Rice can admit that Iraq has been a major strategic error, perhaps some corrections can be made. Unfortunately, Bush has reached a point where he's the one who has to say such things and the signs are not good that he can look at himself honestly in the mirror.

Keep in mind, there are concrete steps that can be taken to reverse the fiasco that Bush's foreign policy has become. Even Congress can help Bush to take those first steps towards restoring credibility. The first step is being honest with the American people, and Congress can help Bush by laying out the facts even if that means investigations, though honest hearings that aren't exercises in administration window-dressing might be adequate to do the job; when Bush and his advisers can get past flippant and glib remarks and talk seriously about our situation in the world, then perhaps Bush can take the next step which means a major overhaul of his administration. If people are not getting the job done, a president has an obligation to find rational, non-ideological people who will and stop making excuses.

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