by John Hawkins | November 8, 2006 2:28 pm
When Donald Rumsfeld became Secretary of Defense, he made an effort to change the military into a faster, sleeker force more capable of dealing with the sort of post Cold-War battles that we’re likely to fight today. Combine the sort of bureaucratic infighting that effort surely prompted with the fact that Rumsfeld is an extremely pushy, demanding sort of boss and it was inevitable that Rumsfeld would make a lot of enemies at the Pentagon.
Then, of course, there was the war. As the war in Iraq has grown steadily less popular, Rumsfeld made a whole new set of foes and the temptation to get rid of him for political reasons must have increased significantly over time for Bush.
Now, after a crushing defeat in the election, with old Republican allies like Richard Perle calling Rumsfeld incompetent, with the Military Times calling for Rumsfeld’s dismissal, and with even some Republicans in Congress calling for Rummy to go, the pressure on Bush to get rid of him must have been enormous. Add to that the fact that by getting rid of Rumsfeld, it makes it much easier for Bush to credibly say to the American people, “Hey, we’re changing strategies in Iraq and we think that we’re going to make progress.”
Personally, I like Rumsfeld a lot, think he was good for the military, and think he did a better job in Iraq than he has gotten credit for. However, Bush has allowed himself to become so politically weakened, that he probably felt he had no choice but to toss Rumsfeld over the side. I’m not thrilled with that development, but I’m not going to criticize Bush for it either. He did what he felt like he had to do and Rumsfeld’s replacement, Robert Gates, seems like a competent enough fellow.
The truth is that Donald Rumsfeld probably deserved better, but that could be said of a lot of people who end up out of jobs in Washington. It’s just the nature of the beast in politics.
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