Senate Republicans Vs. Rummy

There’s a concerted effort being made, mostly by the weenie Republican brigade in the Senate, to take out Donald Rumsfeld.

We’ve had John McCain, the Republican conservatives love to hate, trash Rumsfeld along with his ally William Kristol over at the Weekly Standard go after Rummy. Then Trent Lott hopped into bed with Norm Coleman, Susan Collins, & Chuck Hagel, who are all in their own way giving their votes of “no confidence in Rumsfeld”.

Ostensibly this is about Rumsfeld telling a soldier who complained about having to rig up hillbilly armor for his vehicle that,

“As you know, you go to war with the Army you have. They’re not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time.”

Of course, that answer is absolutely correct and it was actually part of a larger, more detailed, reply…

“I talked to the general coming out here about the pace at which the vehicles are being armored. They have been brought from all over the world, wherever they’re not needed, to a place here where they are needed. I’m told that they are being – the Army is – I think it’s something like 400 a month are being done. And it’s essentially a matter of physics. It isn’t a matter of money. It isn’t a matter on the part of the Army of desire. It’s a matter of production and capability of doing it.

As you know, you go to war with the Army you have. They’re not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time. Since the Iraq conflict began, the Army has been pressing ahead to produce the armor necessary at a rate that they believe – it’s a greatly expanded rate from what existed previously – but a rate that they believe is the rate that is all that can be accomplished at this moment …”

However, this soundbite did give Rumsfeld’s many enemies on the left an opportunity to attack him and there are Republicans joining in for a number of reasons.

Rumsfeld has been trying to transform the military and as you know, pioneers take all the arrows. You make changes in the way things are done and you make a lot of people angry, including Senators who use the military to pump pork into their state.

Furthermore, these Republicans likely want to use Rumsfeld as a scapegoat for the casualties in Iraq, get favorable press for going after a hawk who’s hated by the press, and fire a little warning shot over the bow of the Bush administration that they don’t think is paying enough attention to them.

Will they get Rumsfeld’s head? That’s hard to say for sure, but it’s entirely possible that they will because having several Senators in your own party undercut you this way in public is a very damaging blow to a cabinet member.

Personally, I think they’re making a huge mistake and not just because I think Donald Rumsfeld is the right man, in the right place, at the right time for the job of Defense Secretary. Rummy has a lot of conservative fans, quite frankly, more fans than any of these Senators have. If Rumsfeld does quit, I expect that his resignation will hang around their necks like an albatross in the Party the same way that the betrayal of Robert Bork has forever tainted Arlen Specter in the eyes of a lot of conservatives…

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