diet coke for breakfast

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Posted by Tanstaafl
Rumsfeld's continued service...

First of all, while I don't know enough about Shinseki to really comment on his suitability for the role, I dislike the idea of putting former generals in as Secretary of Defense. Many of the generals in the Pentagon hate Rumsfeld for several reasons. He's not one of them, he challenges their notions of what fighting a war means, and he kills pet weapons projects that they like. There is a reason that we have civilian control of the military, and I'd personally like to keep it that way.

I feel that one reason that many people will trumpet Shinseki as a good replacement will be that he said we would need more troops. But this goes back to the question of what people believe Rumsfeld did wrong or should have done differently. So, should we have put more troops in? I doubt it. People say that we don't have enough troops in place to pacify the insurgents. Okay, but here's the problem... many of the insurgents are the people we're there to liberate in the first place. Should we be oppressing them? Bring an iron fist down on all of Iraq? If that's what Americans believe we should do, then sure, let's double our presence and rule the country as a police state. That's not what I want and I doubt that's what anyone reading this wants either.

Furthermore, the more I think about this, the more I wonder what exactly Rumsfeld has done wrong. Is it because he is blunt and honest with the press, even though his words are often politically incorrect? Well that's something I value in a leader. Is it the Abu Ghraib nightmare? Well I've already shared my views on that.

No, I believe that the people who want Rumsfeld out fall into two general catagories. Those for whom any Bush defeat is a personal victory and those who think that Iraq is a mess and we need to change something in order to fix it.

I will ignore the first group, they're not worth my time.

The second group I respect, but I disagree with its their premise. Yes, Iraq is a mess. But, isn't that in some respects to be expected? Our troops are dying, and we should make every effort to prevent that... and we are. There are various insurgencies that are difficult to find, kill, or calm. But we're working toward a mixture of all three of those goals. Amongst the emails and letters that I've read from troops in Iraq, none of them said, "If we had 10 more people in our convoy, we could have prevented the ambush". We're not outmanned our outgunned in Iraq. The problem is one of patience. This will take time. Rome wasn't built in a day and Persia wasn't conquered in a week.

In four years of World War II, over 300,000 American troops died. Thousands of them died in a single attack against the beaches in Normandy. If color television cameras had been "embedded" with the troops in Normandy, would things have been different? Would Republicans have called for Eisenhower's resignation? What if they had gotten it? Would we have had the courage to persevere through the Battle of the Bulge? Would we have stopped at the German border after driving the Nazis out of the conquered lands? And if we had, would the Soviets under Stalin have done the same or would they have rolled through an injured Germany and beligerently take on a humbled United States?

I still believe that Rumsfeld has a better understanding than almost anyone alive that we are in a fight for our lives. Read Lileks today. Rumsfeld is the man I want making sure that this kind of thing doesn't happen. I want him directing the effort to obliterate the enemies of freedom in Afghanistan, Iraq, and wherever else they are hiding and plotting.

I have said my piece and from here on out, I believe that Donald Rumsfeld can defend himself because he is a bigger man than those carping for him to retire.


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