quote:The shocker was how few friends of the Bush administration jumped to his aid. There were reasons that transcended the atrocities at Abu Ghraib.
While the White House officially vowed Rumsfeld's retention, there was no reinforcement in his natural political constituency. Last week, I talked to Republican members of Congress, GOP fund-raisers and contributors, defense consultants and even one senior official of a coalition partner. The clear consensus was that Rumsfeld had to go. ''There must be a neck cut,'' said the foreign official, ''and there is only one neck of choice.''
A former senior government official who was now a defense industry consultant, he told me Rumsfeld was a disaster waiting to happen.Rumsfeld, insulated by his inner circle, was at war against the uniformed military, the civilian bureaucracy, and both houses of Congress.
This same former official last week told me the Iraqi prisoners fiasco was the inevitable outgrowth of Rumsfeld's management style. ''If it had not happened with this,'' he told me, ''there would have been a different disaster.''
The ''kill the messenger'' syndrome, other Pentagon sources say, clogs up avenues of information.
To well-informed outsiders, Rumsfeld's fate seems assured. Stratfor, the private intelligence service, reported last week: ''The amazing thing is not that the White House is preparing Rumsfeld for hanging but that it has taken so long.'' The report added that Rumsfeld ''consistently managed to get the strategic and organizational questions wrong.''
That harsh view is widely shared inside the Pentagon.
Ouch. Republican insiders, Pentagon military officers, and even foreign diplomats want to see Rumsfeld's head on the chopping block. That does not even include all of Rumsfeld's enemies at the State Department and the CIA.
If I were not an American citizen, this civil war in the Bush Administration would be hilarious comedy. Instead, it seems to be an all-too tragic reality-TV series of "Survivor on Steroids: The White House Edition." We'll see if the Republicans end up voting Donald "McNamara" Rumsfeld off the island.
What's funny about it? If this prison abuse turns out to have stemmed from overcrowded prisons or ill-trained troops, surely Rumsfeld made decisions that contributed to it. Everyone makes mistakes, but creating conditions that lead to this kind of behavior calls someone's entire faculty of judgment into question. And it's not as if this is the first thing Rumsfeld has been wrong about in this war. The prison abuse is the straw that breaks the camel's back.
Posts: 1966 | Registered: Nov 2003
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He will never be 'fired'. Firing him would cast a shadow over the whole Iraq war and subsequent occupation. In many people's minds, it would give substance as to how bad the scandal is and give amunition to those who want to broaden the prison scandal to reflect on how the occupation is run in general. 'See, it's so bad they had to fire Rumsfeld. He's been running the show from the beginning. It can't just be the prisons!' Also, the political fallout from firing Rumsfeld would definitely blow back on Bush and hurt his chances for re-election more than they would by keeping him, imho. I believe it would also effect the occupation, if only because by substantiating the abuse claims it will give the isurgents more propaganda with which to recruit.
This isn't to say that I don't think Rumsfeld shouldn't be 'punished' if he in some way facilitated the prison abuses. I'm just saying that it's extremely unlikely anything will happen.
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