Wonky Muse
Wonky Muse

December 17, 2004

Under Fire

Donald Rumsfeld is now getting heat from members of his own party. Senator John McCain said he had "no confidence" in the Defense Secretary while Senator Chuck Hagel called him "irresponsible"; Senator Susan Collins called his remarks "troubling; Senator Trent Lott says he's "not a fan" of the Defense Secretary who "doesn't listen enough to his uniformed officers" and should be replaced next year.

Columnist and pundit William Kristol criticized him for "arrogant buck-passing". Even retired General Norman Schwarzkopf expressed anger:

“I was very, very disappointed — no, let me put it stronger — I was angry by the words of the secretary of defense when he laid it all on the Army, as if he, as the secretary of defense, didn’t have anything to do with the Army and the Army was over there doing it themselves, screwing up,” Schwarzkopf said.
An excellent New York Times editorial by Phillip Carter, a lawyer and ex-Army Captain, explains the problem is not just lack of equipment. The Pentagon failed to recognize that the insurgency has transformed Iraq into a "nonlinear and noncontiguous" war which left support units vulnerable.

Though the pressure should be kept on Rumsfeld and the Pentagon, let's not lose sight of who's responsible here. As Matthew Yglesias pointed out, he is not a renegade cabinet official who needs to get in line. Too much focus on Rumsfeld takes focus away from George W. Bush. It is Mr. Bush who chose to keep him in office and is ultimately responsible for his failures.

Is the White House showing any signs of heeding the increasing clamor for Rumsfeld's dismissal? Hardly, as it expressed confidence in him as "an important member of our team and someone who is helping us to move forward as we defeat the ideology of hatred that leads to terrorism".

Meanwhile, six reservists were court-martialed for taking abandoned Army vehicles and stripping it of parts to carry out their mission of delivering fuel, even though a report by the House Armed Services Committee showed that only 10% of heavy weight trucks and 15% of heavy transport vehicles are adequtely armored. I suppose they should have remained sitting ducks.

Ironically, the Bush Administration plans to ask for $80-$100 billion more to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, bringing the total cost of the invasion in Iraq alone to $200 billion since it started in March, 2003.

posted at 10:54 PM by Wonky Muse

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"Sapere Aude."
(Dare to Know)
-- Epistularum Liber Primus, Horace

Wonk (noun): def. A political nerd. Know spelled backwards.

Wonky Muse is the other Filipino American female political blogger. The sane, liberal one.


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