Rummy says good bye to dummy. He finally got the hints...or maybe just enough notice to give him time to shred anything that would embarrass his boss even more if that is possible.
To me, this long overdue departure seemed like the most achingly immanent requiting when I sat to write yesterday morning and there was so much good change to contemplate. But I can't fairly claim "I told you so". I didn't know it was coming, I just knew it should come. We have not had a SecDef so reviled by his own generals, not in the history of the repbulic. It was an unprecedented infection of a fool trusting an arrogant fast talker more than he trusted his own citizens. Its over. But the clean-up will take years. Some of Rumsfeld's pet technology projects might be in jeopardy. The annoying need to get men killed in order to win wars has already cut in to the budget for new weapons development. It is so clear to so many outside Cheney's charmed circle that it was an unnecessary war but why would a man of Rumsfeld's intelligence go along with it? Character. Rumsfeld has been the champion of a "transformation" program to put the world's most dangerous superpower on a course to ever greater fighting readiness by fighting smarter with technology. That in itself is not an evil thing but signing on to an evil war just to prove your restyled military could do the job is egotistical. It is tragically and abundantly clear this war was not Rummy's kind of war and what it needs, as was known by the generals from the outset, was massive troop strength, as much as four times the numbers deployed if it is to wind up with anything resembling conventional "victory". The real enemy was never in Iraq until we drew them there. The threats we faced before Iraq were entirely unconventional and would have been better countered by renewed peace initiatives in the Israel-Palestine conflict and by better intelligence with Arab-speaking agents on the ground and commando operations. We know now that Saddam was ready to cave but his concessions were hushed up to keep the war plan on track. I have made a very comfortable living as a technologist on one of Rumsfeld's favorite projects. I think the project has intrinsic strategic value outside the context of this stupid war and for the long term. But if Rummy's going takes a few plush jobs with it, so be it. I will gladly find more honest work if that hardship is the cost of restoring the integrity of military leadership and reasserting the military's role as a defense capability rather than a tool of baseless aggression. The cost that has been born by our fighting men and women, on the other hand, is unacceptable and unfair. How soon will they stop paying for arrogant mistakes?
I have been on this case for a while now:
It will be good to take a rest. Of course the problem is not solved. The retention of Rumsfeld so far past the time when he and his vision of the military were discredited is just one of the many examples of gross managerial incompetence that no president should be allowed. But it is the Bush mistake with the worst consequences.
Next? I hope Bolton goes very soon. The election has shown that Americans are not interested in bullying the world any more and our in-your-face UN embarrassador must go.