FauxPolitik

Friday, May 14, 2004

Thinking About DoD: Victor Hansen makes the case for Rummy. In doing so, he becomes the first (that I have seen) to do make a real case either for or against the SECDEF. (Most of what I've read takes the case as self-evident -- whether pro or con.) Hansen:
So in this election-year carping, we worry only about what we are doing, never the enemy, whose problems are legion and growing. Indeed, there are two constants in this war: Every time the United States engages the enemy it wins, and every time Iraqis are given a chance at a secure, peaceful local election they act responsibly and eschew candidates of violence and hate. Unless those facts change, America will win the peace. If we will fight more aggressively in the shadows while the new government basks in the light of success, the miracle of Iraq will come to pass — and it simply would not have without the likes of a Donald Rumsfeld.
I haven't agreed with some of Rumsfeld's decisions, and I think he's definitely a lightening rod. But I'm not sure he should be 86'd over the abuse scandal. Beyond that, John Kerry's call for his resignation is such high political farce that Rummy's presence is more appreciated: firstly because Kerry has a reputation for being uninformed and uninvolved in such matters (do you suppose he ever considered calling for Bill Cohen to resign when our military bombed the Chinese embassy in Serbia? do you think he was contemporaneously aware of it?); secondly because Rumsfeld's bluntness and bullheadedness are put into relief by Kerry's empty arrogance.

Even Kerry's suggestion that McCain should replace Rumsfeld was farcical. I respect McCain as much as the next guy, and damned if I can think of a better man to call a hero. The idea of McCain as VP for a Democrat is excellent (though he'd fit better with the [erstwhile, at least] maverick Lieberman than with a party hack like Kerry). But as SECDEF? The mercurial McCain would make Rumsfeld look calm and rather deferential by contrast. McCain is a loose cannon, unreliable when juiced about something, and (I suspect) a little too credulous of the "bold maverick" puff the media gives him. McCain makes a good senator -- one of 100 votes, someone who is willing to say "bullshit" to his party. Problem is, I think McCain has gotten to like saying "bullshit" to his party. He is decidedly jealous of his maverick image, and thus he cultivates it. I wouldn't want him at the Pentagon. As a senator (or VP) he is able to do only limited damage.

Rumsfeld has done a fair job given what he was asked to do -- take America into two wars, both of which (we were told ad nauseam) had serious quagmire potential. And he succeeded. I would say that seldom has more been done to further our national security with less loss of life.

More: Here's Lieberman, for what it's worth:

Many argue that we can only rectify the wrongs done in the Iraqi prisons if Donald Rumsfeld resigns. I disagree. Unless there is clear evidence connecting him to the wrongdoing, it is neither sensible nor fair to force the resignation of the secretary of defense, who clearly retains the confidence of the commander in chief, in the midst of a war. I have yet to see such evidence. Secretary Rumsfeld's removal would delight foreign and domestic opponents of America's presence in Iraq.
Well, it's not a full-throated endorsement, but it's likely the best he can expect from that side of the aisle.

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