Wednesday, December 7, 2005

Rumsfeld is Not the Problem

Well, now they’re dumping on poor old Donald. After five years of failed effort and screwing up the world’s finest fighting force, someone has finally noticed and the press is hot and heavy on his trail. The nation's press, like justice, grinds exceeding slow. Failure after failure after failure and now they've begun to notice and the comedy is that they have yet to recognize the problem.


Rummy is not the problem. So getting rid of The Donald isn’t going to solve the problem. Admittedly,


  • We’re closing in on as many troop deaths as were killed on September 11th

  • Don tried to buy us a war on the cheap and it blew up in his face

  • And forcibly retired Army chief of staff, Eric K. Shinseki, the Four Star General who told him it would blow up in his face if bought on the cheap

  • We’re three years into a six-month war

  • Iraq is far worse off than it was under Saddam

  • The despotic system of children dying for lack of medicine has been replaced by the democratic system of everyone dying equally from terrorists

  • The Army’s reputation is in shreds

  • The Iraqi people we liberated hate our guts

  • We haven’t the foggiest notion of how to get out

Bushrumsfeld_1And yet, replacing Rumsfeld (presuming someone could be snookered into taking that now-impossible job) won’t produce anything but a new whipping boy. The problem is and has been the method by which this administration functions. A half-dozen ideologues and their half dozen hand-picked functionaries meet among themselves and rehash the same old issues with not a new idea in five years.


Six months before we went to war in Iraq, I wrote The Tyranny of Five, commenting


It seems few in this nation share the administration blood-lust for war with Iraq but George Bush, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Condi Rice. The Five.

Well, then let them make their case to the American public.

They have not yet made their case. Despotism in Iraq is not a case. Despots abound in the Middle     East. The possibility of Iraqi terrorist support is not a case, compared with the reality of terrorist         support in Pakistan, Yemen, Egypt, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Nuclear possibility is not a case,                 considering nuclear reality in Pakistan. Allegations are not enough. Indeed, unless American society     is prepared to become a pariah throughout the world, the Bush doctrine of preemptive war must not     stand.

Preemptive war has no precedence in our history. During the forty years of standoff between Soviet     and American interests, preemptive war was never an acknowledged possibility. Now that mutual         annihilation is no longer a threat to America since the fall of communism, a doctrine of preemptive         war shows us merely as bullies, able and (worse yet) willing to extort and coerce. The Promise of         America throughout the world dies with such a doctrine.


Cheneyricebush_1The problem is The Five and Rumsfeld is only one of The Five. This administration has operated out of an undisclosed location, a place called The Minds of the Five, since its inception. Their putative leader, George Bush, is in a bind he allowed to coalesce around him for want of his own leadership. He is an irresolute man and, because of that, values adulation rather than constructive criticism. He clings to praise and high-fives in the place of logic.


That makes for an inconvenient and embarrassing presidency in times of peace and plenty. But it spells an absolute disaster in times when clarity, intellect and leadership are needed.


This president’s shallowness might be hidden among a larger and more diverse group of advisors. But there are none to hide it, none to question, none to change course. As a train clings to the rails, this administration rushes headlong to wreckage and destruction.


Donald Rumsfeld’s firing is inconceivable to this president. He will pay and we will pay the cost of that, the cost of Government by Five.
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