Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Who Should Really Leave

The big story in Washington right now is the shake-up in the Bush White House. Andrew Card and Scott McClellan are both out, and Rove had his portfolio cut to focus more on politics and less on policy. I have to say that I am happy McClellan can take a new job and get less abuse than he got as Bush's press secretary. But besides that, the current changes aren't too earth-shattering.

To me though, the bigger story is about Donald Rumsfeld. I do understand that Bush should have complete control over his administration - or as Bush says, he is the "decider". In recent a editorial in the Wall Street Journal, and in remarks by Rumsfeld himself, the attacks by retired Generals are framed as responses to changes Rumsfeld wanted to make, and people hate change. While I can see how certain of his decisions might have lead to some unreasonable animosity, anyone should easily recognize that this isn't about reorganization in the Army's combat units. The calls for Rumsfeld to resign are about how he has handled the Iraq War.

Some of the blame in Iraq can surely fall on Bremmer and his decisions during the first year of occupation, as well as on Bush himself, but what has caused the greatest harm is that we tried to fight with too few troops. We have never had enough strength to maintain order and prevent / stop an insurgency. Rumsfeld has long believed that modern warfare requires a smaller, more agile military. Most of the recent conflicts though have revolved around peace-keeping missions and occupations. These require troop strength more than Special Forces. The complaints against Rumsfeld are not just partisan attacks, but are borne of serious concerns about the direction Rumsfeld is taking our military.