When considering the reasons for a Rumsfeld resignation, it's a mistake to focus too narrowly on the role he played in setting policies that resulted in the torture at Al Ghraib. While that may be sufficient grounds in itself for some, sufficient grounds existed long before the shocking revealations of that torture appeared. There were good reasons for John Kerry to call for Rumsfeld to step aside last fall, and good reasons for others to make similar calls long before that.
In fact, Rumsfeld himself pointed to the best reason at all during his recent Congressional appearance, where he admitted that he should consider standing down if he could no longer be effective in his role. The fact is, there's no evidence that he ever has been effective.
Retired Army officer turned pundit Ralph Peters
stated the case plainly in a New York Post op-ed.
"He should resign for the good of our military and our country. Those twisted photos are only one symptom of how badly the Rumsfeld era has derailed our military.
"Rumsfeld has maintained a positive image with much of America because he controls information fanatically and tolerates no deviation from the party line. Differing opinions are punished in today's Pentagon - and every field general who has spoken plainly of the deficiencies of either the non-plan for the occupation of Iraq, the lack of sufficient troops (in Iraq or overall) or any aspect of Rumsfeld's "transformation" plan has seen his career ended.
"It isn't treason to tell the truth in wartime. But it verges on treason to lie. And Rumsfeld lies."
One of the elements that Bush cited in praising Rumsfeld for a "superb" job was his leadership in two wars, but at this point, both of those wars have to be counted as failure. In Afghanistan, the Taliban was removed from power, but it was done in a way that leaves them on the map, continuing to embattle the government we installed to replace them, and our primary focus, the top echelon of the Al Qaida terrorist ring, continues to elude capture. Resources that were allocated for the establishment of a stable government and the pursuit of Bin Laden and his chief assistants were diverted, apparently illegally, in order to begin the build up for the next Rumsfeld war in Iraq.
In the lexicon of more and more observers, Iraq is being translated as Arabic for Vietnam. Once again, we are in a war in which we cannot be defeated on the battlefield, but in which we cannot find a path to victory in the political sphere. Much of the reason for that can be attributed directly to Donald Rumsfeld's experiments in implementing a new defense philosophy and his refusal to consider the dissenting voices within the ranks of our military leadership.
Remember the glorious run to Baghdad? It was a textbook example of the Rumsfeld philosophy. A relatively small force of highly mobile units, supported by strike teams of special forces and an array of high tech weaponry that easily overwhelmed the toke resistance of a hugely diminished Iraqi opponent. We set out to depose Saddam, and depose him we did, but in the process we bypassed dozens of potential battle sites, leaving an armed and embarrassed enemy in our wake, ready to rise up in an persistent guerilla campaign that has made the occupation of Iraq a quagmire of, well, Vietnamese proportions. It was not only completely predictable, it was widely predicted by some of the very highest ranking officers in the military ranks.
It was a failure of planning that General Anthony Zinni
, USMC Ret. and a former CinC of Central Command, judges in terms that would lead to the quick replacement of any field commander.
"In the lead-up to the Iraq war and its later conduct, I saw, at minimum, true dereliction, negligence and irresponsibility; at worse, lying, incompetence and corruption. I think there was dereliction in insufficient forces being put on the ground and [in not] fully understanding the military dimensions of the plan."
Zinni places responsibility directly at Rumsfeld's door.
"He should not have been surprised. There were a number of people who before we even engaged in this conflict that felt strongly that we underestimated...the scope of the problems we would have in [Iraq]."
It's not just a failure of battle plans and subsequent execution that has marked the Rumsfeld Defense Department. It has been a center for scandal, including the Boeing procurement scandals, the diversion of Afghanistan war funds and the appointment of high ranking officials with fraudulent academic credentials. His plan to revamp the departments personnel system, according to Kay Coles James
, the Bush administrations director of the Office of Personnel Management "tramples veterans' rights, offers a bad model for changing federal pay and represents a strategic blunder in the attempt to modernize the federal civil service government-wide."
As the UPI's Martin Sieff
"Rumsfeld and his team of top lieutenants have therefore now lost the confidence, trust and respect of both the Army and intelligence establishments. Key elements of the political establishment even of the ruling GOP now recognize this."
"Superb"? Hardly. Effective? Not even.
Al Ghraib is enough, but there was enough already.
More than enough, for far too long.
Sign the petition.
Update: It just gets deeper. Look here
for more on the erosion of confidence within the JAG corps and the misuse of contractors in Iraq.
And then sign the petition!