He has more pressing problems than who is
the next SecDef
It's solitaire for Rummy
Frustrated generals want him axed, but it would come with a price
In short, despite Bush's praise for him Friday, there is no compelling argument for keeping Rumsfeld. He fought the war the way he wanted, against the advice of many commanders, and it hasn't worked out. Military rules of accountability, not to mention election-year jockeying, could dictate a change. But even if Bush were to do an about-face and boot him, there are two questions that everyone, including the six retired generals demanding Rumsfeld's firing, must answer before the ax falls.
First, what would be the benefits of a new secretary?
Second, how would such a dramatic firing affect the morale of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan?
As for the troop morale issue, virtually all reports, official and anecdotal, say it remains high. That is a credit to the character of our forces and their training. But how would they react if Rumsfeld, their boss, were booted because of the results? We can't know for sure, but it's hard to fathom how their morale or performance would improve. Most likely, an element of doubt would surface, about themselves and their mission. Doubt on the battlefield can be fatal.
Rumsfeld has said twice that he offered to quit, but that Bush refused to accept his resignation. Perhaps the third time will be the charm. Fair enough.
And then what?
The troops hate Rumsfeld, when they bother to think about him. They said so in 2003, and I don't think it's gotten any better. If they could, they'd have parties if he was canned.
The reason is simple: they think he doesn't give a shit about them. You know, Abu Ghraib, "you go with the Army you have", doesn't exactly inspire confidence.
But the fact is that if you have an squad to run, who runs DOD is not the top issue on your mind, it's your men, then staying alive. And after that, it's your fractured marriage, your debts, and what you want to do when you get home. It is not about the comments of retired generals on the SecDef.
Soldiers are far from stupid. This idea that criticism lowers morale is silly. Not allowing armored vests that work lowers morale, not getting rehabilitation for injuries lowers morale. Firing the SecDef doesn't, at least not this one.
Morale is high, but divorces are exploding and even generals are fleeing the Army. You believe that morale is high.
posted by Steve @ 12:25:00 AM