Disclosure: I worked for the Lamont campaign doing web design and production and some writing for the official blog (from 9/5/06 to 11/07/06).

Thursday, April 13, 2006


Fourth General Calls on Rumsfeld to Resign

(Update: Make that five... or six.)

Maj. Gen. John Batiste, a recently retired general who commanded troops in Iraq, is just the latest military officer to call for Donald Rumsfeld's resignation:

"I believe we need a fresh start in the Pentagon. We need a leader who understands teamwork, a leader who knows how to build teams, a leader that does it without intimidation," Maj. Gen. John Batiste, who commanded the Germany-based 1st Infantry Division in Iraq, said in an interview on CNN.

In recent weeks, retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold, Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton and Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni all spoke out against Rumsfeld. This comes as opinion polls show eroding public support for the 3-year-old war in which about 2,360 U.S. troops have died.

"You know, it speaks volumes that guys like me are speaking out from retirement about the leadership climate in the Department of Defense," Batiste said.

"But when decisions are made without taking into account sound military recommendations, sound military decision making, sound planning, then we're bound to make mistakes."

According to James Forsyth at Foreign Policy, Lieberman's name, which had been floated back in December 2005, is still in the mix as a possible replacement as Bush's Secretary of Defense:

Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) has been tipped for the job more times than I have had hot dinners.

Why: Brownie points for bipartisanship. Chattering classes will commend Bush for "reaching out" and some moderates would be reassured that Bush is putting victory before politics. The Senate would go easy on one of their own.

Why not: No war-fighting or managerial experience. There’s also the question of whether he’d say yes and leave the cause of Democratic hawkishness much reduced. Also, can the administration afford to loose one of its few remaining Democratic Senate allies on Iraq?

Forsyth makes a very insightful point about the possible timing of any resignation, which is that Sen. John Warner (R-VA) is term-limited as chairman of the Armed Services Committee, to be replaced by either John McCain or a Democrat if the Dems are able to take back the Senate in Janurary 2007. If the current pressure doesn't break Rumsfeld, come January 2007 it probably will.

Lieberman has always been super-ambitious, and his foreign policy is and always has been a carbon coby of the neoconservatives in the administration. By choosing him, depending on the political environment, Bush would get credit for "bipartisanship" while not actually changing his policy at all.

All of this is hypothetical, but if he's still in the senate in January 2007, I don't think he'd think twice about leaving the senate to take the Secretary of Defense job, and leaving (probably) Gov. Rell to appoint a Republican to the seat.
Probably didn't help that Rumsefeld recently called Newbold a liar, at least in so many words.


Q You did mention General Newbold's name. And in response, you were saying, sir, that General Newbold never raised any objections or --

SEC. RUMSFELD: Not to my knowledge, no.

Q -- concerns about the war plans.

GEN. PACE: Nor to mine. Nor to mine.

SEC. RUMSFELD: No, I just -- he just didn't. Plenty people did, and I did, lots of people did, and talked about it. But we had discussions in the department, we had discussions in the National Security Council, we had discussions with the president. And they were extensive discussions. There are an awful lot of people around here who aren't shy about giving their views. So it's not something that concerns me, because I think that -- I guess he was working on the Joint Staff, but in terms of why he would come up with this now, I just can't speak to that, I'm sorry.

Q Do you think people are rewriting history?

Why not: No war-fighting or managerial experience.

In the Bush administration, these are actually positive qualifications.
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