Rumsfeld stepping down

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the controversial face of U.S. war policy, quit on Wednesday after Democrats rode Americans’ anger over Iraq to victory in Tuesday’s congressional elections.Just days after declaring his strong support for Rumsfeld, President George W. Bush said he agreed with his top war manager that it was time for a new perspective.Bush said the current Iraq policy was “not working well enough, fast enough.”He said Rumsfeld would be replaced by former CIA Director Robert Gates, a member of the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan group that is assessing alternative strategies for Iraq.Tuesday’s elections gave the Democrats control of the U.S. House of Representatives and results by Wednesday had moved them within one seat of victory in the Senate.

I have mixed feelings about this. First off Rumsfeld initiated a much needed overhaul of our Defense dept. That overhaul ruffeled many feathers both inside and outside the Pentagon. For example eliminating the Crusader 155mm Howitzer that was not sufficiently mobile. Lots of politicians did not like the canceling of the Crusader, not because of defense issues but because the program meant pork for their districts. Several Generals similarly didn’t like being told that a fairly large portion of their command was no longer usefull… when in reality the the crusader was canceled because it was not usefull in a mobile warfare environment.  I seriously doubt that anyone else could have instituted those needed changes. 

The management of the War in Iraq however did show some of the shortfalls of Rumsfeld’s leadership ability. Some of the decisions that were made leave some serious questions about who it was that made those decisions.. Granted any criticism of those decisions is made with Hindsight, and that is a view that Rumsfeld did not have.. The main example of this is the decision at the very beginning of the war in Iraq when troops were dispatched to guard oil fields to prevent Saddam from creating a ecological disaster… yet leaving known weapons storage facilities unprotected.. I don’t know that Rumsfeld made that decision, but I would have expected that guarding weapons storage facilities should have been part of the initial plan… I also know full well that in combat the first casualty is the plan…

Others Blogging:

Michelle Malkin, Hang Right Politics, Blackfive, Bullwinkle Blog 

Webloggin has more on Gates and the Video of the announcement.

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