Monday, October 30, 2006

Rumsfeld: I Don't Get It

I am off to a foreign city early tomorrow, to a location I cannot divulge since it might aid my villainous stalkers on the Obsgraph and the Teleserver. Before I go, however, I would just like to ask one question. It is primarily directed at my American readers. Donald Rumsfeld - why? I have asked everybody I know with any knowledge of these matters: why did Bush fail to sack him years ago? Everything he has done has been wrong from the initial troop deployments in Iraq to Abu Ghraib. If he had been sacked on about day two of the invasion, Bush would now be infinitely stronger than he is. 'Texan loyalty,' was one explanation. But can that be right? Perhaps it is his dry turn of phrase. But, seriously, why Rumsfeld? I genuinely want to know.


  1. Who knows? Bush is such a one-dimensional character, perhaps the answer is so simple that nobody has been stupid enough to think of it.

  2. A new Secretary of Defense would mean confirmation hearings. Bush has chosen not to provide a high-profile forum that would become in effect a public inquiry into the conduct of the Iraq war.

  3. Rumsfeld is a handsome, take-charge kind of guy -- in the beginning, lots of people liked him; lots of American women thought he was a regular stud muffin. (No woman ever thought this about Dick Cheney, I can assure you!)

    When the sentiment turned (esp. after his remarks about the troops needing to "make do with what they have" even if they didn't have the armor to repel attacks), Bush hung onto him. Why? Because the number one value Bush looks for in associates is loyalty. They are loyal to Bush and Bush is loyal to them. Any hint of disloyalty (as when Colin Powell hinted that he didn't think we should invade Iraq) and the disloyal party is out in the cold. Unforgiven. Forever.

    By the way, though GW Bush looks very one-dimensional to most people, he is far from it. I am from the South and I know the B'rer Rabbit approach to people-who-think-they're-smarter that Bush takes. He gets a lot done while people are thinking he's just dumb. He isn't.

    He is not just a puppet, either. He is something much scarier: A true believer. When Americans voted for him overwhelmingly, it had nothing to do with Iraq and everything to do with the values he cherishes: He believes in God and family (just like most Americans -- the ones not living on the East or Left Coast) and he believes in loyalty.

    And that, in essence, explains why Bush got a second term and Rumsfeld's still around.

  4. Women of a certain age find him rugged; the military people are terrified of his acerbity? Maybe Bush uses him as a shock absorber? Like you I think he should have been fired long ago.

  5. Americans didn't actually vote for Bush overwhelmingly. He lost the popular vote in the first election and barely squeaked into a second term.

    How Bush runs things is fairly simple... he rewards his friends with trust and loyalty. Bush has never chosen anyone for their competence.

    There is a great Rumsfeld quote from the BBC News: "Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said media manipulation by enemies of the US is the only thing keeping him awake at night."

    Thousands of American soldiers dead and a completely failed Iraq policy and it is the media that keeps him from sleeping at night. Amazing.

  6. Bryan, I'm surprised. How long until people see the power bloc there? Rumsfeld is one of the masters - they don't sack their own. His arcane credentials are too high.

  7. I'm not sure if you're implying Abu Ghraib wasn't supposed to happen. The only thing that wasn't supposed to happen is we weren'tmeant to find out about it. Nice quote from Rumsfeld on war here,
    "Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war."
    Or this, "Freedom's untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things." ?on looting in Iraq after the U.S. invasion, adding "stuff happens".
    Or this, "We do know of certain knowledge that he [Osama Bin Laden] is either in Afghanistan, or in some other country, or dead."
    "I believe what I said yesterday. I don't know what I said, but I know what I think, and, well, I assume it's what I said."
    "Needless to say, the President is correct. Whatever it was he said."

    One can see how he and Bush get along. And as for the nature of the God he believes in.......

  8. To Tom P: Bush won his second term by 3.5 percent of the vote. He garnered the greatest number of votes in history. The second greatest number, by the way, went to ... John Kerry. Bill Clinton, on the other hand, never won a majority of the vote cast, in either of the presidential
    What Susan says about Bush is pretty much on the money - though I don't think it makes Bush scarier than any other good politician. In fact, Susan's remarks tell you more about poltical reality in the US than a year's subscription to the New York Times would.

  9. Getting the greatest number of votes is fairly meaningless since the number of people is increasing in the US (population just went over 300 million). It is likely that the next president will break the record for vote total.

    Clinton never got the majority of votes cast for the simple reason that there were three candidates. Ross Perot did very well for a third party candidate especially in 1992. But then Lincoln got less than 40% of the vote in 1860.

    The election of 2000 came down to a few hundred votes in Florida. If Ralph Nader had not run, Al Gore would likely have won the election. The election of 2004 came down to 120,000 votes in Ohio. Nader ran, but he had no effect on the election and received few votes in any state.

  10. Tom P: If the networks hadn't given Florida to Gore before polls closed in the Florida Panhandle - evidently prompting a good many people not to vote there - Bush would have won Florida handily. And my former newspaper chain did what is generally regarded as the definitive study of the Florida vote in 2000 and concluded that Bush in fact won the state.
    And as matter of fact, the increase in the population had little to do with the vote tally. And a 3.5 percent margin is not close. The 2004 vote was large because more people voted than is usually the case.
    After 2000, when Gore won the popular vote, Democrats were going on about how we had to do away with the electoral college. After 2004, when the vote was close in Ohio (if you regard 120,000 as close), the electoral college was suddenly back in favor. The vote was also close in Wisconsin, which went for Kerry - and the evidence of vote fraud in Milwaukee overwhelming. Yes, there have been a number of minority presidents - Lincoln being one. But the fact remains that, like it or not, in 2004 more American voters went for Bush than Kerry.