By most criteria, Donald Rumsfeld has the right stuff for the job he’s in. As in intelligence, patriotism, determination, toughness, media savvy, work ethic and as impressive a breadth of experience as any secretary of defense has ever had.
But it’s also the righteous stuff and the fright stuff. He is the architect of the zero-sum, neo-con game that is Iraq: an unnecessary war and an unplanned, disastrous occupation. Iraq is now shorthand for America’s undermined global status and imperiled presence in any number of incipient hotspots around the world.
America is not a safer place because of Iraq, and Rumsfeld needs to answer for the colossal, bloody blunder. The post-election period of cabinet reshuffling is the most appropriate – and opportune – time to address it.
Rumsfeld is no mere hawk, but an albatross hanging over the best interests of this country. On his watch and under his misguidance, America has totally squandered the moral high ground it was accorded in the aftermath of 9/11. In the good name of rooting out terrorism, we’ve unleashed an Islamic extremist propaganda and recruiting coup that has resulted in more than 1,000 American fatalities, scores maimed and America’s reputation devalued worldwide.
In the process, Rumsfeld has skated on accountability. Not enough troops and not enough supplies are part of his calamitous Iraqi legacy. “R & R” duplicitously now means “retain and recall.” Standard standing armies of occupation – even the most powerful in the world – historically don’t do well against insurgencies. We need only to recall our own history on that one.
We also know, thanks to a patronizing recent remark by Rumsfeld, that “