Tuesday, May 09, 2006
While I am not always successful, I consciously try to act deliberately. If I am to make a decision or take action I endeavor to see beyond the finality of that single action and look to how it moves toward a larger goal. As such, when examining the question of Sec. Rumsfeld leaving I can’t help but ask what the larger goal is and if the action helps or hinders it. Ignoring the obvious short-term political goals of some, the greater goal I see that people wish to realize is not only the more effective prosecution of the war in Iraq, but ensuring we are best capable of handling any future military actions in the GWOT. So, will removing the SecDef work toward those goals?
In my opinion, the answer is “probably not.” As I said, this isn’t so much a result of blinding confidence in the SecDef, but more a complete lack of confidence in the Democrats not to overly politicize the process of replacing him. If Rumsfeld left, the President would either have to nominate a replacement or leave this vital post gapped and there can be little doubt that any Bush nominee would subscribe to the President's position that the “only exit strategy is victory.” The net result makes for fine drama during the confirmation hearings as grandstanding Senator after Senator woul pressure, press and demand a withdrawal schedule, all with the intended purpose of exacting maximum impact on the 2006 election cycle. In the end we would have a new SecDef that had already been beaten up on and placed in a defensive position while providing additional hope to the Iraqi insurgent elements that they simply have to hold on just a little longer.
Maybe Rumsfeld made some mistakes, and maybe some of them were significant. Overall, though, I still think the Iraqi campaign is being executed in a generally effective manner. At this time, though, even if I thought someone else could do a better job of closing the deal in Iraq than Rumsfeld I could not in consideration of the larger picture and goals advocate him stepping down. The inevitable political circus would certainly hurt the war effort much worse than anything Rumsfeld may or may not be doing.