I wanted him replaced two years ago, and said so. (I wanted Condi replaced too, for that matter). I thought he was a bad manager, and a poor judge of people (some of his top aides don’t belong there). It took me quite a while to get to that conclusion because of his reputation as an outstanding manager, but that’s what I think, and I’m sad to think it. Because, in a town overpopulated with journeyman minor leaguers, he’s an all star. He shakes up the system, which is not always a good thing, but it almost always is. He’s the only member of the Cabinet to do that, and DoD, for all of its faults, is probably the most interesting building in town. It’s sure a lot better than the White House and the NSC, and none of those people–the Hadleys, the O’Sullivans (a name you probably don’t know, but she is in charge of Middle East policy at the NSC), the Abramses, etc.–is walking the plank. We can’t prevail without people like Rumsfeld, the meteors of the political universe. He’s a pure American type.
He’s one of those people who does a lot of good things you never hear about, because he doesn’t talk about them and he doesn’t want his people to talk about them. One example: there’s a Pentagon program to train dogs to assist blinded and crippled soldiers. It takes about two years to properly train the dogs, and the cost is forty thousand dollars each. One of the dogs was brought in to Rumsfeld’s office for a visit, and when it was over, he took out his check book and covered the full cost of one of them. You wouldn’t have read about it in the MSM, I promise you, but his future biographers should know such things.
And while I thought he should be replaced, I found the manner and the moment of his purge utterly disgusting. What was the rush? It was one of the worst moments of W’s presidency. It was a double surrender by the president, throwing a severed head to the Democrats and to the terrorists. You can be quite sure that the terror masters saw the election as a great victory, and Rumsfeld’s ritual sacrifice as a moment of glory. It will encourage them to redouble their efforts, both in Iraq/Afghanistan, and elsewhere. They believe they have Bush’s number, that they have broken him, and all they must do now is keep the blood flowing to accelerate our retreat. My heart breaks for the Iraqis.