Friday, June 24, 2005

Rumsfeld: Please, Let Me Resign Already

I had the opportunity to watch the Senate Armed Services Committee hearings on C-Span last night, and witnessed an extraordinary exchange between Senator Ted Kennedy and Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld.
TED KENNEDY: Secretary Rumsfeld, as you know, we are in serious trouble in Iraq, and this war has been consistently and grossly mismanaged, and we are now in a seemingly intractable quagmire. Our troops are dying, and there really is no end in sight. Our troops deserve better, Mr Secretary, I think the American people deserve better. They deserve competency, and they deserve the facts. In baseball it's three strikes and you're out. What is it for the Secretary of Defence?
LEIGH SALES: Mr Rumsfeld took a deep breath when the Democrat finished.
DONALD RUMSFELD: Well, that is quite a statement. First, let me say that there isn't a person at this table who agrees with you that we're in a quagmire, and that there's no end in sight. The suggestion by you that people – me or others – are painting a rosy picture is false. I think that the comments you made are certainly yours to make, and I don't agree with them.
TED KENNEDY: Well, my time has just expired, but Mr Secretary, I'm talking about the misjudgements and the mistakes that have been made, the series which I've mentioned. Those are on your watch. Isn't it time for you to resign?
DONALD RUMSFELD: Senator, I have offered my resignation to the President twice, and he's decided that he would prefer that he not accept it. And that's his call.

When a man like Don Rumsfeld, who has a Pentagon-sized ego, responds to a question from a man like Senator Kennedy, who is a symbolic Enemy of all Republicans, about whether he should resign by saying "I have offered my resignation to the President twice," I interpret that to mean, "yeah, I know I have screwed up MASSIVELY. But the President wants me to keep serving, and so I will continue to do so." There are plenty of reasons why the Bush administration may have decided it would not be politically expedient to admit any setbacks in Iraq (most of which I do not agree with), but Rumsfeld's response says it all.
-- Eric


Blogger poster said...

It's not very uncommon for people in Rumsfeld's position to offer their resignations, and I've heard Rumsfeld say that many times before. I don't really think he was backing down to Kennedy, nor do I think he was sending a signal to Bush to let him quit.
To me, this exchange was more about the continued hostility between the far left and the administration over whether or not the war was worth it.


10:53 AM  
Blogger poster said...

I think you misunderstand what I said, or maybe I wasn't clear.
First of all, as far as I know, Rumsfeld has only said once before that he had offered his resignation to Bush, and it made news at the time. Second, I don't think he was backing down to Kennedy necessarily either. I just think he was stating the obvious - that the administration has botched the execution of the war to a degree that they do not generall admit, and that Rumsfeld is aware of that fact.

12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that offering your resignation is simply a way to let your boss know that you are willing to take the heat for a politically tough situation. If I were Clinton, I would have sacked Reno so fast on the Gonzales issue and then moved on with a new AG, just trying to erase the bad feeling. He stuck with her.

I am surprised you have not examined this action from the perspective of a much greater malady in government: A lack of willingness to accept responsibility for ones actions.

After the Cole got hit, the Captain was not dismissed; after Gonzales and all that crap, Reno never took responsibility and got sacked; Rumsfeld has actually stood up and said "If you want me to go, I will go, because I serve the pleasure of the President."

Heck, George Ball should have resigned the minute we started escalating in Vietnam. Pussy.

12:25 PM  

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