Sunday, December 19, 2004

Lugar on Rumsfeld 

Sec. of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has gotten himself into another stew of his own disconnect, this time over the discovery (first published in Stars & Stripes) that he's been having the Autopen sign his condolence letters to the families of military personnel who were killed in Iraq. As he so often does, he fell back on the rationale of efficiency, but has promised that he will personally sign them from now on. It seems that people were about as impressed by efficiency when it comes to expressing your sorrow and regret at someone's death as it is by the efficiency of going to war with the army you've got, not with the army you wish you had.

Various congressional leaders, including many leading Republicans, are questioning the wisdom of Rumsfeld's staying on as SecDef.

I found rather puzzling the statements of Republican Senator Richard Lugar, the Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when he:
...expressed concern on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that removing him from office could threaten national security.

"He should be held accountable and he should stay in office," the Indiana Republican senator said. "The fact is a change of leadership in the Pentagon (
news - web sites) at this point might be as disruptive as trying to get someone in Homeland Defense," he added.
Why is it that every time a change is suggested, someone waves the "threat to national security" card. Don't change horses midstream!!!!! But what if the horse has a broken leg and is dragging you under the water with him?

How does he propose that Sec. Rumsfeld be "held accountable" and yet "stay in office?" Put a reprimand in his permanent file? If there are serious enough issues for which he must be held accountable, is it reasonable to put an absolute bar on removing him from his position? After all, the issues do have to do directly with his performance in that very position.

And finally, regarding the potential disruption being as bad as the disruption surrounding "trying to get someone in Homeland Defense," I have this to say: What? Wasn't that a rather self-inflicted "disruption?" If the Bush Administration wants to avoid that kind of disruption, make better choices in the nominees. Bush put forth an untenable nominee for Homeland Defense, so the country should potentially put up with an untenable Secretary of Defense?

The spin rate is increasing exponentially, and appears to be getting just a bit beyond the control of the handlers.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 7:35 PM