Wednesday, November 8, 2006
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Rumsfeld out, Gates in, Drezner happy
If this AP report is correct, then the midterms have claimed another big loser:
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, architect of an unpopular war in Iraq, intends to resign after six stormy years at the Pentagon, Republican officials said Wednesday.If true, the news will provoke a triple "yee-haw!" from the hardworking staff here at danieldrezner.com.
[Why three yells?--ed.] First, this blog has wanted Rummy to retire for quite some time. Second, Gates is a member in good standing of the Bush 41 crowd -- i.e., he's, you know, competent.
Third, if it is Gates, this might reduce some of the paranoia about Joe Lieberman-replacing-Rumsfeld-and-then-being-replaced-by-a-Republican scenario that's been discussed in some parts of the blogosphere. This also kills the Santorum-for-DoD campaign just after it starts, by the way.
UPDATE: It's official! Yee-haw!!
Rich Lowry makes an interesting point over at The Corner:
The public probably wanted Bush to reach out to and listen more to critics. They wanted him to break-out of the "stay the course" stalemate in his Iraq policy, which had been embodied by Rumsfeld. They wanted him to acknowledge, really acknowledge in a serious way, their deep disatisfaction with the course of things in Iraq. And lo and behold, about 18 hours after the election, he is doing all of things. American democracy is a marvelous thing.ANOTHER UPDATE: In what I believe is the fifth sign of the coming apocalypse, the Rumsfeld resignation story was apparently broken by Comedy Central's Indecider blog. posted by Dan on 11.08.06 at 01:15 PM
I've always felt Rumsfeld would leave when he wanted to, and incline toward the belief that his departure now is his decision more than it is Bush's.
The choice of replacement is interesting for many reasons, one of them being a former DCI being placed in charge of the DIA, and a former DIA Director running the CIA. My guess is that this is not the last major personnel change coming, with the Deputy Secretary of State job still unfilled months after Bob Zoellick's departure and a newly Democratic Congress that may spur exits by the top people at agencies (e.g. HUD) that have been run conspicuously badly over the last several years.posted by: Zathras on 11.08.06 at 01:15 PM [permalink]
As more than one commentator has noted elsewhere, Gates was not a conspicuous success as head of the CIA. What he is, more than anything else, is a representative of GHW Bush's band, not one of his son's people.posted by: Donald A. Coffin on 11.08.06 at 01:15 PM [permalink]
Oh sweet victory.....
As for Gates, he is an adult and a doer, not an ideologue. Frankly, we need someone at the Pentagon who fights conflicts to win and is pragmatic. I am tired of guys with big ideas and bigger egos fighting wars to make ideological or doctrinal points. If Gates can roll up his sleaves and start digging us out of this nightmare, he will have this Democrat's support.
posted by: SteveinVT on 11.08.06 at 01:15 PM [permalink]
A lot of Bush 41's national security advisors are or were Bush 43's advisors too. Given Gates' likely role in Iran-Contra, it is not self-evident that he is competent or honest.posted by: AIJ on 11.08.06 at 01:15 PM [permalink]
The two photos you have up are Rummy and Britney. Britney left her husband and within hours Rummy leaves the DoD. Is there a connection? What will come of this?posted by: T Schau on 11.08.06 at 01:15 PM [permalink]
Hmmm...Daniel Ortega wins the Presidency of Nicaragua, and President Bush exhumes an Iran-Contra veteran.
A new glorious war on the horizon? After all, Iran would be hard work, but South America might be ripe for the picking.posted by: Arr-squared on 11.08.06 at 01:15 PM [permalink]
I'm happy for the same reasons. But for Rich Lowry to say now that Bush should listen to the Democrats is a bit much given all the Bush cheerleading that comes from him and his NRO crew. Of course, Rich learned how to flip flop from Lawrence Kudlow.posted by: pgl on 11.08.06 at 01:15 PM [permalink]
So, we have another one of 41's friends, after James Baker had already been brought in, and after the President had been revealed to be talking to Kissinger on a regular basis.
Baker's solution to the Iraq situation is talking to Iran and Syria. Which amounts to Churchill's story about crocodiles and getting eaten last.
Kissinger gave us victorious defeat in Vietnam: you prop up a weak government, pull out, declare victory, and throw up your hands in innocence when that weak government predictably falls to pieces a year or two later.
I guess the Iraq scenario is clear, then. Having had no clue, apparently W now has no shame.
I really hope none of my remarks have any merit.posted by: Soitscutandrun? on 11.08.06 at 01:15 PM [permalink]
Another of the "read my lips" crew? I'm not impressed.
I'm willing to concede that a lot of what Clinton got credit for (in terms of the overall economy) was as a result of B41 and his minions.
But, on every other measure, that administration was on the left end of the bell curve.posted by: bud on 11.08.06 at 01:15 PM [permalink]
I can't help wondering that if Bush had replaced Rumsfeld a few weeks ago, the Republicans might not have lost quite so bad yesterday. I'm a Democrat, so I'm glad they lost, but I am a bit perplexed by what seems like an obvious strategic error.posted by: RWB on 11.08.06 at 01:15 PM [permalink]
I can't help wondering that if Bush had replaced Rumsfeld a few weeks ago, the Republicans might not have lost quite so bad yesterday
Part of the plan ... clearing the way for 'comprehensive immigration reform' .posted by: Mitchell Young on 11.08.06 at 01:15 PM [permalink]
Gates has a good rep, but I'm worried at the incredible shrinking circle that is the Bush Cabinet. When this Administration started out, it had talent from lots of places. Rumsfeld, Whitman, Ashcroft, O'Neil, etc.
Now, after 6 years, 3 of the 4 top cabinet posts are all held by people bound by friendship and personal loyalty to the Bush dynasty. You don't govern a country the size of the United States with personal retainers -- you have to reach beyond your Christmas party list, even if you're the scion of a political dynasty.posted by: Mycroft on 11.08.06 at 01:15 PM [permalink]
And now what? I donīt see any reason for advance praise? When Mr. Gates supposed competence manifests itself, I hope you will point it out to your readers.posted by: wf on 11.08.06 at 01:15 PM [permalink]
"Given Gates' likely role in Iran-Contra, it is not self-evident that he is competent or honest."
Well, he wasn't indicted. So if he's not honest, then surely he must have been competent enough to cover his tracks very well.
Frankly, I'm willing to give him a pass on Iran-Contra, just so that 41's clique of grownups have direct connections in the Pentagon to help counteract crazy old Dick Cheney and stupid Bush.
Mycroft wrote: "Now, after 6 years, 3 of the 4 top cabinet posts are all held by people bound by friendship and personal loyalty to the Bush dynasty. You don't govern a country the size of the United States with personal retainers -- you have to reach beyond your Christmas party list, even if you're the scion of a political dynasty."
When you're talking about defense and foreign policy, it'd be pretty hard to avoid this. Any good hire who isn't a Democrat would be associated with people in the Bush administration, because the current administration has such strong ties to the administrations of Bush 41, Reagan, Ford, and Nixon.
Dan, for a smart guy you say some ridiculous absent-minded things. You say about Gates, "is a member in good standing of the Bush 41 crowd -- i.e., he's, you know, competent." Cheney was considered the most competent of the 41 crowd and I have never heard you refer to him as competent. So was Andy Card, Powell, and Rice. Rumsfeld was the only top official who wasn't part of 41's crowd.
The 41 crowd wasn't that competent and 43's foreign policy team was more solid. Scrowcroft was a complete and utter hack, who mainly saw his career rise because Kissinger needed a deputy who would maintain utter loyalty while not in anyway outshining him.
Take a look at Scrowcroft's comments before the Afghanistan War. You might agree with him on Iraq, but he was dead wrong on Afghanistan.
Baker is a talented individual and skilled negotiator, however he is a poor international affairs strategist. We tried his policy (and Clinton's) in the Middle East: it maintained corrupt oligarchs, Saudis using their oil money to finance madrassas and terrorism, increased terrosim in the Arab world, and a more problematic situation in the West Bank and Gaza.
Maybe this President's policy in Iraq is a failure (which I am not willing quite to concede) but at least he tried to change the status quo in the Middle East, which brought us 9/11. That is more than I can say for his father or Clinton.
> As for Gates, he is an adult and a
Does every single Iran-Contra criminal have to be brought back for a "second chance"?
Crankyposted by: Cranky Observer on 11.08.06 at 01:15 PM [permalink]
"I am tired of guys with big ideas and bigger egos fighting wars to make ideological or doctrinal points."
Rumsfeld was not one of the "democratizers."
He fought this war in a manner to preserve spending on major military programs such as SDI.posted by: Karl on 11.08.06 at 01:15 PM [permalink]
"I can't help wondering that if Bush had replaced Rumsfeld a few weeks ago, the Republicans might not have lost quite so bad yesterday. I'm a Democrat, so I'm glad they lost, but I am a bit perplexed by what seems like an obvious strategic error."
Makes sense on the surface, and Bush having the resignation timed the day after seems to validate the question. But most swing voters polled said their votes depended foremostly on the economy and corruption. Especially in the Ohio River Valley states where there was much exposure of state-level Republican corruption in Ohio. Also the Bushies stayed home, frustrated with him.
But I think it would have had some effect.posted by: Karl on 11.08.06 at 01:15 PM [permalink]
If this was about putting "adults and doers" in charge, they would never get rid of Bolton, who is an "adult and doer" like few others.
We will abandon Iraq. Baker, Gates and the other old-time realists are good at one thing: asking our enemies to do our dirty work for us. Whatīs so bloody competent or adult about that? There will be a price to pay. One day we will find out that staying in Iraq for another 5-10 years is not the worst thing that can happen. Just as leaving Saddam in power in 1991 did not solve anything.
I blame Bush, and I blame his critics, because the Bush doctrine is the only long-term strategy we ever had. Now we have nothing.posted by: torrin on 11.08.06 at 01:15 PM [permalink]
Hi. It's interesting to consider the repercussion of this administrative change -- the American people are definitely thinking about it.
The real question, now that the Democrats have gained control of Congress by focusing on foreign policy, is "what now?" And that's going to be tough, because opinion surveys show the public doesn't have a lot of confidence in any of the strategies on the table. This Public Agenda survey found that only two options, better intelligence gathering and reducing dependence on foreign energy, get any real support from the public.
Check it out at:
As a part of reconciliation in Iraq, will Sadam be pardoned, then to be appointed next head of Iraq? It would be too ironic not to be true.
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