Hearing lots of chatter on the dark net that Secretary Rumsfeld is going to announce his retirement.
Update: It's Official.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
WASHINGTON — Donald H. Rumsfeld is stepping down as defense secretary and former CIA Director Robert Gates will be nominated to take his place.
"Now after a series of thoughtful conversations, Secretary Rumsfeld and I agreed that the time had come for new leadership at the Pentagon," Bush said in an East Room press conference scheduled Tuesday night after election returns showed an incoming Democratic House majority.
Bush said Gates brings a long history of organization and national security credentials.
"He's served six presidents, from both political parties, and rose from an entry-level employee in the CIA to become the director of central intelligence," Bush said. Gates would have to be confirmed by the Senate, whose majority will be determined by one currently-contested election.
Bush told Iraqis not to be fearful by the changes in the United States or its own halting steps to democracy. He also warned terrorists not to start celebrating as a result of Rumsfeld's departure.
"Do not be joyful. Do not confuse the workings of our democracy with a lack of will. Our nation is committed to bringing you to justice. Liberty and democracy are the source of our strength," Bush said.
"To our men and women in uniform: don't be doubtful. America will always support you. Our nation is blessed to have men and women who volunteer to serve and are willing to risk their own lives for the safety of our fellow citizens," he said.
We have actively been at war for over 5 years now, and Donald Rumsfeld has been Secretary of Defense for that entire time. That’s longer than WWII in one of the most difficult jobs imaginable. Sec. Rumsfeld doesn’t even have a desk; he stands all day while working. Mr. Rumsfeld thank you for the Herculean efforts you and your staff and all the folks at the Pentagon, civilian and military, have made, but sir it’s time to take a seat.
There is much to be said for continuity in offices of high import, but also for a change that can reinvigorate. When faced with a monumental challenge it is easy to focus like a laser on it, and that can lead to failure to see alternatives to your way. I think Sec. Rumsfeld has been unfairly painted as too set in his ways or convinced he is correct. In a military unit it is vital that a consistent and coherent set of guidance comes down the chain of command. There should be no doubt at any level what the commander’s intent is, this is one of Sec. Rumsfeld’s strengths. There also needs to be a feeling that before a final decision is made the input of the many talented professionals involved get to air their opinions and lay out all the options detailing strengths and weaknesses of each, this is one of Sec. Rumsfeld’s weaknesses. Fair or not, he is perceived as as not taking the advice of all of those in the Pentagon and also of dominating inter-agency battles over policy.
No one person is indispensable, and Donald Rumsfeld has certainly earned some R&R. I believe he should announce that he will retire after the elections, not resign, retire. He should go out with a parade and a big party on the National Mall. The left has been calling for his resignation and if they had their way, his running out of town on a rail. What a perfect way to short circuit that by celebrating his service and letting him enjoy that time-honored military tradition of a retirement party. It may seem tacky to do so in the midst of a war, but we military folks understand irony and the idea that we should “eat and drink for tomorrow we die”.
This would also offer the president an excellent opportunity to remind people that we are still at war and his choice of a replacement would be a chance to reconnect the country with this. I believe he should appoint a Democrat to serve as the next Sec. of Defense and for some reason the name Lieberman keeps coming to mind. If not him, it should be someone from well outside the president’s current circle of advisers. I don’t subscribe to the view that the administration has done an awful job of prosecuting the war on jihadism, but I can hardly give them a glowing review. A new voice, different ideas and a fresh start may be just what we all need.
Is Gates the new voice that we need?
Update: Jules Crittenden at the Boston Herald had a good article about ten days ago about the need for Rummy (and Cheney) to step down.