Friday, December 17, 2004

Conservatives going after Rummy

As you probably all know, I am a fan of the Weekly Standard and both Bill Kristol and Tom Donnelly are top notch pundits. Therefore, I was a little taken aback to hear them join in on the pile on of Donald Rumsfeld. One expects the occassional rogue potshot from the likes of John McCain & one can easily dismiss comments coming from a senator like Trent Lott. But the folks at the Standard are a little different. It would be one thing if they were correct in their criticism, I don't expect them to tow the party line right or wrong. But their criticisms on Rumsfeld are not justified.

First, Mr. Kristol first attacks Rumsfeld for his much publicized response to the armor vehicle question, but even when Kristol is willing to move past that response his is misguided in his conclusion:

"Perhaps Rumsfeld simply had a bad day," he says.

But that's not so. He simply had a bad response. And it wasn't even a bad whole response. The first portion of the response about going to war with the army you have and not the army you want honored the soldier's he was speaking to by it's directness. Perhaps the secretary should have stopped there. Perhaps he'll be less like to think aloud in the future - but that's an insignificant mistake. Kristol then goes on to use Rumsfeld remarks to paint him as arrogant and stubborn regarding troop strength. Rumsfeld has insisted that he relies on the commanders on the ground to make that decision - not generals in the pentagon or think tankers. What's the problem?

Tom Donnelly thinks Rumsfeld should forget about transforming the military and worry about fighting the current war. The truth is, he has to and is doing both. Part of the reason we are now fighting this war with the army we have rather than the army we want is because for the previous 12 years, we haven't had a Secretary of Defense with Rumsfeld's transformational forsight.

And when it comes to equipment, I find it strange that senators like McCain, Byrd, and others are quick to pick on the secretary since they are the ones who've been on the committees that could have done something about it over the past couple of decades. Why are they passing the buck?

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