Sunday, December 03, 2006

Rumsfeld: 'Stay some other course'

Outgoing defense coordinator tells Bush to change his playbook

BBC--Former US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld proposed major changes to the Bush administration's strategy in Iraq just two days before he resigned. He made the call in a classified memo to the White House, which has been obtained by the New York Times.

Mr Rumsfeld's memo says US strategy in Iraq "is not working well enough"....

"In my view it is time for a major adjustment," Mr Rumsfeld wrote in the memo dated 6 November. "Clearly, what US forces are currently doing in Iraq is not working well enough or fast enough."

Mulling over these suggestions shouldn't be too difficult for Bush, considering that few of them contain any combination of the words "cut" and "run." BBC quotes some of Rumsfeld's modest proposals:
  • Significantly increase the number of US trainers and transfer more equipment to Iraqi security forces
  • Reduce quickly the number of US bases, currently 55, to five by July 2007
  • Position substantial US forces near the Iranian and Syrian borders to reduce infiltration and Iran's influence
  • Withdraw US forces from vulnerable positions, such as patrols, and use them as a quick reaction force to help Iraqi security forces when needed
Mr Rumsfeld also urges President Bush to copy the tactics of Iraq's deposed leader: "Provide money to key political leaders (as Saddam Hussein did), to get them to help us get through this difficult period." (As long as we're fighting terror with terror, why not at least copy the one man who at least sort of united Iraq, right?)

Any new approach should be announced as being on a "trial basis", giving the administration the ability to change if necessary and therefore not "lose", the memo says.

Wow! A plan that would not only be more effective and garner public support, but would offer the flexibility needed to contain the conflict? There's no way Bush'll go for that! No wonder Rummy resigned...

Mr Rumsfeld also outlined a number of "Below the Line" or less attractive options, including continuing on the current path, moving large numbers of US forces into Baghdad and increasing US forces substantially. Other proposals include setting a firm withdrawal date and pushing an "aggressive" federalism plan to move towards three separate states - Sunni, Shia and Kurd.

"Below the Line" is an interesting label for what is essentially Bush's current "stay the course" mentality. I'm more partial to calling it, "Continuing the clusterfuck." But that's probably why I'm not Secretary of Defense. Either way, it's a damning indictment on Bush's policies by the man who made them reality. For his entire reign, Bush has counted on Rumsfeld as one of his few unwavering partners in crime (literally). So what has Dubya himself said of the memo?

US national security adviser Stephen Hadley told ABC TV that President George W Bush agreed with that assessment, describing the memo as a helpful "laundry list of ideas".

A laundry list of ideas?!! That's the kind of thing someone says when they think you're stupid but are too polite to tell you! Benjamin Franklin never said, "this Constitution is a helpful laundry list of ideas." Why not? Because he took it seriously! Instead he said, "This is a republic, if you can keep it." Now that's conviction!

Mr Bush has indicated he will look closely at but not necessarily follow the group's suggestions. "I want to hear all advice before I make any decision about adjustments to our strategy in Iraq," Mr Bush said in his radio address on Saturday.

In other words, Bush is waiting to hear what he wants to hear. One can only wonder where is going to get that these days, if not from Rumsfeld.

What Bush should really say is, "I've received Rumsfeld's memo and plan to scrutinize its proposals. We will then convene with the Pentagon and determine a course of action regarding the quagmire in Iraq." Except, of course, with words he can pronounce. Or, perhaps, "This is one memo I'm not going to completely ignore." Something remotely assuring!

Quibble all you want about Rumsfeld's concerns; but the bigger issue here is the principle. Ever the neocon chickenhawk, Rumsfeld's revisions take an almost moderate turn. Though the memo makes no reference to his impending resignation, its author must have seen it coming. This sudden speaking out certainly follows the trend of top Bush officials spilling it once the chokehold of power has loosened its grip--proof beyond proof that a close circle in the Bush White House wants their way at all costs. But when even Donald Rumsfeld calls for change in Iraq, no one can ignore that something is definitely wrong.

And, true to form, Bush isn't listening.

What on God's Greenhouse Earth will it take?


Hillary For President said...

OGM IAN you our so rite. Now what BUsh fire Rumsfeld, what we need is hillary clinton fire bush. Maybe we can in peach him and get rid like when superman upt the crimnals in the glass box we put bush in a peach and sned off to spaits. Once we get rid of bush and chaney Nancy Pelosi is who will be president to decorate the wite house for hillary clinton on 008.

humidhaney said...

check it out.

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