Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead


We’ve been treated to a steady diet of “Rummy against the ropes but refuses to resign” stories for, oh, about three or four years. He won’t resign this time, and even if he tries, it won’ t be accepted. And he won’t be fired. Get over it.

Here’s an interesting bit from the story this image is from:

Fueling the debate in recent days was the release of a classified intelligence report that concluded that the Iraq war has helped fuel a new generation of extremists and increased the overall terrorist threat.

Hmmm. As far as Murdoc knows, it was leaked information, not a released report, that “concluded that the Iraq war has helped fuel a new generation of extremists.” When the summary of the said report was released, it wasn’t nearly as “conclusive” as critics would like to think. But, hey, what are a few little facts when trying to nail Rummy to the wall?

UPDATE: Jay Tea at Wizbang has more on this.


  1. Rumsfield should resign. When an official is no longer effective in his role – he should resign. Reguardless of the issue of his competence in military affairs – its clear that the military is looking past him, thus marginalizing his authority. For example the Air Force and the F-22 program. They have effectively gone around on over him in order to get the plane that they want. The army is now stating that they need 60K more men. A position that Rumsfield has resisted in the past. Couple that with the former general going public and ‘releases’ of reports – it seems clear to me that the pentagon is in a quiet mutiny against him. The miliary is too important a post to have a marginalized figure to run.

  2. Personally, I hope Rumsfeld doesn’t resign — like Karl Rove, his continued presence pisses off all the right people — but James brings up an interesting point: Rumsfeld is a public servant, and we are the public, so in a sense yeah, he — along with Nicholas, Murdock, me, and everyone else — ARE the ones to judge his effectiveness, as we are his bosses. But in practical terms, Rumsfeld serves at the president’s pleasure, and can be dismissed at any time by him. That is a principle that was reinforced in the Andrew Johnson impeachment. He is, for all practical purposes, an extension of Bush, and Bush is ultimately accountable for Rumsfeld’s actions and decisions (and inactions and indecisions, for that matter). This whole ‘call for removal’ of cabinet officials is basically ‘impeachment lite,’ hoping to whittle down Bush by taking away his key advisors. Damn, I might have to take this and run with it over at Wizbang… J.

  3. Jay : I guess my point is, very few of us are well enough versed in his options, his actions, and the consequences to actually judge whether his decisions have been reasonable. I’d defend him, except I don’t believe I am in a position to really say. I also doubt James is, unless there’s something I don’t know. If he did something egregarously bad, then clearly we should call for him to be dismissed. But failing that, we have to trust the judgement of those around him to be able to say whether it’s effecftive or ineffective. They’re the ones who should know. I think that’s roughly the same point you are making… P.S. I am not a US Citizen so I don’t really have a say in this. But I do read a fair bit of military history and I can’t think of anything Rumsfeld has presided over which is obviously bad enough to call for his dismissal. Historically speaking he seems to have done a fair to good job. He’s probably a billion times better than McNamara, for example.

  4. A billion times nothing is still nothing. I see Rummy as being very much in the mold of McNamara. They both have tried to fight a war without a plan to win. They both used to little force to get the job done. They both have us bogged down in a war where the end is perpetually moving farther away instead of nearer. Heck, for all Rumsfeld’s talk of reform, you’d think at least he could replace McNamara’s gun. He can’t even do that. Look at his very concept of reform. He kicks most of the military people out of the DoD offices and replaces them with defense contractors. Now there’s a trustworthy lot. He cancels big dumb weapons that work in favor of high tech, high cost development programs (per the wishes of the contractors and without regard to the assymetric war we’re in). He ‘outsources’ military functions to contractors. He lays off troops to pay for his off-the-scale cost overruns for his high tech development programs. Is that reform? I’m thinking a secretary of defense that isn’t in the pocket of the defense contractors would be a refreshing change.

  5. Rumsfelt is *exactly* the man needed to bring the U.S. military into the 21st century. Militaries have always resisted the new, and it has usually taken a rebel at the top or a military disaster to change high-ranking opinion. What Rumsfelt has done is to begin the process of clearing out the ‘old think’ within the Pentagon. Not all of the changes have been good, and his managerial style is said to be something to the right of abrasive. But he *is* getting the job done. I strongly feel that one of Bush’s better decisions is to stick with his Secretary even under siege from the left and right, and within many within the military heirarchy who don’t like his preemption of their role. But I think most people would agree that DOD needed a shake-up, and as much as I *highly* respect our command leadership, it is very, very large and very slow to change. Rumsfelt is strong medicine, distasteful to the patient, perhaps, but necessary.

  6. People are worried he will redeem himself if he is allowed to finish what he started and learn from his mistakes.

  7. He’s just like the ‘reform’ we had in the late ’80s and early ’90s. He only makes things worse, not better. I suppose you could call that reform, in a technical sense.

  8. IMO – when the secretary of defense becomes an iconic figure that is a sure sign of one of two things: A He is incompetent or B) He is super competent. Personally, I believe that he has reached his level of incompetence. In a lower ranking position, I believe that he would be a very competent advisor. Nicholas – Do I have any special insight that would enable me to judge him? No. I’m just a citizen expressing his displeasure with a public servant. Reform of the military? IMO the biggest problem with the military is not this weapon or that system; it’s the progressive inertia that fossilized the pentagon. When, ‘Army leaders have concluded that the service’s current inventory of small arms is ill suited to the guerilla wars that U.S. ground forces now are fighting. An then state ‘The process of evaluating the proposals and testing prototypes could take another year to 18 months, Clarke said.’ Two years into a conflict they discover the weapons being used are ill suited and its going to take a year + to evaluate a replacement. This is in my view gross abdication of reponsibility on the part of the military command. If this was an isolated event I would let it slide, but this as business as usual. The most damning current indictement of the military, is how can they be unable to replace equipment losses while enjoying the largest budgets in history. At some point someone has to take the responsibility and truly reform the military. Not talk about ‘revolutions’ in war fighting. Just as amatures talk tactics and professionals talk logistics. Amature defense secretaries talk ‘revolutions’, weapon systems and profession defense secretary’s talk, fiscal accountability and professional responsibility. The current crisis in today’s US Military can be squarly focused on the failure of fiscal accountability and the failure of professional responsibiity (not in the lower ranks) but a systematic faulure of the upper ranks to assume the professional responsibilty that their rank requires.

  9. The thing is, not everybody agrees that the M-16 and M-4 are the wrong weapons. Personally I would want a larger calibre, but there’s something to be said for low weight and recoil. Even .50 rounds don’t usually take down a target in one shot unless you hit them in the head. Basically, it’s controversial, and I wouldn’t condemn him on the basis of a controversy. If everybody agreed it sucked (like the early M-16s did in Vietnam – they jammed like crazy) then I would say it’s incompetence. Personally I don’t buy the persistent logistical argument that it’s so hard to stock more than one type of bullet. But I don’t think this is such a clear-cut issue. Many people like the weapons they are issued and think they are suited to the task. Others don’t. That’s probably always going to be the case.

  10. Nicholas – I do not care about the relative merits of a M-16 vs M-4 vs whatever gun. The issue – once the Army made the determination that the M-16/M-4 were unsuitable to the combat setting – it should not take one year to eighteen months to make a decision on what your replacement will be. Especially if you just spent the last 20 years researching and developing a new rifle. Especially if you have troops in the field getting killed because their primary weapon is unsuitable in the combat the troops are facing. I regard this inability to obtain a suitable rifle a gross derliction of command responsibility. Realistically, a soldiers rifle is a small but vital peice of equipment, yet the military is unable/unwilling to actually make a decision. Instead we get endless powerpoint slides, proposals, and spec changes and so on. The Penagon is creating a illusion of activity, but producing these endless studies and white papers is achieving no measurable gain, except to keep an overstaffed pentagon full of generals who provide no leadership. Meanwhile the men in the field are getting killed. Yet, this rifle issue is but one example of an on going string procurement debacles where millions if not billions of dollars going down rat holes with no military benefit. People like to point to the B-2 as a boondoggle. Its nothing – if you want to see where real money is being flushed down the drain, look at the TR-1 (now called the U2S program). Pound for pound that bird is the most expensive airplane ever built. Each pound of a U2S weighs in at 25,000$ where as the B-2 bomber weighs in at 13,924 per pound. You know the funny part – The U2S is not needed and even if it is used, it would not be used as it was intended, with virtually of its tasks and responsibilities have been taken over by the UAV’s.

  11. I agree the situation is ridiculous and the military/industrial complex has to be taken care of. But I think you’re expecting too much of Rummy. It is his job to solve these problems, but he can’t wave a magic wand and fix everything instantly. I find it’s a lot easier to criticise somebody for doing something than it is to do their job. How do we know that if we were in his position we could do any better? That’s why I’m not willing to blame him for the problems.

  12. He is going the wrong way. He is making things worse. It is actually to our benefit he is so incompetent because otherwise we’d be in a hell of a fix. When he was appointed, I was sure things would go exactly opposite of the way they have gone.

  13. What difference does that make? We can’t do anything about the past. We can do something about the present and how we go forward into the future. It is well past time we picked a positive direction for a change.

  14. I’m trying to understand who or what you consider to be a good SecDef, or if such a thing is even possible. To pick a positive direction, you have to know which direction is positive. To know that surely one needs historical perspective. So who was a good SecDef – who do you want the future ones to be in the mold of?

  15. Dick Cheney comes immediatly to mind (March 1989 to January 1993). I’m talking the old Dick Cheney, not the new one. The guy who cancelled the A-12 and P-7 fiascos. I sure wish we had that guy back.

  16. This is some of Rummy’s best work: The FTC’s order acknowledges that United Launch Alliance effectively will have a monopoly. The U.S. government is the only major customer for medium- and heavy-lift rocket launches, and Boeing and Lockheed are the only companies that currently provide such services. ‘The commission’s proposed consent order does not attempt to remedy the loss of direct competition between Boeing and Lockheed Martin,’ the FTC said, citing the Pentagon’s support for the deal on national security grounds. The agency said the commission’s vote was unanimous. To win approval, the companies agreed to work with any other satellite or rocket providers. They also agreed to give ‘equal consideration and support to all launch services providers’ and safeguard any competitive information obtained from other companies. Yeah baby, that’s some good reform there. Top notch reform if I’ve ever seen it.

  17. As model secretary of defense – Robert Lovett has a lot going for him. He handled the war in Korea, while reorganizing the pentagon, and instituting long term rearmament programs.

  18. Okay from the NIE summary: ‘We assess that the Iraq jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives; perceived jihadist success there would inspire more fighters to continue the struggle elsewhere. ~ The Iraq conflict has become the -’cause celebre-‘for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement. Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight.’ Trying to see how you can say that this is not ‘conclusive.’ Seems pretty simple. And Steve, as far as Rummie ‘redeeming’ himself, he lost that opportunity about two years ago. Now with the OFT shut down, the appropriations act still funding the same old service programs as in 2001, no progress in Iraq, it’s way too late. He’s got a year tops to do something effective, and I just don’t see it.