Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The President should accept Rumsfeld's resignation.

There is a tipping point which I believe we have reached in the ongoing drama of whether Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld should resign.

The news for the last week or so has been afire with the revelations of the Haditha massacre last November. It is not just the massacre that warrants Rumsfeld's resignation, but also the subsequent coverup by the Marines in which they officially declared that the civilian deaths were the result of an insurgent IED explosion.

The guiding principle for effective leadership has been the recognition by management that they are responsible for the overall conduct and performance of the people they manage. Rumsfeld has overseen the Department of Defense as it has lurched from one disaster to the next. There appears to be no willingness to admit failures except in the broadest sense, and no system by which upper management at the Pentagon is to be held accountable for these tremendous blunders.

At the end of the day the person ultimately responsible for our nations military is the commander in chief. I believe that the resignation of Bush would be accepted by the nation and the world with dancing in the streets. Frankly the mans history shows a record that would tend to give me hope for his resignation, as Bush in private life undertook major endeavors, ran those enterprises into the ground, and then turned the mess over to others as he moved on to the next failure. However to follow that pattern in the current position he holds would be such a monumental admission of failure, which is against the very core being of Bush to do, that he would go down in history as one of the greatest failures not just in American Presidential history, but in the history of world leadership.

The Secretary of Defense on the other hand is not an automatic 8 year term who serves the entire course of the administration that appoints him. It is quite common for the position to be recycled. What is not common is for the same Secretary to oversee a chain of unmitigated disasters and to keep the job. In fact the root of these problems can in large part be traced to decisions made by Rumsfeld. The lack of post invasion planning, the encouragement of harsh treatment of detainees, the lack of accountability of upper brass when detainee abuse exploded on the scene and now the Haditha massacre and subsequent coverup... and this is not the entire list of mistakes by any stretch of the imagination.

When Abu Ghraib burst on the scene Secretary Rumsfeld twice offered his resignation to the President who saw fit to not accept on both occasions. I believe that the Haditha massacre and coverup ought to be the trigger for another resignation letter from the Secretary, and this time the President would be well served to accept.

I think the coverup is a reason, but the incident is not. You can't blame the Sec. of D for Marines going nuts unless he told them to.

But the cover-up? Oh yea, that is juicy. That is canning material.

Rumsfeld should have been canned years ago. Didn't predict the insurgency? I did. You probably did. Why couldn't he?
While I agree that holding Rumsfeld directly responsible for the massacre would be overboard, I do believe the training, moral bearing, and emotional state of the Marine unit in question does reflect on their leadership. I would not advocate charging Rumsfeld with murder or court martialing him. But just the same as the rampage hurts the image of all Americans and is a tremendous blow to our standing on the world stage, it reflects negatively on the leadership as well. Rumsfeld of all people should not escape the approbrium which all of us now face due to this horrible event. The most appropriate response in my humble opinion ought to be his resignation.
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