Thursday, August 31, 2006

Rumsfeld Comes Out Punching

I am somewhat agnostic about US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. So much to admire: a man with many good ideas on the restructuring of the post-Cold War military; a cabinet secretary sophisticated enough and forceful enough not to be bamboozled by statistics or canned answers from subordinates with impressive resumes; or inordinately awed by fruit salad on a uniform, however well-deserved. Secretary Rumsfeld, to his credit, has always made an honest effort to do his own homework.

At the same time, Secretary Rumsfeld has perhaps been guilty of carrying his good qualities as a leader and administrator to extremes, and being insufficiently willing to suffer contradiction, or to take advice. The Secretary also tolerated a high degree of administrative chaos in his area of responsibility. Finally, and most significantly, Secretary Rumsfeld bears a large measure of responsibility for the failure to plan for the administration and pacification of Iraq after the war of 2003; and, for his apparent unwillingness to even recognize the existence of an insurgency in Iraq for much of 2003.

All that said, Secretary Rumsfeld is still a high-caliber individual; and his remarks yesterday, to the American Legion National Convention in Salt Lake City, ought to be required reading. The speech correctly castigates the deserving; and hopefully indicates that the Administration is going to at last come out of the White House Rose Garden and fight like Hell to prop-up the war effort and keep the defeatists from taking over Washington.


louielouie said...

as excellency has used his legal-eagle-eye to state that rummy has come out punching, i see nothing of the sort in these remarks.
"a new type of facism", "a different kind of enemy" are all cliches used imo to fill in air time.
no one, not rummy, not the saudi lap dog in the oval office, not condi, has identified the enemy. who is the enemy?
who do i fight?
where do i point my gun that i may inflict injury/damage onto the enemy?
who is it specifically that wants to do us harm?
identify the enemy.
then kill it/them.
nothing has changed.

El Jefe Maximo said...

Possibly I am inordinately impressed with historical examples, which Secretary Rumsfeld cites with marginally more competence than most. Also, I confess to liking his willingness to point his rhetorical guns at the people doing us the most damage in this war -- i.e. those members of the Third Estate doing everything they can think of to demoralize the public and convince people not to support the war.

Yeah, there has been some vagueness in identifying who is going to have the non-rhetorical guns pointed at them. First, at least some of these people are obvious: alQaeda; Iraqi rebels; members of the Taliban. Others are less so, and perhaps it should remain that way for a time, because it is politically necessary to pursue a coaltion effort, (even more so now, because of the defeatism of the media and the chattering classes); and naming too many enemies - Iran, Hezbollah, even Chavez in Venezuela -- before we have the ducks lined up to deal with them, is probably more trouble than its worth.

The best is often the enemy of good enough, and an excess of clarity is seldom a virtue in war.

Mike's America said...

As a student of National Security topics for many years I have followed the efforts of quite a few Secretaries of Defense.

Secretary Rumsfeld is the best of the lot. His is an extraordinairly difficult job, even more so at a time of war. The complexities are doubled by the restructuring of the military which he has also undertaken.

I can't say there is a single time when I have found his performance to be disappointing. Sure, there are a lot of arm chair generals out there who say in hindsight that he could have done such and such, or so and so. But none of them could have done the job better.

Oh, and I heard President Bush today describe our enemy in a more comprehensive way than he has in the past. It might help louielouie know where to point his gun. I have it excerpted at Mike's America.

El Jefe Maximo said...

I have a splendid armchair, and perhaps I use it a bit much...

I do not know if anybody could have done Rumsfeld's job better. I could think of a half-dozen likely suspects who could have done it worse.

louielouie said...

ok, well, i guess i did go off on a bit of a tangent.......
re-reading excellency's comment and re-reading rummy's address i did miss the thrust of the address. pointing out the numerous mis-actions of the media and not whom do we shoot.

so let me point out what i think is missing. if you go to GoV, which i know excellency does, this article by fjordman(sp) points out the actions of one saudi prince. read it. it is only three or four paragraphs into the essay. this guy is the enemy. this guy represents the enemy. freeze his assets, force fox to refuse him any ownership stake. tell him to take his ownership elsewhere. let him peddle his influence elsewhere. it won't be done.
as far as rummy's address goes, i would say that this is long overdue, but i don't think the SecDef is the one who should do it.