The California Republican

This blog was created in order to report on a streak of conservatism currently taking hold in California. Recent events, and voting records show much of the same here in California, but the trend is one that is certainly in our favor.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Should He Stay or Should He Go?

I am on record voicing my opinion on this matter almost a year ago. Before I reveal my conclusion on this though, let us discuss the points at hand. I am speaking, of course, about Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. There are very real benefits and negatives that need weighed. Decisions such as firing someone due to biases or partisan feelings are unethical. This is the first lesson of critical thinking, management, and ethics. Never allow personal feelings to get in the way of a fair decision. Too many of us will not allow that to happen; however, I will present some facts on both sides before revealing my opinion.


First the positives:

1. He is extremely loyal. The administration trusts him to carry out the will of the President. I would not call him a puppet, rather a life-long believer in his convictions, which largely coincide with Bush's beliefs. A president should be able to trust his cabinet. Donald is doing this aspect of his job well.

2. He is strongly pro-military and for making the military more "efficiently lethal." This is another vital duty of the Secretary of Defense. He has a rich history of supporting our troops through both visionary and not so visionary means.

3. He won two wars decidedly. Before Afghanistan, the only thing anyone could talk about is how impossible the Taliban and Al Qeada were to defeat militarily. They would cite Russia as the prime example. We won in weeks, decidedly. We arguably won the Iraq War too fast. We went so fast that we left too much behind. In the "regular-military" aspect, Rumsfeld won two wars.

4. He is qualified. He is probably one of the most qualified, as far as credentials and records go, persons to run the Pentagon in America. He has also served the American public for decades.


Some negatives:

1. Rumsfeld fought Powell for the job of rebuilding Iraq. He won this fight. He was ill prepared for this job, and his shortcomings have indirectly led to many American deaths. Mistakes are made in war. During WWII, and Vietnam, some mistakes led to thousands dead. While the scope of Rumsfeld’s mistakes has not had the same body count, they remain nonetheless.

2. Rumsfeld refuses to accept any blame for anything, anytime, for any reason. He comes across as arrogant, unapologetic, and insensitive to any of his failures. From Abu Ghraib, to the armor issue, to everything in between. Instead of humility, he is rigid. I support most of his actions, but in a time of war, he should either stop giving press conferences, or start trying to relate to the public.

3. He, despite knowing the consequences, failed to publicly oppose the recent security bill. As it originally stated, the military would have lost many intelligence capabilities; thus, the military would have been placed in even more danger. Sometimes his loyalty "cuts off the nose to spite the face."

4. He is rapidly losing the trust of the American people. If the American people do not trust the leader of the war machine, then resolve will quickly dissolve.

5. He is/was on board with embedded journalists. Get the reporters off of the front line. America has a right, and a need to know, but not live, and first hand.


Ok, my conclusion. Rumsfeld, even though we agree with many things, I feel that you are not doing the best job possible. When Americans are dying, we need the best person possible in the job you have. I think you are a capable man and are deserving of more credit than blame. However, I feel we could do better. The biggest reason is that the public is losing faith in you.



Therefore, with all due respect Mr. Secretary, I would like to see you step down after the Iraq elections. I also thank you for all that you have done.


Addendum:
My friend over at www.dougpetch.com raises an excellent point in this blurb: "The California Republican looks at the Pros and Cons of SecDef Rumsfeld and comes to a conclusion. It's a shame that said conclusion centers on the fact that "the public is losing faith" in Rumsfeld. If one were to use the same logic in evaluating the President...."

I would like to respond with a clarification.

Bush just got elected with nearly 52% of the vote. Indicitive of a mandate. Bush's job approval rating is always quite dynamic in a +/- 5 point window. Some extremes exist. This number seems to reside quite comfortably on the national partisan divide of America, with undecideds causing the alterations.

Rumsfed now only has 36% of Americans wanting him to stay. That clearly cuts into the home-field. This means that a lot of republicans have lost faith in him.

In the War on Terror, American resolve and American might are the two most important components needed for victory.

Doug, as always, thanks for keeping us honest.