Friday, April 14, 2006

A quick comment: I'm pleased to see so many retired generals calling for Donald Rumsfeld's resignation, but it makes me think this was a missed opportunity: Wouldn't it have been nice if Russ Feingold (or some other Democrat) had led this charge by calling for Rumsfeld's censure or impeachment?

Feingold's call for censure of the president was followed by derision from the media and an embarrassed silence from most of his Democratic colleagues. I suppose he also would have been sneered at for going after Rumsfeld -- but what would have been the reaction if he'd been seconded by half a dozen retired generals?

I think he could have been at the forefront of a small groundswell. I think there's anti-Rumsfeld sentiment in the center and on the right as well as on the left. (As The New York Times notes, some of the generals calling for Rummy's head are war critics, others aren't.) By now, I think, Feingold might look like a guy who was both brave and right. It might have looked like leadership -- from a Democrat -- even to people who usually hold Democrats in contempt.

By the way, I don't agree with Billmon that Rummy won't go. A year ago I would have agreed, but the Bushies and the GOP have been doing a little more jettisoning than usual lately, out of sheer terror at the prospect of election losses in November. DeLay's gone, Andy Card's gone, Brownie left -- Rummy could go, too, if he's seen as a liability.

But don't be too happy if he does leave. Given the administration's habit of reserving all decision-making for a small, tight inner circle, while even top appointees drift along as figureheads, I can tell you who'll be the next SecDef if Rumsfeld goes: Dick Cheney. It won't matter whose name is actually on the door. (Sorry, Joe.) Oh, or maybe they'll just bump Condi sideways and promote from within to replace her at State, in their usual rearrange-the-deckchairs way. We'll be rid of Rumsfeld's "transformation" obsession, but it'll still be the Bush Pentagon, so don't expect, y'know, reason or good judgment or competence.

No comments: