Monday, December 04, 2006

Why they fired Rumsfeld

Why did George Bush fire Donald Rumsfeld? Initially it seemed that it was a response to the Republican Party's loss of both the House and Senate in midterm elections; Bush was hardly going to accept that it was his fault, so he fired Rumsfeld instead. But a classified memo leaked to the New York Times suggests a rather different reason: Rumsfeld had changed his mind about Iraq, and was proposing a major change in strategy. This was questioning Bush's judgement about the need to "stay the course", which is apparently something you are Not Allowed To Do in the Bush Administration, so Rumsfeld had to go.

Not that I think Rumsfeld's options were particularly great; too many seem predicated on the ugly American habit of blaming those "ungrateful Iraqis" for America's policy failures. But at least he showed some awareness, even if only in private, that things were not working, and that avoiding having to admit that the President was wrong was not a good reason for continuing on the same way. But even that basic level of attention to reality seems anathema in the faith-based Presidency.