Replace Rumsfeld


Lexington Herald-Leader

Since President Bush has finally shown a willingness to replace top aides, he should put someone else in charge of the Iraq war.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld should be held accountable for the thousands of mistakes that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says have been made in Iraq.

In recent weeks, two former generals who served in the Bush administration have even called for Rumsfelds resignation or firing. That follows similar comments from key GOP members of Congress and conservative thinkers who have long supported the administration.

The president replaced his chief of staff, in part to smooth his troubled relations with the Republican Congress.

But it is the misguided war-without-end that undermines him most with the American people, according to numerous polls.

No one can conduct a mistake-free war. But this administrations biggest mistake was to put ideological zeal over practicality, refusing to heed the advice of experienced military and diplomatic strategists.

Rumsfeld, along with Vice President Dick Cheney and other highly placed Washington bureaucrats and pundits, had long-held theories about implanting democracy in the Middle East and creating a smaller, more high-tech military.

Time may show those admirable goals to have been naively idealistic. Whats already obvious is the failure by Rumsfeld and the rest to prepare for, adjust to and equip for the insurgency in which our troops are now mired.

Rumsfeld and other neoconservative theorists were so eager to experiment that they took advantage of the nations trauma over the 2001 terrorists attack by launching a war that distracted from efforts to track down the 9/11 mastermind.

Iraq was the trial balloon that now seems to be bursting into a civil war totally different from the administrations promise of a quick engagement paid for by Iraqi oil profits.

In the face of all these mistakes, Rumsfeld insists there was no way to know the problems ahead despite the mounting evidence to the contrary.

How can America trust him to make the changes needed to salvage our blunder for the sake of our soldiers, this nations status in the world and a dangerously unstable Iraq?

How can America even trust Bush?

It might help if he would put someone in charge who at least acknowledges the problems.

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