The Don is Dead?


The New York Times editorial page wants President Bush to fire Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and not just because of the Abu Ghraib scandal:

This is far from a case of a fine cabinet official undone by the actions of a few obscure bad apples in the military police. Donald Rumsfeld has morphed, over the last two years, from a man of supreme confidence to arrogance, then to almost willful blindness. With the approval of the president, he sent American troops into a place whose nature and dangers he had apparently never bothered to examine.

We now know that no one with any power in the Defense Department had a clue about what the administration was getting the coalition forces into. Mr. Rumsfeld?s blithe confidence that he could run his war on the cheap has also seriously harmed the Army and the National Guard.

Is the indictment fair? In many ways it is, since the Pentagon?s mismanagement of Iraq has made a difficult situation infinitely worse, threatening the success of a valid enterprise. But deleting Rummy seems a cop-out, inasmuch as Bush, Rice and Cheney were equally careless in their oversight of a post-war Iraqi transformation the president had deemed of historic importance (in contrast to Rummy, who always seemed far more interested in testing his weapons and reshaping the armed forces).