Give Donald Rumsfeld a lot of credit: Most other recent defense secretaries likely would have gotten the heave-ho or resigned after Abu Ghraib. Rummy instead told Congress, "I would resign in a minute if I thought that I couldn't be effective." And got this shout-out from the president: "You are doing a superb job….Our nation owes you a debt of gratitude."
However, the latest flaps–including the awful press conference in which he dismissed troops' equipment concerns and the autopen scandal–suggest that Rummy may be running out of string. Lest we forget, Rummy may well have been on the way out prior to 9/11 for angering military brass with smart calls for base closings and a new general strategy stressing a lighter and more mobile military–a call largely vindicated by the success of the invasion of Iraq. Having said that, his performance since the declared end to hostilities in Iraq has been notably less than stellar.
From the Christian Science Monitor:
"I have no confidence in Rumsfeld's leadership," Sen. Chuck Hagel (R) of Nebraska said Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation." "I think those in the Pentagon, specifically the civilian leadership, failed this country in addressing a post-Saddam Iraq." While Senator Hagel stopped short of calling for Rumsfeld to resign, he said he found it "astounding" that no one at the Pentagon has been held accountable for the poor planning.
Whole thing here.
It's almost unthinkable that anything would change before the elections in Iraq in late January, but it's also the case that Rummy is not exactly helping the cause of late.