Tuesday, February 20, 2007

McCain Takes Swing At Rumsfeld

When public opinion sours, politicians seem to create a fall guy. And right now, Rumsfeld's the man for the job. He's gone and everyone is piling on, including the GOP. Via this article, we can see John McCain doing his share now that election time is cranking up.

BLUFFTON, S.C. (AP) -- Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Monday the war in Iraq has been mismanaged for years and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will be remembered as one of the worst in history.

"We are paying a very heavy price for the mismanagement _ that's the kindest word I can give you _ of Donald Rumsfeld, of this war," the Arizona senator told an overflow crowd of more than 800 at a retirement community near Hilton Head Island, S.C. "The price is very, very heavy and I regret it enormously."

McCain, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, complained that Rumsfeld never put enough troops on the ground to succeed in Iraq.

"I think that Donald Rumsfeld will go down in history as one of the worst secretaries of defense in history," McCain said to applause.

What I think about McCain or Rumsfeld is irrelevant at this point. To his credit, he has been harping on Rumsfeld for awhile now and this article from 2004 bears that out. This isn't something new. He said then and he still says it now, there aren't enough troops on the ground to complete the mission. What McCain must not do is stop there.

First, let me say that I have no qualms about why we went to war and I have stated many times why. So, let's not re-focus on that for a minute. Supporting the mission as it was first stated was never the issue, but I didn't have a blog back then, so I cannot point back to it. But, trust me when I tell you that when the decision was made, I felt apprehension for a variety of reasons.

What is at issue here is the way the war has been handled. And before any criticism is dealt out, one must understand that there were some serious miscalculations along the way. Not putting enough boots on the ground is just one.

The first and foremost of the mistakes is, not adequately estimating the resistance. It's tough to do, I know. There are no guarantees that any plan will succeed. But when these people had been oppressed for so long at the hands of a brutal dictator, it would seem that someone with an office, desk, and a pen could've taken this into account a little better. You cannot create a power vacuum, when there has been such a brutal power structure in place for years upon end. You just can't expect an oppressed people to react as we think they should and embrace freedom, the way we do.

The second thing is not in the theoretical realm, but in the practical. Because the powers that be thought it'd be somewhat of a cakewalk, we did not properly equip the troops. We had trouble early on and we are still having trouble now. Read this article from the WaPo (courtesy of Mary Ellen).

Thirdly, the Iraqi Army should have never been disbanded. The upper echelon of officers should have been tried and put in jail if they had ordered or committed atrocities; otherwise, they should have been canned immediately and replaced, by promoting from within the remaining ranks.

Fourthly, we have tried to fight a politically correct war. We cannot win the hearts and minds of anyone, when we do not exhibit more might and be less concerned about propaganda from all camps that do not like what we are doing, or trying to do. The truly helpless people won't feel safe, if we do not take the enemy out and make them feel safe. Case in point, letting al-Sadr leave that mosque he was holed up in and not arresting him or killing him. He only had a few hundred followers then, now it estimated that he has over 20,000. And where is he now? In Iran, safe and sound.

And fifth, there should have been more candor about the situation as it became known, and as long as it didn't affect what was going on at the moment. Everything was fine, wasn't getting the job done. Don't get me wrong here, I know it wasn't and still isn't as bad as the MSM makes it sound each and every night on the evening news, but it wasn't and isn't roses either.

Like I said, this is in no way an indictment on the reasons we went to war, which some in the political process are still arguing over. It doesn't question the need for the war, nor does it question the decision. It does question the planning, execution, and to some degree the timing.

What McCain is trying to do here is start the ball rolling in the GOP ranks he's trying to distance himself from the Bush camp by making Rumsfeld the whipping boy. Because to defend the way this has turned out up to this point in the process, would be a major mistake. In fact, it would be nothing short of political suicide. It's going to be a struggle, no matter how it gets rated. But to run on the laurels of those that haven't been able to get the job done before now, would be foolish at best.

And McCain knows it.

Will it succeed? Will the American electorate get behind John McCain?

Dems will say, no. Those that support McCain will say, yes. Those of us that haven't decided will just wait and see. One thing is for sure, just describing the problems will not get the job done. Harping about whether or not we should have gone to war won't do it, either. Solutions have to be offered and proposals will need to be made, before I make any decision on who I will support. And the way I see it, I have a year to decide.


Mary Ellen said...


I wish I had more time to get into this, but here's my quick response to this post.

John McCain is in big trouble already with his bid for President and he knows it. The support of the GOP just isn't there. The White House looks like they are pushing for Mitt Romney as their guy. McCain has already realized that without the religious right goofballs like Fawlwell he can't win. So what does he do? He starts singing their praises. Suddenly, he's been born again. But what is the result of this sudden conversion?


McCain still hasn't figured out that his words and promises of the past are on tape, in print and all over the internet. They will always come back to haunt him. Sure, the religious right is letting McCain follow them around like a little puppy, but it isn't to support him, it's to get their fat faces in the news. They are using him for the time being in order to bolster their own power. They know that if he is ever elected, he will turn on them again. He can't be trusted because he's a liar.

There is a guy in Arizona who is getting a petition to get McCain recalled. It would be a non-binding resolution, but McCain said if it is passed, he will step down (yeah..right). The point is, I don't even think McCain could take his own state in this election, let alone win the nomination for President.

Now, regarding Rumsfeld as the worst Secretary of Defense in our nations history...yes, I agree. He was appointed by the worst President in the history of our nation, the same President that McCain supports and is seen in the infamous picture giving the big wet kiss.

Another fatal mistake, spending time campaigning instead of showing up for the vote on the war resolution last weekend. Whether his vote was needed or not, to say it wasn't important gave the impression that our soldiers fighting in Iraq weren't worth debating for. Big mistake.

To say it was more important to campaign about teaching abstinence in school...gee, I wonder how he handled abstinence when he was that age, or when he was cheating on his first wife with his now second wife? Hypocrite.

I would say at this point, that I agree with Greg (yikes!), Mitt Romney will be the guy nominated for the GOP. Another guy who has "Mitt-flopped" on the abortion issue....another guy who has "seen the light!" and is "re-born".

Oh...and one last thing (sorry), I wonder why this administration didn't think it was such a bad idea to take millions upon millions...or was it billions of dollars in cash ($100 bills), load it onto a transport plane and ship it to a warzone? Hmmm....talk about incompetence! Stupidity! Corruption!

This war could have been better run by a classroom of 14 year olds. I don't think our Congress voted to give Bush the right to go to war and do everything he could do to fail. This is exactly what it looks like Bush did. No one could be this stupid, could they? Oh yeah...we're talking about Bush.

Our military desesrves better than this.

Maybe you should do a post on our out of control, incompetent Pentagon?

Mary Ellen said...

Ok...it wasn't a real quick response. You hit a nerve with me...and I type fast. ;-)

Mary Ellen said...

Just found this. This is what Senator McFlip-Flop said about Rumsfeld when he resigned.

"While Secretary Rumsfeld and I have had our differences, he deserves Americans' respect and gratitude for his many years of public service," McCain said last year when Rumsfeld stepped down.

So, throwing him under the bus now is the "respect and gratitude" he deserves? LOL! Really, someone should look into the possibility that McCain has multiple personalities.

Of course..for the record, I NEVER said that Rumsfeld deserved respect or gratitude. He deserves a good kick in the ass. From what I hear, Rummy still has an office at the Pentagon. Squatters rights? I'd like to know who is really calling the shots, Gates or is Rummy still in the game?

LASunsett said...


//McCain still hasn't figured out that his words and promises of the past are on tape, in print and all over the internet. They will always come back to haunt him.//

If this is your standard, then none of them qualify. They all lie, they all flip-flop. They do it, plain and simple. You cannot deny that.

Greg said...

Let me give Rummy some credit where he rarely gets it: Afghanistan. The success there was tremendous. That country is doing better now than at any time in its thousands of years of existence. Victory was swift and relatively painless.

And it set us up for defeat in Iraq, b/c it meant Rummy was gong to have his way there, and that he was going to try to do the same thing: have a minimal footprint in the country, and win by air strikes. His attitude after victory over the regime, when people were looting and there was obviously no security in Baghdad, was in hindsight incredibly stupid. Rummy deserves a lot of blame for the post-regime collapse.

As for how he will be remembered in history books, I think it will depend a lot on how Iraq looks in 20 years. But it will probably be a mixed bag, with him getting credit for success in Afghanistan; and with his "resignation" being painted as punishment for failure in Iraq. I don't know enough about Defense Secretaries to tell you how he ranks.

Anyway, McCain. He's just a politician running for Prez. Like most the 400 or so others vying for the job, he has to explain his support for a war that has become unpopular. Hillary has an interesting approach: now that there are no WMD, we don't need to be there (she should read the resolution she approved, though, since it lists about 25 different reasons for going to war).

Mary Ellen said...


McCain has taken flip-flopping to an all time level. In fact, he changes his opinions in mid conversation. The guy doesn't know what truth is!

Look at the case of Hillary Clinton. She voted, on the information that she was given, for Bush to go to war if it was necessary. She stands by that vote because she based it on what she thought was sound intelligence. She had no idea at the time that Bush was using cherry picked intel. She had no idea that Bush would be so low that he would bring our country into an unjustified war. She was wrong in her trust in him, she was not wrong for that vote. Other Senators didn't vote to give Bush the right to go. They were more attuned to Bush's lies.

Now, everyone is up in arms because she won't say she made a mistake. She won't "flip-flop" in order to appease anyone. She stand by her decision at the time because she trusted that our President wouldn't lie or use bad intel in order to support his goal to go to war...an unjustified war.

McCain, on the other hand, changes his story depending on what group he's talking to at the time. You don't see Hillary doing that. She even had the guts to tell them in South Carolina (?)this weekend that they need to take down the Confederate flag. That may not win her votes in Sout Carolina, but she said what she feels is right. She isn't the coward that McCain is. I have more respect for her, than anyone like McCain or Romney who are busy kissing the collective asses of the religious right in order to get their votes.

McCain...he was for Roe vs. Wade before he was against it. Saint McFlip-Flop. He doesn't have a snowballs chance in hell of winning the nomination.

LASunsett said...

//She voted, on the information that she was given, for Bush to go to war if it was necessary. She stands by that vote because she based it on what she thought was sound intelligence.//

I heard her husband say that Saddam had them, I heard her say it. I heard many others that wish to change their vote, say it. Now that the war is unpopular, they (to include her) want to polish it to the best of their ability to make it look like she was misled. Bill Clinton bombed Iraq for the same reason (at least that's the reason he gave).

Sorry ME, love you dearly, but I do not buy it.

They all lie they all flip-flop. They are politicians. They may hold firm to some things that are safe, but on the risky stuff, they always position themselves, so as to give themselves enough wiggle room, should things turn sour.

Greg said...

The Republican nomination sure will be interesting won't it? I guess I agree with M-E that McCain is going to have a hard time winning the nomination. His Iraq war stance is a problem. He's definitely not a social conservative. He's everything the party base doesn't like right now.

Romney has issues as well. It suddenly occurred to me, when I saw the CNN news piece on the evangelical heckler this weekend, that his religion is an issue. Seems evangelicals can't stand mormons. If evangelicals have as much power in the party as we are told, then it would appear Romney has no chance. Also, when Romney ran for Senate vs. Kennedy in '94, he said in a debate that he was pro-choice and for gay rights. His social conservatism isn't exactly iron-clad.

That leaves guys like Huckabee and Brownback. They are relative unknowns, but that's a good thing when you are running for President. Their conservative credentials can't be questioned. They are from the south, which the winner of the general election always needs to win....

Greg said...

Actually, Brownback's from Kansas, not the south

Mary Ellen said...

Sorry ME, love you dearly...

Awwww! Two points for LA today.

LASunsett said...


//Actually, Brownback's from Kansas, not the south//

Ever been to Kansas? It might as well be in the south.

Anyway, I agree that all three of the major GOP candidates are going to have some problems. But unless someone else more to the liking of the religious right puts their hat in the ring, they will have to choose someone.

There's that lesser of two (three) evils thing, again.

LASunsett said...


//Awwww! Two points for LA today.//

Two points? My foot was clearly behind the line. That was a three if I ever saw one. ;)

Mary Ellen said...


LOL! You're right, of course, I've never seen you cross the line before.

3 points it is, kiddo!

Mary Ellen said...

Here ya go. I'll paste the whole article so you don't have to look it up. A new Gallop poll.

NEW YORK A new Gallup survey confirms that Americans claim they will be willing to vote for a woman (read: Hillary Clinton) or a black (read: Barack Obama) for president next year. But they still raise questions about voting for a well-qualified Mormon (Mitt Romney) or 72-year-old (John McCain) or someone who has been divorced twice (Rudy Giuliani).

Surprisingly, nearly as many say they would vote for a homosexual (55%) as say they would vote for a 72-year-old (57%).

Most censored: atheists.

"While Americans overwhelmingly say they would vote for a black, woman, Catholic, or Hispanic president, they are less likely to say they would support a Mormon candidate, one who is 72 years old, or one who has been married three times," Gallup reported.

Asked if they'd be willing to vote for a "generally well-qualified" candidate with the followign characterisitics, here's how the tally went in the Feb. 9- 11 poll.

Black 94%
Jewish 92%
A woman 88%
Hispanic 87%
Mormon 72%
Married for third time 67%
72 years of age 57%
A homosexual 55%
An atheist 45%

Conservatives express more misgivings about candidates from all of the above categories -- except the age question, where they are more disapproving of voting for someone 72 or over.

A lot of interesting information there. I was surprised to see that the homosexual would have a better chance than an atheist. Also, the Republicans were more disapproving of the age factor than anything. How old was Reagan when he was elected?

LASunsett said...


//3 points it is, kiddo!//

Can I work the refs, or what? ;)

LASunsett said...


//A lot of interesting information there. I was surprised to see that the homosexual would have a better chance than an atheist. Also, the Republicans were more disapproving of the age factor than anything. How old was Reagan when he was elected?//

I think it all depends on the person. When we say a candidate that is this or that, we de-personalize that candidate. Where Reagan was able to leap that age hurdle was his charm and personality. In 1980 election, he gave the appearance of being young and vibrant, despite his age. That bullet he took, took a lot out of him in the later years.

Many may not realize it, but the man coded on the operating table and was revived. How long did his brain go without the necessary oxygen? We'll never know. But he rebounded enough to make his re-election look fairly easy. But after those things, age took over and the fact that he coded exacerbated the process.

Greg said...

Where Reagan was able to leap that age hurdle was his charm and personality.

Remember how he responded to the age question during the campaign, at one of the debates with Mondale? "I promise not to make my opponent's youth and inexperience an issue." People loved it. How you deal with the criticism over your age, homosexuality, religion, etc matters more than anything.

Mary Ellen said...

Greg and LA

But now the American people remember Reagan in those final years. His mother suffered dimentia during her later years (this was before anyone knew of Alzheimers disease), and in Reagans case it was reported by his own Cabinet members and the media who had coverage of him nodding off, becoming forgetful, not able to remember where he was in speeches and so on.

He was never tested for Alzheimers disease during his Presidency (which he should have been considering his "forgetfullness") and suddenly just a short month or so after he is retired, he is tested and found to have it.

I think this is something that many Americans may remember, how bad he looked and acted in the end. It's a bit scary to think this guy was running our country when he didn't seem to be funtioning on full capacity.

That said, I think even in that state, he did a better job than a healthy Bush is doing now.

LASunsett said...


//That said, I think even in that state, he did a better job than a healthy Bush is doing now.//

I am going to remember you said this. Let the record show..........


Mary Ellen said...


//That said, I think even in that state, he did a better job than a healthy Bush is doing now.//

I am going to remember you said this. Let the record show..........=====

Ummmm....that's not saying much, LA.
There's not much difference from a guy with dimentia and a guy who no brains. The dimentia guy is just a hair better than no brains! :-D

Mary Ellen said...

//and a guy who no brains.//

...and a guy who has no brains.

Geez....can't type today. :-(

LASunsett said...


//Geez....can't type today.//

Both our brains are suspect, when it comes to typing on certain days. Don't feel alone.