Sunday, December 05, 2004

The Exodus in Washington

The blogosphere has been buzzing for days about the mass exodus of Bush staffers -- 8 confirmed, and 1, Treasury Secretary Snow, being kept dangling for a bit longer, to confirm the White House finding that torture is permissible. Josh Marshall over at Talking Points Memo mentions what I consider the most salient point: that the one member of Bush's cabinet who is hands down, miles ahead of the others, unquestionably, incompetent -- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld -- is the one member of Bush's cabinent whose job is guaranteed, rock solid, no worries, he's in for the duration. Bush specifically asked Rumsfeld to stay, "because the nation is at war and he is the best man for the job." Remember, this is the defense secretary who set the conditions for Abu Ghraib, who insisted the invasion of Iraq could be done on the cheap, who said that postinvasion looting was good because it meant that free people were free to commit crimes, who admitted that he had failed to predict the insurgency in Iraq. This is the defense secretary who made so many mistakes in Bush's first term that did serious harm to U.S. troops in Iraq that many of those troops wrote letters to the White House telling Bush to fire him.

And that is the reason why Bush made such a point of keeping Rumsfeld on. It's precisely because of all those blunders. Letting Rumsfeld leave now would be tantamount to acknowledging that the Bush administration had made mistakes in Iraq.

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