Monday, April 17, 2006

Rumsfeld Should Be "Called to Account"

The Republican conservatives, those who insist on the free market and a limited government with a strong defense orientation, need to hold Donald Rumsfeld accountable for the giant foul-up of the Iraq war.

A free market assumes that there is effective competition for goods and services - "deliverables". When the committed deliverables are not delivered, the competitor is penalized by being excluded from the market. Donald Rumsfeld, as the architect of the failed Iraq war, should pay this price. By keeping him on, President Bush is continuing to communicate the message that none of his staff will be held to account if they do a bad job.

In war, victory is the only acceptable outcome. The Republican's aggressive use of the military as a foreign policy tool is effective only if the use results in the desired effects. When the military does not achieve the desired objective its credibility as a tool is diminished. At this point it is safe to say that the U.S. military has not come close to pacifying Iraq or establishing a climate where democracy can take root. Rather, the terrorists have proven that they can strike at will when they are supported by a large segment of the population and they don't play by the rules of conventional warfare. "Victory" will not be achieved in Iraq, and Donald Rumsfeld must be held accountable for a plan that did not come close to achieving its objectives and, in the process, has diminished the value of the military as a foreign policy tool.

This administration will earn a historical footnote as one of the least effective and accountable governments in U.S. history. No vetoes despite out-of-control spending. Key staff members lying or stealing. Gangsters like Tom DeLay accomodated. No progress on major legislative matters including entitlements, tax law, and energy independence. A costly war justified by doctored intelligence and conducted by Rumsfeld in a manner that ensured failure. Assaults on personal freedom justified by a religious code - which is the accusation made by this administration against regimes like the Taliban, only on the other foot.

Americans need to show the aggressive "religous right" Republicans the door in November. Both houses of congress need to move to the Democrat side, if for no other reason as to hold the Republican Party accountable for taking the country nowhere during the last six years. But first, President Bush should at least fire Donald Rumsfeld for creating the most visible and costly failure of his presidency. Does this Texas cowboy have any backbone at all?

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