Why Rumsfeld Should Resign

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - August 16, 2006

I am a supporter of President Bush, but I am not blind. I am a conservative, but I am not a sycophant. There are serious issues facing this administration, and I am not convinced the policy path charted by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is the correct one.

I understand that the passions surrounding the war in Iraq and the recent conflict in the Middle East run deep. There are those who are ardent supporters of the president and his strategy. I understand the fervor of those in opposition to this war. There is no need to remind me of the great costs in human life and resources this nation has expended in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I believe President Bush was correct in his aggressive posture and actions after 9/11. Our country was literally under attack, and it is the primary responsibility of our elected officials to protect its citizens to the best of their ability. Unless you are a professional conspiratorial theorist, one must accept the premise our government did everything humanly possible to protect our nation from harm. The operative word is human. The best-laid plans subjected to the human condition are slave to the greatest of variables. I do not accept the fringe advanced notion our own country was out to destroy us. I do accept the plausible notion our government did not succeed in job one when the planes buried themselves in our buildings and a Pennsylvania field. The World Trade Center attack of 1993 exemplifies this.

The world today has changed dramatically post-9/11. No nation or city is impervious to the murderous rampages of fanatical Islamic terrorists. Barcelona, Bali and London, to name a few, including the United States have felt the rapier of such brutality. However, I have yet to receive a clear explanation as to how our presence in Iraq has a direct correlation to the safety and security of the United States today.

What I do understand is the long-term objective of this administration. Sow the seeds of democracy in nations living in oppression and you will create an environment of free people pursuing peace and prosperity. Consequently, the ideals of democracy will take root; other nations will be inspired to reject totalitarianism and the new democracies will lead to regional and global stability. I understand the strategy and I support it.

However, there are two sides to every story.

If the one who promises salvation fails, the nearly saved will long for the days before the savior appeared. Unfortunately, we are presently in a situation where, if not righted immediately, the American lives lost will be in vain and the hope of democracy will be DOA.

Yes, Saddam Hussein has been removed from oppressive power. His sons are dead. Abu Al Zarqawi is dead. There have been two democratically held elections. Roads are under repair and fresh water is available. Electricity is powering an embryonic capitalism and schools are educating Iraqi boys and girls.

These are all admirable accomplishments, and the men and women who toiled to achieve those objectives are to be commended. Nevertheless, it all means nothing if Iraq is allowed to devolve into uncontrollable sectarian violence and civil war.

Recent congressional testimony delivered by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Peter Pace, and Gen. John P. Abizaid, commander of U.S. Central Command, painted a grim picture of the Iraq reality. It was disquieting to hear both men fail to refute a British communiqué describing Iraq as being in a “low intensity civil war” and sectarian partition. Abizaid said, “The sectarian violence is about as bad as I’ve seen it.”

These men know Iraq. I trust their assessment and believe it to be true.

If the United States is to honor the lives lost in executing this well-intended but failing policy, the president and his team cannot let Iraq fall into the hands of terrorists, warlords and mercenaries. A complete pullout is not an option. However, the repositioning of our objective with new direction, articulation and execution is a positive first step.

When charting a new course, sometimes you need a new captain. In order to right this listing ship, Rumsfeld must resign or be fired.

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