Meta-Blog

SEARCH QandO

Email:
Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock
MichaelW

BLOGROLL QandO

 
 
Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
 
 
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News
Politics
Business
Science
Technology
Health
Entertainment
Sports
Opinion/Editorial

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict

Blogging

Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links

Regional

Regional News

Publications

News Publications

 
Look for big changes in Iraq says Ignatius
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, November 09, 2006

David Ignatius provides us with a peek into the Rumsfeld Defense Department which is, at least to me, very enlightening:
Senior military officers referred to it as "the 7,000-mile screwdriver.'' That was their way of describing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's penchant for micromanaging aspects of the Iraq War that interested him. And it's one reason why the military will be happy today that Rumsfeld is leaving — even happier, maybe, than Democrats, who have claimed an early scalp for their election victory.

To the end, even when Rumsfeld must have known that his time in the job was short, he wouldn't give up that option to meddle with his field commanders. When Marine Gen. James Jones, the retiring NATO commander, went to see Rumsfeld a few weeks ago to talk about becoming commander of Centcom, he asked whether Rumsfeld intended to continue his direct line of communication with the theater commander, Gen. George Casey, sometimes bypassing Centcom. When Rumsfeld wouldn't rule out such contacts, Jones began to doubt the Centcom job would work. And when Rumsfeld said he didn't foresee significant changes in Iraq strategy, Jones withdrew his name from consideration.
Yesterday I reported the claim that Rumsfeld was a micro-manager. Now we see it was prevalent enough of a problem to have warrented a name, a derisive one at that.

One of the things the military teaches its officers is to delegate. Part of your job is to train your junior officers to be whatever rank you are and to then give them the opportunity to do what is necessary to make that a reality. Mission type orders. You give them a mission and the means to accomplish the mission and then you let them decide how to accomplish the mission. Your job is to provide guidance and support where necessary. But for the most part you don't get in their way, and you certainly don't go around them and give orders to their subordinates. I can imagine, given he was retiring from commander of NATO, that Gen. Jones knew the problem existed and, when he confirmed it, perfectly understand why he decided he couldn't live with the arrangement.

Ignatius goes on and talks about the good and bad aspects of Donald Rumsfeld and what that meant in terms of how the war in Iraq was fought and how, additionally, it was probably a good thing he's leaving. Just what he reported above is reason enough in my book. That's no way to "run an Army".

Ignatius then drops a little surprise. It appears that the White House was contemplating running Rummy off earlier and that was shelved when we had the infamous "general's revolt" involving retired ex-generals hitting the op-ed pages denouncing him:
Oddly enough, it was the generals who helped keep Rumsfeld in his job. The White House had decided last spring that it was time to make a change at the Pentagon, and officials were steeling themselves to break the news to Rumsfeld when the "generals' revolt'' erupted on newspaper op-ed pages, with former officers lining up to denounce their ex-boss. The White House decided it couldn't appear to bow to pressure and retreated.
Timing is everything and I can't help but wonder if Republicans who read this today won't wonder if Tueday may have seen a little different outcome if Rumsfeld had "resigned" a few months prior rather than the day after.

Ignatius sees Gates as a form of capitulation by Bush:
Gates will bring something else to the table, and it may be a crucial factor in the months ahead. He came back into the Bush administration's spotlight because of his work as a member of the Iraq Study Group, headed by Bush 41 Secretary of State James A. Baker III and former Rep. Lee Hamilton. Gates embodies the group's effort to find a bipartisan policy for Iraq. In that sense, he will go to the Pentagon with an invisible mission statement that can be summed up in two words: "Exit Strategy.'' He won't want to leave Iraq quickly or dangerously, but unlike Rumsfeld, he won't fight the problem.
So the question then, if we accept the premise that this means Bush is trying to find a way out of Iraq, how will this be done? Further, again given the premise, will he try to avoid this in a way in which Democrats can take credit? I think at this time the answers are "I don't know" and "yes." We'll see how this all shakes out, but look, as Ignatius says, for some real changes in Iraq.
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
"The White House decided it couldn’t appear to bow to pressure"

That is pathetic leadership. PATHETIC. You do what you need to do, when you believe you need to do it, no matter what anyone may be clamoring for in the background. Next time around, if someone is trying to put pressure on for a course of action and you don’t believe it to be correct, you say so and move on. That’s how you demonstrate clearly that you don’t ’bow to pressure’ but instead make your own informed decisions. Loyalty is important, but not as important as good decision making. Is it ’08 yet?

 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
I could not have said it better.
 
Written By: cindyb
URL: http://
I could not have said it better.
True.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
David Ignatius? Yawn.
 
Written By: allen
URL: http://
I could not have said it better.
True.
Holy sh!t McQ!

Are you trying to make me laugh up a lung?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
This will forever be known as the thread that caused the universe to explode and be instantly replaced with something even more inexplicable than what just happened.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Looks like more are going to follow Rummy out the door...

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,228386,00.html
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://inactivist.org
This will forever be known as the thread that caused the universe to explode and be instantly replaced with something even more inexplicable than what just happened.
Some say this has already happened before.
 
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
Worrying about who takes credit for ending the war in Iraq is inappropriate in terms of designing the policy. People will argue about that; the Democrats will say their electoral victory lead to the change, the Administration will note (I’m crystal ball gazing) that the Baker commission had already finished their work by the time the election took place (I’m assuming their recommendations will guide actions). For what it’s worth, I don’t think the election really mattered to the Iraq policy, they were going to find a way out by 2008 in any event. I’m convinced that, absent something dramatic that changes the situation, Bush did not want to burden the next President with Iraq in flux.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
So, the Crusader is now back on, right?
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
So, the Crusader is now back on, right?
Heh ... I doubt that. And the Commanche will most likely stay gone too (although if any program got revived it is the most likely).
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog


I could not have said it better.

True.

Holy sh!t McQ!

Are you trying to make me laugh up a lung?
I just did. Damn you Tom Perkins. Damn you. Where should I send the dry cleaning bill????
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Holy sh!t McQ!

Are you trying to make me laugh up a lung?
You know what they say, Tom ... "brevity is the soul of wit".
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Timing is everything and I can’t help but wonder if Republicans who read this today won’t wonder if Tueday may have seen a little different outcome if Rumsfeld had "resigned" a few months prior rather than the day after.
Doubtful.

For one thing, we have no evidence that the democrats would have been satisfied with the resignation.
Worrying about who takes credit for ending the war in Iraq is inappropriate in terms of designing the policy.
That doesn’t seem to stop democrats from assigning blame, does it?
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
For one thing, we have no evidence that the democrats would have been satisfied with the resignation.
It wasn’t the Democrats who stayed away from the polls on Tuesday.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Worrying about who takes credit for ending the war in Iraq is inappropriate in terms of designing the policy.


That doesn’t seem to stop democrats from assigning blame, does it?
Assigning blame? I prefer to analyze what went wrong and why — it is essential to learn from a fiasco like this (we didn’t learn from the Kosovo fiasco — Clinton was able to define it as a victory and thus really important lessons went unlearned). Face it, some of us were certain of this kind of outcome way back in 2003; history has proven those who warned that this would not go well were correct, those who thought this would reshape the Mideast in a positive light and bring a pro-American stable democracy to Iraq were clearly wrong. I think one does have to look at the past and figure out what went wrong and why.

But in terms of future policy this is too important for partisanship. The national interest is at stake. While some people seem to live in a world of seeing everything through a partisan lens (a rather limited perspective on reality, to be sure, but people left and right fall into that trap), the reality is that leaving Iraq has to be done right or it could be a disaster. Who gets political credit should not be part of that decision making process, getting the policy right should be the focus. The partisans can yelp at each other about credit or blame after the fact.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The national interest is at stake. While some people seem to live in a world of seeing everything through a partisan lens (a rather limited perspective on reality, to be sure, but people left and right fall into that trap), the reality is that leaving Iraq has to be done right or it could be a disaster.
The national interest is at stake when we are trying to find a way out of Iraq, but it wasn’t at effing stake when we are trying to win in Iraq.

Bleep you.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
The national interest is at stake when we are trying to find a way out of Iraq, but it wasn’t at effing stake when we are trying to win in Iraq.
The only victory possible in Iraq was the military victory of April 2003. Trying to somehow stop an insurgency, create a democracy, etc., was simply beyond our capacity. A country has to know the limits of its power, otherwise it ends up in deep trouble. Luckily, it looks like President Bush has learned his lesson and is altering course. If true, I give him credit for having the capacity to learn and change direction. He has responsibility, he ultimately can’t ignore reality. But people at home caught in rhetoric and bluster certainly can.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment:
   
 
Vicious Capitalism

Divider

Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

Divider

Divider