Rumsfeld, a Man With a Plan
DANIEL SCHORR reporting:
Success, it is said, has a thousand fathers, while failure is oft an orphan.
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
NPR's senior news analyst, Daniel Schorr.
SCHORR: It is perhaps overly simple to attribute to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld alone paternity for policies that have left Iraq in the throes of communal violence and without a functioning government. But the current flap over Rumsfeld generated by several retired generals underlines what can happened when ideologues manage a war.
Former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, now safety ensconced in the World Bank, may reflect on how he marginalized former Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki as wildly off the mark after Shinseki told Congress based on his experience in Bosnia that Iraq might require several hundred thousand troops. Later, like three years later, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs Richard Myers says that Shinseki was inappropriate criticized.
Then there was Vice President Dick Cheney who predicted that the war would last weeks rather than months. Cheney was also the one who predicted that the invading forces would be greeted as liberators.
I recall these quotes because it's so unusual to have civilian control of the military end up with civilians out of control. Five years ago, when Rumsfeld took over at the Pentagon, he quickly move to assert greater civilian control over the top military officers, but The Wall Street Journal says today that now his grip is slipping as some uniformed officers increasingly chart their own course.
One retired colonel described Rumsfeld as increasingly a spent force. That being so, the question may not be whether the president would call for his resignation, but how long Rumsfeld would want to serve as his influence wanes.
This is Daniel Schorr.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.