May 06, 2004
Not my fault!

Bush takes Rumsfeld off the hook

President Bush said today that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld "will stay in my Cabinet" despite Democratic calls for his departure over abusive treatment of Iraqi prisoners by American military guards.

"Secretary Rumsfeld has served our nation well," Bush told reporters in an appearance in the White House Rose Garden. Speaking slowly for emphasis, he added, "Secretary Rumsfeld has been the secretary during two wars, and he is an important part of my Cabinet."

Bush coupled his remarks with his first outright apology for the mistreatment suffered by Iraqis at the hands of Americans. He said he was "sorry for the humiliation suffered by the Iraqi prisoners and the humiliation suffered by their families."

Bush spoke as his administration sought to counter a worldwide wave of revulsion over photographs showing Iraqi prisoners, some of them hooded, naked and in sexually humiliating poses, in an American-run prison in the Baghdad area.

Some of the images show American captors mugging and gloating amid the misery of the Iraqis. One, published today on the front page of The Washington Post, showed a naked man on the ground, his neck on a leash, the other end of which was in the hand of a female American GI.

For the second straight day, Bush vowed that those responsible would be brought to justice.

Well, that's lovely, Mister President, but first I want to know: Who, exactly, is responsible? Oh, I know, a few bad apple GIs and all that, but who's responsible for them? Who's responsible for running Abu Ghraib? Who's in charge here?

While I'm asking questions, who's responsible for the fact that you're only finding out about this now? The Taguba Report came out in what, February? What have those responsible been doing about it since then?

If you are unwilling to hold anyone responsible for this, Mister President, then I believe we the people ought to hold you responsible for it. That said, I agree with Nancy Pelosi that we really should start with Donald Rumsfeld. He does serve at your pleasure, after all. Why is it that you're still pleased with his service?

For the rest of us, here's a petition calling for Rumsfeld's dismissal. Do feel free to express your own opinion on the subject.

UPDATE: Damn straight.

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said Thursday if he were president he would not be "the last to know what is going on in my command," a criticism of the Bush administration's handling of reports of abuse of prisoners held by U.S. forces in Iraq.

"These despicable actions have endangered the lives of our soldiers and, frankly, have made their mission harder to accomplish," Kerry said during a campaign appearance at a California high school. "We cannot succeed in Iraq by abandoning the values that define America."


"As president, I will not be the last to know what is going on in my command," Kerry said. "I will demand accountability for those who serve and I will take responsibility for their actions. And I will do everything that I can in my power to repair the damage that this has caused to America to our standing in the world and to the ideals for which we stand."

I say again: Damn straight!

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 06, 2004 to Iraq attack | TrackBack

Thank ya kindly sir.

Posted by: jesselee on May 6, 2004 6:22 PM

I much prefer Rummy continue to serve.

After all, W could, God forbid, actually appoint someone who might take this mess seriously.

Then too, he makes a splendid exemplar. Who would have thought it was possible to drive a wedge between the professional military and the Republican party?

Posted by: Charles M on May 6, 2004 7:39 PM

Charles M: In case you've not been paying attention, Rumsfeld has been doing that from Day One.

Indeed, that's why he was appointed -- to transform a Cold War DoD. That sort of thing doesn't make a professional military happy, but it's as necessary as the organization of the Cold War DoD was necessary in its time, and it's something that a weak SecDef like Perry or Cohen had no chance of pulling off.

Posted by: kevin whited on May 6, 2004 9:19 PM

Kevin, I have been paying attention and I actually approve of many things Rummy has done. The military, particularly the Army, is still waiting for the Russians to charge thru the Fulda Gap, an eventuality which probably isn't going to come to pass.

What I referred to was the way Rummy runs a war. I, and from what I sumise, the professional military, don't approve of doing things on the cheap, sending men to die without the proper equipment, refusing any and all advice which doesn't comport with the supposed facts.

Do we have enough armoured HMMVs? Do we have enough body armour? Why is most of the 1 MEF and 101 AB armour still in the states? Rummy, and people are dying as a result.

Rummy has gotten a lot of soldiers killed and done serious damange to our national military capabilities - that is to what I refer.

Posted by: Charles M on May 7, 2004 8:56 AM

I mention the 101 AB in my previous comment. This should be 1 Cav.

Mea culpa.

Posted by: Charles M on May 7, 2004 9:31 AM

It will be interesting to see what comes of this. If the only punishments meted out are to low-level personnel, then the whole "justice" thing will be a sham. If there is to be any meaningful damage control, one that the world in general (and the Arab world in particular) accepts as a legitimate response to this matter, some high-level heads will have to roll.

Posted by: Tim on May 7, 2004 10:57 AM