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Rumsfeld should resign.

Byline: The Register-Guard

It's tempting to assert that there's no problem with the Department of Defense that couldn't be solved by naming a new secretary, but nothing would be more naive than to think one person could ever fix everything that's wrong with such an entrenched and gargantuan bureaucracy.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld should resign for the opposite reason - because of how much damage one person can do to the credibility of such an important organization at a time when American troops are being killed and wounded in combat. Quite simply, Rumsfeld has lost the support and confidence of his most important employees, the generals and senior officers who lead U.S. troops in the field.

The list of Rumsfeld critics grows almost daily and includes retired generals with recent combat experience on the ground in Iraq:

Maj. Gen. Charles Swannack Jr., commander of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division; Army Maj. Gen. John Batiste, who led the First Infantry Division in Iraq; Army Maj. Gen. John Riggs; Army Lt. Gen. Paul Van Riper; Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold; and Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni, commander of the United States Central Command in the 1990s.

These aren't anti-war voices. They are career officers who are generally supportive of the decision to invade Iraq. But common to all their complaints has been an assertion that Rumsfeld and his closest aides often disregarded advice from military commanders, overriding their recommendations on strategy and troop levels.

President Bush on Friday flatly rejected calls for Rumsfeld's resignation, which isn't surprising. The president who is incapable of recalling a mistake is perfectly comfortable with a defense secretary who has no idea what Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice means when she says there have been numerous tactical errors made in Iraq.
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Title Annotation:Editorials; Defense secretary has lost confidence of officers
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Apr 16, 2006
Next Article:Circuit Court: Vogt.

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