Saturday, August 05, 2006

Fareed Zakaria & Hillary Clinton on Donald Rumsfeld

Let it be noted that both Zakaria and Clinton supported the 2003 Iraq war (as I did). They wanted this effort to succeed, and they still do. This gives their assessments of the Bush administration's record in Iraq, for which Rumsfeld bears a great deal of responsibility, added weight and credibility (if the validity of these assessments weren't obvious already).

--Jeff Weintraub
Fareed Zakaria (From an interview - July 30, 2006):
[If I were running against conservatives,] I would make up a campaign commercial almost entirely of Donald Rumsfeld’s press conferences, because the man is looking — I mean, it’s not just that he seems like a bad Secretary of [Defense]. He seems literally in a parallel universe and slightly deranged. If you listen to what he said last week about Iraq, he's living in a different world, not a different country.
Hillary Clinton (Senate hearing - August 3, 2006)
Mr. Secretary, we're glad you're here. In your opening statement, you referenced the common sense of Americans. Well, I think it's fair to say that that collective common sense overwhelmingly does not either understand or approve of the way you and the Administration are handling Iraq and Afghanistan. Under your leadership there have been numerous errors in judgment that have led us to where we are in Iraq and Afghanistan. [....]

You did not go into Iraq with enough troops to establish law and order. You disbanded the entire Iraqi army, now we're trying to recreate it. You did not do enough planning for what is called Phase IV and rejected all the planning that had been done previously to maintain stability after the regime was overthrown. You underestimated the nature and strength of the insurgency, the sectarian violence, and the spread of Iranian influence. [....] Obviously, I could go on and on.

A recent book, aptly titled Fiasco, describes in some detail the decision-making apparatus that has lead us to this situation. So Mr. Secretary, when our constituents ask for evidence that your policy in Iraq and Afghanistan will be successful, you don't leave us with much to talk about. Yes, we hear a lot of happy talk and rosy scenarios, but because of the Administration's strategic blunders, and frankly the record of incompetence in executing, you are presiding over a failed policy. Given your track record, Secretary Rumsfeld, why should we believe your assurances now?
Hillary Clinton (August 3, 2006):
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday called on Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to resign, hours after excoriating him at a public hearing over what she called "failed policy" in Iraq.

"I just don't understand why we can't get new leadership that would give us a fighting chance to turn the situation around before it's too late," the New York Democrat and potential 2008 presidential contender said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I think the president should choose to accept Secretary Rumsfeld's resignation."

"The secretary has lost credibility with the Congress and with the people," she said. "It's time for him to step down and be replaced by someone who can develop an effective strategy and communicate it effectively to the American people and to the world."