EDITORIAL: Megalomania isn't something that deserves praise
Numerous Washington officials have, nearly with tears in their eyes, heaped praise on Donald Rumsfeld during the past week as the baton was passed to his successor, Robert Gates. Rumsfeld was lauded for distinguished "public service" as U.S. defe...
Numerous Washington officials have, nearly with tears in their eyes, heaped praise on Donald Rumsfeld during the past week as the baton was passed to his successor, Robert Gates. Rumsfeld was lauded for distinguished "public service" as U.S. defense secretary and for his prior roles in Washington.
Pardon our asking, but is the king wearing any clothes?
Rumsfeld's Iraq strategy was a failure nearly from day one. Although he orchestrated quick military victories, there was insufficient planning for day two. In Iraq, that has contributed toward the deaths of more civilians than even Saddam Hussein could claim. True, the U.S. deposed a corrupt and homicidal dictator. But under his watch, we didn't leave the country better than we found it. Everyday life is total chaos, scarred by anarchy and indiscrimate killing.
His Afghanistan strategy, we're learning, wasn't much better. After a quick military coup, there was insufficient followup. Left with too few U.S. troops and reinvestment, the country gradually is slipping back to Taliban control.
Worse than anything, however, was his failure to protect U.S. troops. Rumsfeld exhibited callous disregard when he deflected criticism about poor equipment. He has failed to strongly lobby for the resources and bodies needed to protect those who have volunteered their lives to serve this country.
Most irritating, perhaps, are the constant references to his "service" to America. This implies he constantly gave of himself and received nothing in return. In truth, he was a well-paid employee of the Bush administration whose goal was to find a space for himself in the history books.
Combine visions of grandeur with a hair trigger and poor planning. That's Rumsfeld's legacy. If he hadn't resigned, he would have been fired.