Memo To: Don Rumsfeld
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Yes, you should
The fact is, Don, that you have not been a very good Defense Secretary, or we would not be in the mess we are in now. But of course you should not resign because American troops were caught on their own photographs and videotapes abusing Iraqi "detainees." You should resign because President Bush can only apologize to the whole world for the unnecessary war we are now stuck in by getting rid of the team that guided him into it. You were a key part of that team. Unless Vice President Cheney also resigns, replaced by someone who would not be seen as a warhawk, your resignation would be insufficient. I don't think President Bush could get a second term unless the national electorate sees he will address a second term with a different team of advisors.
I've known you for almost 40 years, since we met in 1966 when you were a Republican member of Congress from Illinois. You were one of my first clients when I founded Polyconomics in 1978. And I actively promoted you as Ronald Reagan's running mate in 1980. [You and your PR guy at GD Searle & Co snuck me into the Detroit convention hall, pretending I was on your staff.] I say all this in this public memo so readers will understand how painful it is for me to tell you publicly that you must resign for the good of the country and the good of the world. If you stay, more American men and women will shed their blood because of the heightened animosity of the Islamic world to America. Your resignation and departure would tell the world unequivocally that our government and our President understands that we erred in our foreign policy that took us to war over the nearly unanimous opposition of the rest of the world.
Most American men who have lived through the several wars of the last 65 years know that our troops, when infuriated by the battlefield/jungle deaths of their colleagues, will lash out and kill indiscriminately. This is the nature of warfare going back to the caveman. During set-piece wars, with one army in grey and one army in blue, contesting for a plot of land, it is clear to all sides that battlefield deaths are what it is all about. In Iraq, this situation does not exist. The people of Iraq that Cheney believed would welcome our troops with flowers and kisses had suffered enormously at the hands of a US policy focused entirely on getting rid of Saddam Hussein. You have been celebrated as DoD chief because so few American troops have died in the 14 months since invasion. But if we can only achieve the stated objectives by bombing to bits entire Iraqi neighborhoods on the chance that we wipe out some insurgent, there is no chance we can achieve our objectives of a democratic Iraq that will be a pacific force in the Middle East.
Bottom Line, Don: Spare the President having to ask for your resignation. Fall on your sword.