Adam Felber at Fanatical Apathy attributes nefarious motivations to recent Republican calls for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Donald Rumfeld's getting a lot of criticism from powerful Republicans, as you might have heard. From John McCain, yes, but also Trent Lott. And Susan Collins. And Chuck Hagel. And Norm Coleman. Many of them are calling for his resignation.

Wow! What we can glean from this is that after 4 years of stellar, circumspect, admirable service to his country and deft prosecution of the war in Iraq, Rumsfeld has suddenly made a ton of unpardonably bad choices in the past five weeks. I mean, how else could you possibly explain all of these prominent and patriotic Republicans not speaking out beforehand?

There was the election of course. But who could ever believe that powerful public servants who've vowed to act in the best interest of our country would voluntarily remain silent while they watched the Secretary of Defense inadvisably put American lives on the line? Who could believe that? That would imply that they were willing to see our soldiers die in an ill-managed war rather than risk losing the White House. That would be almost treasonous. It's inconceivable!

He fails to realize that perhaps it wasn't anything about Rumsfeld that has changed, but maybe the circumstances in Iraq are different than they were two years ago. Perhaps it appeared to these senators that Rumsfeld was doing a great job winning the war, but that he hasn't been as successful "securing the peace" (as the new buzz-phrase goes). Maybe they got tired of waiting for improved performance?

Then again, perhaps these senators are from states that are poised to lose military bases in the 2005 round of BRAC; no final decisions have been made/released yet, of course, but the DoD has wide latitude in recommending closures and I'm sure the senators know who is on the chopping block. Additionally, many of the changes Rumsfeld has introduced over the past four years have had unpleasant side-effects on certain states, and maybe these senators are looking for payback. There are a whole host of potential political reasons for the newfound disapproval of the Secretary, and many of them don't relate to Iraq at all (as if that's the only thing Defense is doing!).

Furthermore, it's pretty standard for secretaries to resign after elections are over. DCI George Tenet's recent departure right before an election was very unusual, and it left a vacancy that was hard to fill. Few people are eager to accept an appointment to such a difficult job that they may lose within a month because their boss gets voted out, and when the bureacracy knows that it can be difficult to manage.

But anyway, even if Mr. Felber's worst suspicions are true, they definitely don't amount to "treason", which requires an actual intent to aid our enemies and harm our country. That accusation is best reserved for people who actually want our enemies to win.

(As a side note, remember my motto: Apathy is the key to happiness.)



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