Rumsfeld Out.

This is actually a pity:   Rumsfeld is easily the least-understood man in D.C., and is directly responsible for more beneficial Pentagon changes since the Goldwater-Nichols Act (which you can bet your bottom dollar the ignorant yap-dogs baying for Rumsfeld’s blood have never even heard of).

But it wasn’t the first time he’d offered his resignation — the nice thing about having no higher political aspirations is not only that you can turn sacred cows into hamburger, but that leaving the job is no personal disaster.

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  1. Rumsfeld was the Joe Gibbs of the DoD. Great guy. Smart guy. Gone too long, doesn’t know how things work in ‘the league’ anymore..

  2. I dunno. I get the whole “transformation” needs he’s been pushing, but on the other side of the fence, the reason we’ve maintained such a huge logistical tail is that it’s a hell of a lot more expensive to recreate all that logistical support once it’s missing than to train up a bunch of 11B’s. I’ve also wondered just how realistic the “force multipliers are everything” mentality is when more & more of our conflicts are likely to be places like Baghdad, Mogadishu, Pyongyang and other such places.

  3. Mike

     /  November 8, 2006

    RUmsfeld was one of those love/hate things. I didn’t like a lot of what he was doing when he started, but looking back they make sense and were worth it (for anyone who doesn’t know me, I am in the Army and have been for much of his tenure). I personally thought he was too Air Force Friendly, but really he was “who the hell can hit the target” friendly. Thanks to him, my branch has gotten smaller and drastically more lethal and accurate. Do I pine for the 3 Brigades of Field Artillery backing me up? Yes. Do I understand that one Battalion can now do the job so why bother with 3 brigades worth? Yes again. I was on active when Clinton was in office and to say we were in a vacuum when it came to direction and drive is a vast understatement. Rumsfeld, more than anyone, killed the last of the Cold War Fulda Gap mentality and got everyone moving (the right direction? I think so, but time will tell). Our training (which he has pushed hard) is outstanding compared to what I had prior to 2000. Rumsfeld also greatly expanded the CALL (Center for Army Lessons Learned) which is probably the most single brillant training aid and data collection/analysis system in the military. His forcing of all services to ditch the Soviet era thinking and to really relook all doctrine (which is a HUGE thing in the armed forces) is something that secures him a nitch in history. ANd let’s not forget the equipment he has pushed: smart munitions, armored vehicles, more mobile forces, restarted the Counter-Insurgency Program (you can say due to that one, but the old was nixed under a certain democrat and all that data lost, square one again), WARLOCK, DAGR, hell the list is extensive. In my branch alone, he has forced the FA to get with the program, ditch the “anti-horde” weapons and get the “we never miss by more than 10 feet” one shot one kill weapons (example is the GPS guided MLRS rocket, MLRS was an area support weapon only when I commanded a Platoon way back when, now they are using it to support building clearing in Bahgdad becuase you can literally shoot it into a window from 40 kms away). WHen I was a 1st LT, the US Army had a period of time when only 3 divisions were actually deployable (this is not talked about much but is a very true fact), now we got the whole combat force ready (give or take a month or two), never mind the National Guard and Reserve units that now have actual experience and the active duty forts that now have been forced to pony up real support (they don’t like it, but it is done).

    I don’t think he didn’t know how the league worked. I think he didn’t care and quite simply told everyone “my rules, you deal with or you get run down”. Annoying and hard to work with sometimes? Yes. Effective in making everyone play ball and freaken get busy with the real business of true Joint Operations? Oh HELL yeah.

    We have international businesses studying how the Army CALL works, how the Navy/Army/AF is running resupply efforts and every major military in the world is having nightmares because our military is so damn lethal (forget the bs on the media, we are freaken unbeatable right now).

    That’s a legacy and a half right there.

    And just so you know, I really don’t like Rumsfeld. I think his style is too damn abasive and he has rolled over lots of people who could have been very helpful. He has made tons of enemies. But damn, I can’t argue with success.

  4. Mike

     /  November 8, 2006

    I also have to ask something. Has anyone else noticed that on the BBC website the election results are in a much larger headline than normal?

    Gee its almost like they wanted the Republicans to lose or something.

    At least they didn’t try that direct mailing campaign like the Telegraph did in 2004.

  5. I think the BBC headlines format has to be considered in light of the confusion that results from British observations of the American political process. More likely the BBC was surprised that Republicans experienced a net loss, given that the chief executive is a Republican and will remain in office for another two years. The Westminster model doesn’t really allow for this possibility, since the PM and the Cabinet, together called “the Government”, are actually a committee within the House of Commons, and invariably are either members of the “majority” party in Parliament, or are leaders of coalitions formed after the election. Also, Commons is a continuous body with overlapping five-year terms, with three major parties and seven or eight other parties represented despite Britain’s own winner-take-all system (called first-past-the-post), and so a change in partisan majority is generally less likely to occur, given the fragmented character of minor opposition. When a change in leadership _does_ occur, the PM and Cabinet _must_ change, unless the losing party can forge a coalition with the minor opposition to secure enough support in Commons to retain the current “Government”. This is usually next to impossible, and when it does happen, it is typically not long before the “majority” in opposition moves for a “no-confidence” vote, ousting the sitting “Government”.

    The Congressional model doesn’t work that way and this stymies some in the British public. So when they see a change in majority partisanship in the Congress, it is understandable for the British to assume that a change in the Executive is not far off.

  6. Furthermore, one must keep in mind that the locus of Constitutional power in the United States rests in the Congress, not the President, and so when government is divided, presidential initiatives are far less likely to succeed. Consider the Reagan Administration with O’Neill’s House, or the Clinton Administration with Gingrich and Hastert’s House.

    It’s funny. I’m up here at Mountain View and the talk among students in the hallway is all speculation about what the return of divided government will mean. Many of the ones who are most concerned are those under 22 who were not politically aware the last time the Democratic Party was in the House or Senate Majority.

  7. Mike

     /  November 9, 2006

    That’s an interesting take. I hadn’t thought along those lines, but it has been a long time since the Dems weren’t the minority. I hope its interest in a good way and not starry eyed “now we will right the wrongs of the world” optimism like my uncle and aunt are currently having (I swear they are thinking they are going to convene war crimes trials on Rumsfeld and Bush, nothing like hearing a baby boomer talk to make your head hurt).

  8. Mike

     /  November 9, 2006

    While we are on this thread, is anyone thinking of anymore casualties from the cabinet? I am pretty sure Nancy and crew would love everyone’s head, but who do you think they might really go after now that head demon el numero uno is gone?

    Ideas anyone?

    PS: Jonathon, I picked up Soldier and the State the other day from Clothing and Sales and it is now in the “to read” pile.

  9. Mike

     /  November 9, 2006

    I have to add something to explain part of my above entry on Rummy. The single biggest thing he did that (in my opinion) sets him apart is his forcing the Joint Operations Concept. We had done it before, and everytime we used true joint ops we have not only won but won decisively. But we were still having lots of leftover turf fights and it was a true pain. An example of a non-joint op is Vietnam or more recently Grenada. We had AF doing AF things, Army doing Army things, Marines doing Marine things and Navy doing Navy things. Joint Ops (in theory) puts everyone under one boss in a area (Iraq is run by MNC-I, which is run by CENTCOM), so the Navy in the CENTCOM area answers to the CENTCOM boss, be it an Army General, Marine or AF. They cannot go back to the Fleet admiral or Washington and try to get certain orders countermanded or get permission to do something they were told not to do. This may sound like a common sense thing, but it isn’t. It was a huge step forward when we established this in the Nichols-GOldwater Act back in the 80’s (Victory on the Potomic covers this story, great book). And we are the only guys who do it which is one of the reasons our military is so dangerous. While Rumsfeld didn’t establish this, he has finished off the last of the holdouts and has updated the pentagon’s procedures to cover the areas missed in the act (re-organized the joint staff, rewrote doctrine, and pushed it training). My whole ILE course is centered around Joint Ops and our motto is “Think Purple” (purple is the cover color for Joint Manuals and Pubs). This isn’t as neato gee-whiz as being the guys who got the army to buy the ED 209 combat model or something but its doctrine and the way an organization thinks that makes or breaks that organization. Talking heads in the media have no clue about stuff like this, and it doesn’t make exciting news but this is the stuff that makes the military a kick-butt or butt-kicked organization. Aside from making our military a true team, the cross-leveling of experience and ideas is worth it alone. The current MOUT training we teach in the army is based off of Marine Doctrine which was written when several Marines interviewed Chetyen vets from the 95 war. The Navy strike doctrine is a mix of Marine Close Air theory, and Air Force techniques for use of smart munitions (the Navy dropped something like 2 or 3% of its total bombload in Gulf War I as smart munitions and took the heaviest losses, in OIF over 97% of all Navy munitions used were Precision Weapons). Navy EOD teams have updated equipment based off of US Army EOD Lessons Learned.

    True cooperation among the branches. Thanks Rumsfeld.

  10. In related news I see that Rumsfeld is delivering the Landon lecture.
    I have a class to teach right now, but I should be back soon…

  11. OK I’m back. Casualties from the Cabinet…. The Congress is likely going to take aim on Margaret Spellings and Henry Paulson. Spellings will be targeted for inquiry because of NCLB implementation, while Paulson will be scrutinized over Health Savings Account management. I also think we’ll be hearing a little more criticism of Samuel Bodman at Energy, most likely over power grid issues; that or foot-dragging on carbon-sequestration strategies. The usual suspects–Chertoff, Rice, and Gonzales–are staying put, as is Jackson at HUD. The change in leadership in the Congress may put the pressure on the Administration, but don’t look for them to pitch their lance at the President’s heart just yet. That would make them look too thirsty for revenge and will hurt their chances in 2008 when Bush’s tenure is up.

  12. I’d be real surprised if Bodman went: nuke implementation has had a lot of obstacles cleared out. Spellings is, well, let’s just say I can’t think of anybody who’ll mourn her politically.

  13. Oh I don’t think Bodman will leave; I just think the Congress is going to pick over the department a little more than he’s used to.

  14. Mike

     /  November 9, 2006

    I don’t know. I know that all Democrats are not stupid, but I really have to wonder if they won’t try something way out there to prove themselves to the voters. All of Europe and most major media sources say this defeat was due to Iraq, when most educated folks would say it was several things combined with Iraq not being the biggie out of them. Some of the democratic leadership IS stupid or is so ungrounded in the reality of moment that I have suspisions that they may try to go after someone really high up or do something really boneheaded. Nancy P. is going to be the Speaker, how smart is that for the party?

  15. We’ll have to see whether there is enough support among the incoming Dems for Pelosi. It’s not likely they’ll pick someone else, but it’s not set in stone that the minority floor leader will be Speaker when the minority becomes the majority, They’ll still need to choose in caucus, after all.

  16. Mike

     /  November 11, 2006

    Oh I figure she will be the Speaker. I am just wondering if she has the brains to not go overboard and do something fantastically stupid like try to impeach the President, or hand Rumsfeld over to Germany for trial, or pull a complete “cut and run” from Iraq. I see her as cunning, like a animal, not smart as is tool user. She is the poster child for the left fringe Democrats for a reason and I just can’t help but wonder if she can stop herself from shooting her party in the foot.

  17. Mike

     /  November 11, 2006

    I of course am all for her doing something stupid that shows her true colors and just bones the democrats


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