Feith No More
According to a short Financial Times report, Douglas Feith, the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, intends to step down:
Douglas Feith, the controversial undersecretary for policy responsible for postwar planning in Iraq, announced on Wednesday that he would leave his position this summer.
Commenting on Mr FeithÃ¢€™s planned resignation, Donald Rumsfeld, defence secretary, said on Wednesday, Ã¢€œRegretfully, he has decided to depart and he will be missed…I hope he will stay until an appropriate replacement is found.Ã¢€
Since Feith has often been the target of liberal criticism — Chris Suellentrop describes him as “ideology without competence” — the left will surely be rejoicing.
Update: This story further strengthens the argument of such foreign-policy observers as Greg Djerejian who’ve been saying all along that political momentum is on Condi Rice’s side vis-Ãƒ -vis Don Rumsfeld. As Rice celebrates her confirmation and surrounds herself with respected lieutenants like Robert Zoellick, Rumsfeld’s base continues to weaken.
Update II: The more I see stories of this kind, the more I’m convinced of the assertion that retaining Rumsfeld was a brilliant political move. If Rumsfeld had left, the Bush administration would have shown weakness on its top policy priority — at the most inopportune time, with the insurgency flaring and the Iraq election forthcoming. Simultaneously, Rice would have had to adjust to, and indeed contend with, a new bureaucratic player. But, because the Pentagon stayed intact at the highest level, the administration sent the message, believable or not, that Iraq will be okay. Rice, meanwhile, entered the game while Rumsfeld was still struggling to survive.