Lieberman Calls on Rumsfeld to Resign
Democrat/Connecticut for Lieberman/Republican backed Joe Lieberman called for Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation on yesterday’s “Face the Nation.”
Sen. Joe Lieberman, attacked by fellow Democrats as being too close to the White House on the Iraq War, on Sunday called on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign but said the United States cannot “walk away” from the Iraqis.
Lieberman, the one-time Democratic vice presidential candidate, is running as an independent in his bid for a fourth term since losing the Democratic nomination to newcomer Ned Lamont, who harnessed voters’ anger against the war in Iraq.
Lieberman, an early supporter of the Iraq war, said he had called for Rumsfeld to step down in 2003. “With all respect to Don Rumsfeld, who has done a grueling job for six years, we would benefit from new leadership to work with our military in Iraq,” he said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Lieberman said the Bush administration should have sent more troops into Iraq “to secure the country.” “We had a naive vision that the Iraqis were going to embrace us and then go on and live happily ever after,” he said. Lieberman said the administration must “put severe pressure on the Iraqis to contain sectarian violence.” “There is still hope in Iraq and as long as there is we cannot just pick up and walk away and leave them to the sure disaster that would follow and would compromise our security in the war on terrorism,” he said.
This strikes me as an odd strategy on Lieberman’s part. Whether this is his genuine view of the situation or merely a cynical ploy to triangulate, its effect will be to alienate Republicans while likely doing little to shore him up among Democrats predisposed to vote for party nominee Lamont.
UPDATE: Greg Djerejian notes that Lieberman has been all over the map on this one.
Way back in October of 2003, Lieberman said if he were the guy in the Oval Office he’d can Rummy (different than calling on Bush to do so, of course, which is more forceful, and not in keeping with the deferential war time mores we’re admonished to follow). Then, after the massive debacle of Abu Ghraib, some seven months after this interview, Lieberman sees it fit to pen an op-ed in the WSJ urging Rummy not be sacked–lest we “delight foreign and domestic opponents”. And now fast-forward to these heady times rife with challenges from the likes of Ned Lamont, and it’s OK again, I guess, to risk delighting our foreign foes with calls for Rummy to go. Rather on the lame side, I’m afraid.
Sadly, yes. Oddly remniscient of
Genghis Khan John Kerry’s “I voted for it before I voted against it.” This sort of thing has always irritated me about Lieberman and most other politicians who scrupulously cultivate an image of moderation.