Trent Lott Calls for Rumsfeld Replacement

Lott: Replace defense chief (Sun Herald)

U.S. Sen. Trent Lott doesn’t believe Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld should resign immediately, but he does think Rumsfeld should be replaced sometime in the next year. “I’m not a fan of Secretary Rumsfeld,” Lott, R-Mississippi, told the Biloxi Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday morning. “I don’t think he listens enough to his uniformed officers.”

Rumsfeld has been criticized since a soldier asked him last week why the combat vehicles used in the war in Iraq don’t have the proper armor. Both Rumsfeld and President Bush have said more vehicle armor will be shipped to Iraq.

When Trent Lott is calling for your job, you’ve sunk to a new low. As Steve Bainbridge notes, the list of prominent Republicans calling for Rummy’s ouster is growing long.

I still think Rumsfeld’s success on the transformation front, which has proven resilient to repeated efforts by Congress and presidents for decades, is enough to merit his staying on despite his occasionally irritating recalcitrance. He’s quickly getting to the point, though, where he’s losing the confidence of too many key people. I’m hoping he mends fences quickly.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Military Affairs
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. ken says:

    James, the only tranformation Rumsfeld has accomplished was to transform, along with Bush, a proud and successful military into one one that is incapable of controlling a conquered country. I see no reason to call that a success.

  2. nash says:

    Because Kosovo and Somalia were such stellar democracy building projects, hmmm?

    The Left, aided by their allies in the media who are all too eager to misquote or mischaracterize exchanges between Rumsfeld and the troops, and now the Stupid wing of the Republican party are calling for Rumsfeld’s resignation.

    Seems to me that the left couldn’t defeat Bush in the last election so now they are going after Rumsfeld as their next best choice and idiots in the Republican party are now helping them out.

    Instead of a straight-talking sec. of defense, the next one will be a mealy-mouth bureaucrat with no ideas, no vision, and no spine to rock the boat.

  3. anjin-san says:

    Wonder how McGhee will spin this… Are Lott & Sen. Collins and Hagel & McCain (both highly decorated combat vets) some sort of far left wackos?

    I am betting that Rumsfeld’s limo has the very best armor money can buy…

  4. Bithead says:

    Actualy, NRO adresses these points rather well:

    The agenda of most of Rumsfeld’s critics is clear: to wound the administration and discredit the war effort by taking the scalp of one of its architects. Some of those coming at Rumsfeld from the right have a more subtle concern. They can’t bear to admit that Iraq has been more difficult than they ever dared imagine, because of the irreducible reality of political and social conditions on the ground. Remaking societies by military means can be harder, bloodier work than some neoconservatives care to acknowledge. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth it, or that our project still won’t succeed in Iraq. We suspect that the January elections will produce a strong a civic statement of the sort we saw in Afghanistan, and thus help shift the political dynamic against the forces of violence.

  5. anjin-san says:

    Bithead,

    We knew Iraq was going to be a snakepit. It was Bush & Rumsfeld who promised a cakewalk. Why won’t you hold them accountable?

    My agenda is to have a SecDef who make sure our guys have the equipment they need when they go into combat. Not one who makes excuses about his failures.

    As for Afganistan, it is a country ruled by warlords, devoted to the heroin trade. It this your model of success???

  6. McGehee says:

    Anjin-san wants to make common cause with Trent “Too bad Strom Thurmond didn’t become President” Lott?

    Hagel lent the sole Republican name to the Democrats’ attempt to reinstate the draft.

    McCain’s name is on the “campaign finance reform” legislation that sought to whittle the First Amendment away.

    It was Bush & Rumsfeld who promised a cakewalk.

    In your fever dreams, Anjin. I beg your pardon, nobody promised you a rose garden.

  7. anjin-san says:

    Of course McGehee,

    It was in one of my feaver dreams that Bush mugged with real fighting men in a flight suit under the “mission accomplished” banner.

    And what was that we were told about Iraq’s oil revenues paying for the war?

    Of course its all moot. The back of the insurgency was broken last month, right?

  8. kappiy says:

    One other part of the general mismanagement of Defense under Rummy that only gets mentioned in the Business pages is the Boeing-Air Force procurment scandal. While most of the transgressions began under Clinton, there was absolutely no oversight on the part of Rummy.

    That scandal aside, evidence of the systematic use of torture in Defense Department detention facilities and the utter disregard for the Geneva Convention by Rummy is enough justification for sacking him immediately.

    If Kerick had to resign because of questions regarding his inability to oversee immigration enforcement due to his own transgressions, why shouldn’t Rummy be sacked due to his inability to insure that his militias follow the laws of war?

  9. Attila Girl says:

    Follow the laws of war? Against insurgents who break every one of them? What an obscene double standard.

  10. anjin-san says:

    Atilla Girl,

    By your logic it would have been fine for use to engage in the same atrocities as the nazis during WW2. After all they respected no rules or standards. I thought we were supposed to be the good guys…

    Another day in Bush’s America.

  11. anjin-san says:

    McGehee:

    When Reagan was president, I was proud to call myself a Republican. Then the Bush crowd took over. Sorry I just could not stomach it.

  12. LJD says:

    Now the left AGREES with Lott! That’s priceless!
    Please get some new material.

    The flight suit thing has worn out. Any one with a brain knows that a pilot (which Bush IS) wears a flight suit when in an aircraft. It may offend some warped sensibilities, but those are the ones who are looking for ANYTHING to criticize (with no preferable atlernatives of their own).

    Show me where any one ever said Iraq would be a cake-walk. I specifically remember, on several occasions, the President defining how long and difficult it would be. Perhaps the war would have a better chance of meeeting expectations if the left would stop undermining the efforts of our troops with their poisoned rhetoric.

    So now the liberal agenda is to have every bit of equipment available to our troops. So why the hell have they been voting AGAINST defense spending for all these years? Their only motivation is to damage the administration.

    I don’t believe the President does everything right. I also don’t belive there is any value in pissing and moaning about it. If you have a better way, say it- Or run for office. If you just want to complain, keep it to yourself. (Altough it is fun to watch some one contradict their stated principles with irrational words).

  13. Cernig says:

    Hi folks,

    Heres some opinions from a lefty. Lets leave aside for now the obvious incompetence surrounding the whole Iraq planning issue. I feel that the right-side critics of Rumsfield have spotted an obvious but little spoken off fact – Bush will not be President in 2009. They are unable to attack Bush directly without being disloyal in excess, so they are posturing against Rummie in order to bolster their positions as either candidates (McCain) or King-makers (Kristal).

    Who do you think should be Republican candidate in 2008?

    Regards, Cernig

  14. Bithead says:

    Promised a cakewalk?
    You apparently didn’t see the same press conferences and news releases I did.

    The President went out of his way… as did the DoD, including Rummy… to tell us it was going ot be a long hard slog.

    What the hell were YOU watching?

    DNC press releases?

  15. anjin-san says:

    Press confrences, Bush?

    LOL

  16. anjin-san says:

    From The Charlotte Observer (Knight Ridder)

    But some of those predictions came from Bush’s own White House. In a televised interview three days before the Bush speech, Cheney said, “I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators.”

    Cheney said his assessment was based in part on meetings with Iraqi exiles, many of whom predicted a quick collapse of Saddam’s regime after an invasion.

    The exiles, led by Ahmed Chalabi, and some U.S. officials proposed that the job be done by a far smaller force than what is now in Iraq. The force would have relied heavily on small bands of U.S. special operations forces linked with U.S. air power and opponents of the regime inside Iraq.

    Richard Perle, an influential former Pentagon official who is close to Rumsfeld, reportedly gave a briefing to Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs 10 days ago in which he predicted that the war would last no longer than three weeks. “And there is a good chance that it will be less than that,” he said.

    I could dig this stuff up all day 🙂