How has Rummy screwed up? Let me count the ways: could one of them be the fact that the prisoner abuse scandal first became known in January, 2004, FOUR MONTHS AGO and he never breathed a word of it to anyone outside his clubby Pentagon circle (as far as we know)? Could it be for the fact that–Senator Jay Rockefeller announced on yesterday’s Charlie Rose Show–Rummy briefed the Senate Armed Services Committee on the very same day that 60 Minutes II was to broadcast the Abu Ghraib segment. Rummy knew about the segment yet said nothing to a committee of U.S. senators most responsible for maintaining his relationship with the Senate. Could it be for the fact that he never told his boss, George Bush about the scandal and left him to find out about it by watching 60 Minutes?
Rummy’s arrogance in this case has been breathtaking. It’s one thing to give your usual smirky, smart-alecky, know-it-all comments concerning those you hate like Al Qaeda, Baathists, Old Europeans or even Democrats. But to do virtually the same thing to your own boss, man that takes balls! How about the contempt he showed the Senate itself by leaving the Armed Services committee members totally in the dark?
Bush is famous for his absolute loyalty to his senior staff. Look, he’s never fired a single one of them during his entire presidency. But he’s either going to have to get over his qualms and fire Rummy or the scandal is liable to take him with it. Or at the very least, Bush will be so deeply tarnished that he will become vulnerable to Kerry in October.
I’m not one who relished giving advice to George Bush. But Rumsfeld’s got to go and go now. By the way, I’m waiting for some really strong, powerful, emotional comments from Kerry on this and he seems to be maintaining his usual studious silence about contentious issues of the day. He made a mildly negative comment today covered by the New York Times in Kerry Urges Bush to Voice U.S. Regret on Iraq Abuse (“The president of the United States needs to offer the world its explanation, and needs to take appropriate responsibility. And if that includes apologizing for the behavior of those soldiers and what happened, then we ought to do that.”) How about some leadership, John? You said “bring it on” earlier in the primary season. How about: “Take it to him?” That would be welcome indeed.
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