Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Rumsfeld the scapegoat

I'm not exactly Don Rumsfeld's biggest fan, but during the hearings for Robert Gates, Bush's nominee to replace him as Secretary of defense, it looks as if everybody is piling on him as the sole cause of everything that's gone wrong in Iraq. Not that Rummie is without blame, and he's apparently a prickly guy to work for or with, but the Iraq debacle has many fathers, the principal one being George W. Bush. But Gen. Sanchez, Paul Bremer, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and the whole Weekly Standard gang share paternity.

Yesterday I was inclined to agree with Ted Carpenter at the Cato Intitute that the Nov. 6 Rumsfeld memo leak to the NY Times was likely a "friendly" leak from inside the administration, designed to show that the administration was open to alternatives. Today I'm speculating that it came from Rumsfeld or some of his remaining allies, aware of the scapegoating and designed to distance Rumsfeld from the administration that decided he was a liability. It could be intended to show that he was aware of reality and capable of independent thinking -- and to distance himself from the administration in service of his future legacy, if any.

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