Rumsfeld needs to resign

Criticism of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is justified and significant.

At last weekend’s Washington Correspondents Association dinner, TV show host and entertainer Stephen Colbert delivered a brilliant performance that deftly criticized the Bush administration and, specifically, its handling of the war in Iraq. Colbert’s performance was great because of its direct and serious indictment of many top administration officials.

At one point, and perhaps most significantly, Colbert joked that President George W. Bush could prevent criticism of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld from U.S. generals by keeping them from retiring. That joke would have been funny if it didn’t ring so close to the truth and if one didn’t think of its larger meaning.

More and more, retired top-level military brass are coming forward to call for the resignation of Rumsfeld. So far a half-dozen retired U.S. generals have come out of the woodwork to blast Rumsfeld for his mismanagement of the war – citing arrogance, lack of leadership and critical tactical errors on the ground.

The unprecedented call for the secretary’s removal on the part of the retired U.S. generals is significant because it illustrates the profound failure of the war in Iraq and the lack of credibility Rumsfeld has even within the military community. It is important to remember that the criticism comes not from anti-war activists but from so-called “war experts.” Further, consider that these U.S. generals are speaking from the safety of retirement – imagine the hundreds of other military officers who cannot speak their minds for fear of censure.

Aside from the fact that Rumsfeld does not have the support of the military, he has even less with the American public. The war in Iraq will be and is the symbol of the Bush presidency. It will take more than replacing the press secretary to boost support for the war.

As the president tries to improve his dismal approval ratings and as the shake up at the White House continues, Donald Rumsfeld should be the next official to go.