Faced with unprecedented public criticism of Rumsfeld by Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, Maj. Gen. John Batiste, Maj. Gen. Charles H Swannack Jr., Maj. Gen. John Riggs, and Gen. Wesley Clark, Army, and Gen. Anthony Zinni and Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold, Marines, Mr. Bush has opted to simply ignore the whole thing. From the BBC:
To quote Stanley Baldwin, “Power without responsibility—the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages.”
In the past month, seven retired generals have called for Mr Rumsfeld to quit over the Iraq war, but the White House said it was happy with his work. Mr Rumsfeld has also dismissed suggestions that he should resign.
Asked about Mr Rumsfeld at a news conference, Mr Bush said he had “strong confidence” in his defence secretary.
“I hear the voices, and I read the front page, and I know the speculation,” he said. “But I’m the decider and I decide what’s best. And what’s best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defence.”
Is anyone surprised? I had my hopes up there for a minute; but in end, Bush no more wants to fire Rumsfeld than a drunk wants to fire his bartender.
One of the critics, retired Marine Gen Anthony Zinni, told CNN Mr Rumsfeld should be held responsible for a series of mistakes. The first, he said, was “throwing away 10 years worth of… plans that had taken into account what we would face in an occupation of Iraq”.
In a radio interview, Maj Gen John Riggs, a former division commander, said Mr Rumsfeld fostered an atmosphere of “arrogance” among the Pentagon’s top civilian leadership. “They only need the military advice when it satisfies their agenda,” he told National Public Radio. “I think that’s a mistake, and that’s why I think he should resign.”