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Biggest winner of all is Rumsfeld
The Australian ^ | April 11 2003

Posted on 04/10/2003 12:56:44 PM PDT by knighthawk

THIS incredible military victory vindicates not only George W. Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard.

Above all, it vindicates the military judgment and strategic vision of US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Make no mistake, Rumsfeld is immensely enhanced by this victory and he will use it ruthlessly to push his agenda of military reform and a more assertive US posture in the world.

All of the media analysts and many of the military analysts should hang their heads in shame. Everything they told us was wrong.

They said Rumsfeld had unduly interfered with the generals; he had abandoned the prudent Powell doctrine of assembling overwhelming force; he had insisted on blind ideological doggedness by sending in far too few troops.

Well, all that was so much eyewash. Rumsfeld's historic project – transforming the US military into a lighter, faster, more precise and much more mobile beast – has had a huge boost.

This project is called in the Pentagon "transformation". Already the different arms of the US military are trying to appropriate that tag for themselves.

The air force used to be the natural transformation service – almost by definition all about speed, precision and mobility.

But now the army and the Marines are making the argument for themselves. Look how fast we travelled, they say. Look at the distance we covered.

But Rumsfeld's victory goes far beyond military reform. It's little written, but Rumsfeld is very tight with Bush himself.

Rumsfeld talks the way Bush thinks – smart, blunt, sassy and direct. Yet Rumsfeld is also a prodigiously formidable bureaucratic insider, as Henry Kissinger makes clear in the third volume of his memoirs (Kissinger and Rumsfeld served together in the Ford administration).

In particular, Rumsfeld's position is now greatly strengthened vis-a-vis Secretary of State Colin Powell. Bush looks at Powell and sees the misery, humiliation and futility of the United Nations process. He looks at Rumsfeld and sees victory.

There are even rumours that Powell may not serve out the rest of Bush's first presidential term. That is not to say Powell's moderation and international credibility are not valued by Bush, who likes having divergent advisers among whom he adjudicates.

All the worst-case scenarios predicted by Rumsfeld's enemies – Hussein unleashing missiles on Israel, Iraq's oil fields going up in flames, chemical weapons killing US soldiers and Iraqi civilians in large numbers, a prolonged and indecisive war, massive resistance from the Iraqi people – did not come to pass.

Despite Rumsfeld's boost, the implications of the Iraq victory for the future of US foreign policy are not clear.

Certainly, the Bush administration is not planning a series of pre-emptive military strikes. But as some insiders put it, there will be a battle over whether Paul Wolfowitz or Karl Rove provides the chief interpretation of the war for the President.

Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld's deputy at Defence, is intellectually the most formidable neo-conservative in the Bush administration. The neo-cons could see Iraq not as a licence for endless military action but as an encouragement to put hostile, terrorist sponsoring, weapons proliferating regimes under pressure.

Rove is the President's chief political adviser and likely saw Iraq as a huge risk, one which the President took for good reasons and which, having worked out well, is likely to yield substantial political and policy rewards. But it should be followed by a deep breath and a period of consolidation.

Of course, administration attention will focus overwhelmingly on the need to reconstruct Iraq.

Whichever way it goes, Rumsfeld, who in his first year in office seemed ineffective, is now an immeasurably enhanced figure in Washington.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: iraq; iraqifreedom; pentagon; rumsfeld; secdef; warlist; winner

1 posted on 04/10/2003 12:56:45 PM PDT by knighthawk
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To: MizSterious; rebdov; Nix 2; green lantern; BeOSUser; Brad's Gramma; dreadme; Turk2; Squantos; ...
Ping
2 posted on 04/10/2003 12:57:07 PM PDT by knighthawk
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To: knighthawk
I'd love to see him run for prez against Bill's former in 2008
3 posted on 04/10/2003 12:57:56 PM PDT by bedolido
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4 posted on 04/10/2003 1:00:06 PM PDT by Support Free Republic (Your support keeps Free Republic going strong!)
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To: knighthawk

5 posted on 04/10/2003 1:00:46 PM PDT by Puppage (You may disagree with what I have to say, but I will defend to your death my right to say it)
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To: bedolido
Me too!
6 posted on 04/10/2003 1:00:53 PM PDT by knighthawk
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To: knighthawk
ah, the greasy pole.

i love this sort of insider analysis.

what if Powell does leave sometime before the '04 elections?

my guess is that either Wolfowitz or Rice would become State head, the latter if GWB decides to get serious about the Rice '08 movement. Regardless, if either of those happen, it is basically then State and Defense speaking from one "voice" and perspective (which would be contra what GWB was taught at HBS, of course, and contra his history, as the author points out).

I have posited this question here before, but I think it is worth repeating: As the youngest Secy of Defense ever (and as Kissinger makes clear in the referenced memoirs), Rummy wanted to be Prez.

Is he REALLY too old in '08? What would he be, 77 or 78? I guess that is a bit old at the front end, but he is a pretty shrap tack, much sharper than Dole in '96....
7 posted on 04/10/2003 1:02:36 PM PDT by ConservativeDude
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To: bedolido
If that were to happen, I can only imagine the stench from the pants of the French.
8 posted on 04/10/2003 1:02:53 PM PDT by TopQuark
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To: knighthawk
He's right about Powell. After a decent interval, Condi Rice goes to State.
9 posted on 04/10/2003 1:03:14 PM PDT by Publius
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To: knighthawk; bedolido
Me too - but I doubt he'll want to do a term or two as CinC at that point in his life.
10 posted on 04/10/2003 1:03:23 PM PDT by Rummyfan
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To: knighthawk
Go Rummy!
11 posted on 04/10/2003 1:03:39 PM PDT by 3AngelaD
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To: Rummyfan
"Me too - but I doubt he'll want to do a term or two as CinC at that point in his life."

Good point. still be nice if he did though.


12 posted on 04/10/2003 1:04:50 PM PDT by bedolido
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To: knighthawk
He'd be pretty old by 08 to last till 12 and 16. He's in early 70s now isn't he?
13 posted on 04/10/2003 1:04:56 PM PDT by RetiredArmy
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To: RetiredArmy
seems we all are thinking along the same lines....
14 posted on 04/10/2003 1:05:28 PM PDT by ConservativeDude
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To: knighthawk
Good...that's all I have to say...GOOD!!!!!
15 posted on 04/10/2003 1:06:14 PM PDT by Ga Rob (I'm not the cause of your problems.....you are!!)
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To: Publius
"After a decent interval"

Seems to me Powell has had that already. I think, personally, that he has done a fine job, though he is not as conservative as many of us here....
16 posted on 04/10/2003 1:06:43 PM PDT by ConservativeDude
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To: ConservativeDude
The key thing Powell did was set up the UN for irrelevence. That in itself was important because it sets the table, a year or two from now, for the US to pull out of the UN and encourage its final collapse.

The question is, did Powell set the UN up deliberately? Or did Bush set up Powell?

17 posted on 04/10/2003 1:10:20 PM PDT by Publius
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To: knighthawk; *war_list; W.O.T.
Rumsfeld is terrific!

OFFICIAL BUMP(TOPIC)LIST

18 posted on 04/10/2003 1:12:12 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (Where is Saddam? and where is Tom Daschle?)
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To: Publius
"The question is, did Powell set the UN up deliberately? Or did Bush set up Powell?"

Fascinating. I don't believe that Bush deals treacherously with his own, but I do believe that he is a master tactician and the more the D's and other socialists think that he's a fool, the better off we are. You are right. He did one or the other. The answer lies in whether Powell is a closet hawk, or Bush is a closet Machiavel.

I go with the former because I like Powell.
19 posted on 04/10/2003 1:13:33 PM PDT by ConservativeDude
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To: Publius
"Or did Bush set up Powell?"

Best part is Powell probably did not even see it coming.
20 posted on 04/10/2003 1:16:35 PM PDT by JSteff
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To: ConservativeDude
Neither.

Bush played Powell's hand b/c it was the right thing to do and stopped the Dems and Sec Council from complaining about US unilateralism.

If the UN went along, great. If they didn't, they would lose. It was a no-lose bet.

I would take those all the time. Bush does, and that's why he is the President.

21 posted on 04/10/2003 1:23:19 PM PDT by ScholarWarrior
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To: knighthawk
There are even rumours that Powell may not serve out the rest of Bush's first presidential term. That is not to say Powell's moderation and international credibility are not valued by Bush, who likes having divergent advisers among whom he adjudicates.

I don't mind having Powell at State with a moderating voice. And he has been a good soldier once a decision is made. He has been supportive of the war once the UN route was discarded. However, where I think Powell hurts us is his reliance on the old guard at Foggy Bottom, the Clintonites. Rumsfeld cleaned house at the Pentagon; Powell has left his intact, and they run around interfering with this war.

Powell did blab too much to Woodward.

22 posted on 04/10/2003 1:25:27 PM PDT by Defiant (The Blazing Saddles Defense: "Don't shoot, or the Iraqi gets it!")
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To: knighthawk
I think Powell will last through the campaign, but will leave soon after Bush's re-election. He will, I think, be given an open door to any diplomatic position he wants upon his departure, however, so he might end up as Ambassador to the U.K or Japan.

The question then falls as to what Condi Rice will be doing. If Bush selects her for VP candidate, great! If not, she would be a top choice to go to State, or even Homeland Security if Ridge wants out. I don't see her sitting as NSA for a second term.

Either way, Bush needs to make sure that once the Iraq War leaves the daily flood of news coverage that he hands his now considerable political capital to Rove. Rove has proven to be a great political mind and after winning big on the mid-terms and now winning big on the war, Bush's political bank book is bulging. He can't afford to get careless in his spending of it now, and Rove is clearly to one to hold the political purse-strings.

First thing domestically is to break the deadlock over the judges. I was upset at the Senate, still am to a point, over not being aggresive enough. Bush may now have enough political power to tighten the screws there without any vulnerable Republican Senators getting dirt on them. If Bush can win this battle, he might completely break the back of the centrist Democrats and cause the widening rift between the left and central branches of the party to become a giant gulf. If that happens, watch for Nader to make another run.

Anyway, enough rambling now, just nice to think on politics for a change.

23 posted on 04/10/2003 1:30:17 PM PDT by Anitius Severinus Boethius
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To: knighthawk
There are no "winners" yet. Our boys are still out there fighting and dying. This talk of winner and losers is I think very disrespectful at this time. We lost 4 today dammit.

And another thing....TELL THE WHITE HOUSE "NO" TO BARBARA BODINE!!!

24 posted on 04/10/2003 1:36:11 PM PDT by montag813
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To: knighthawk
The biggest winners are the Iraqi people.
25 posted on 04/10/2003 1:40:15 PM PDT by Oldeconomybuyer (Saddam is a dead man)
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To: Publius
The question is, did Powell set the UN up deliberately? Or did Bush set up Powell?


I bet it is the latter. GWB has done some things that many of us have wondered about at first....but it always turns out good in the end. His political savvy may be the greatest among all the Presidents.

I was totally against going to the UN. I bet GWB went along knowing he would either get its support...or embarrass it if it didnt. And Powell got caught in the trap
26 posted on 04/10/2003 1:41:30 PM PDT by UCFRoadWarrior (Terrorists Disappointed: Madonna Not Really "Like A Virgin")
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To: Anitius Severinus Boethius
what you said...

let's get those judges in...but I am also sorry we seem to be having trouble recruiting for the '04 senate races...I really think Jennifer Dunn could have beaten Patty Bin Laden.
27 posted on 04/10/2003 1:41:48 PM PDT by Keith
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To: knighthawk
The only important thing with the Army is the equipment on-hand. Manpower can be called up as needed. The US has something like 8000 M1A1 tanks, and another 3000 or so M60 tanks in storage. That's enough for about 40 armored divisions to be created within one year (I believe we have around 15 active???). Considering it took just two armored divisions to kick Iraq's ass, we can see that they are clearly committed to maintaining the potential of overwhelming US superiority. There is no reason to pay for all the troops needed for that though to be on active duty - that's why we have reserve forces.
28 posted on 04/10/2003 1:47:15 PM PDT by Hermann the Cherusker
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To: bedolido
I'd love to see him run for prez against Bill's former in 2008

I wanted to see Rummy run for Prez in the last THREE elections.

29 posted on 04/10/2003 1:50:22 PM PDT by Cobra64 (REMOVE)
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To: bedolido
I'd love to see him run for prez against Bill's former in 2008

The present Republican Governor of Florida will do the running in 2008. -Tom

30 posted on 04/10/2003 1:50:23 PM PDT by Capt. Tom
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To: knighthawk
Trying to be objective as possible, I have never seen a more impressive group of individuals than GW, Condi, Rummy, Powell, and Cheney. They are all incredibly decent, straightforward, intellegent, dignified, selfless, and possess great character. We are truly blessed to have them. I can only imagine the vermin Gore would have running around.

Thank you Elian for tipping the scales in Florida.

31 posted on 04/10/2003 1:59:02 PM PDT by MattinNJ
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To: ConservativeDude
Wolfowitz has been thorouoghly demonized by the left.......UNJUSTLY, but nevertheless he has been attacked.

Condi Rice would be an excellent replacement for Powell.

As for Rumsfeld, I have always considered him the most intelligent person in the administration. Perfect for the position he holds and consider us blessed to have him. I shudder when I think of Cohen......Albright and that america hating crew.

32 posted on 04/10/2003 2:00:00 PM PDT by OldFriend (without the brave, there would be no land of the free)
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To: Defiant
I agree with you about Powell. He has his say, strongly, and then backs the decision of the President no matter what it is.

He's too multilaterist for my tastes, but his input is valuable.

33 posted on 04/10/2003 2:09:21 PM PDT by dead
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To: knighthawk
There can be no doubt about it. Donald Rumsfeld is the man of the year.
No one even comes close.
34 posted on 04/10/2003 2:23:22 PM PDT by duzystopa
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To: dead
He ain't my favorite by a long shot, but Powell is the number 1 political asset that Bush has going for him with much of the electorate, and certainly with the press. We had all better pray that he stays through the re-election campaign.
35 posted on 04/10/2003 2:33:00 PM PDT by mwl1
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