Today it was announced that Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld is resigning after the Republican party lost the House and is likely to lose the Senate.
Bush '41 was a man who believed in loyalty and passed that trait onto his son, Bush '43. Bush '41 demonstrated it when there was pressure to get rid of the Vice President Dan Quayle. Unfortunately, this lesson doesn't carry over well into the Bush '41 administration when applied to the current situation. Loyalty is always respected but corrective action, even when it negatively affects those closest to you, is respected even more when it's done for the good of the country.
Would things be different now if Rumsfeld had been removed from office 12 months ago? It would be hard to imagine them worse. The cost of delaying this decision? The control of Congress, the greater risk of terrorism and a more challenging task to achieve democracy in Iraq.
What about the lives of our military? Unfortunately, I don't believe there would be a reduction in loss. What corrective action should be taken in Iraq and when would we feel the positive effects of that change? No one knows. However, I anticipate change would be slow and the benefits will not be seen for months.
I can only see two possibilities at this moment. Pull out or step up. I absolutely believe that we should not pull out. I believe in the Powell doctrine which was fully demonstrated during the first Gulf War - fight with overwhelming force. Unfortunately, during the second Gulf War we fought with overwhelming technology and did not have enough boots of the ground to provide proper policing action after the Iraq government was toppled.
We also failed in another way. In past victories we destroyed the armed forces of our enemy and took total control. We even demonstrated this in the first Gulf War when we destroyed the Iraqi military on route from Kuwait back to Iraq.
In the second Gulf War we minimized our interaction with the Iraqi forces and allowed them to return to the general population without proper screening and transition. This allowed new forces to organize. Add to this the lack of boots on the ground to secure the borders and police the country and you create an environment ripe for insurgency.
The cost to fix this error will be great. I believe that we must dramatically increase the number of military in Iraq and take complete control of the country until it has time to heal. Do you have enough personnel in the military to achieve this? I honestly don't know. If we don't, then the concept of a draft must be considered for the good of the country. Take control and destroy the insurgency with the aid of the Iraqi people in order to avoid a significant terrorist attack from those trained, funded and supported by insurgency and its mutual associates.