Victor Davis Hanson takes on Rumsfeld’s critics.
The answer, of course, is the usual media-inspired flight from reason that overwhelms this country at various times hype playing on our fears and groupthink to create a sudden story when there really is none. And now with the renewed attack on Donald Rumsfeld we are back to more of the flu-shot hysteria that has been so common in this war. Remember the pseudo-crises of the past four years– the quagmire in week three in Afghanistan or the sandstorm bog-down in Iraq?
Let us not forget either all the Orwellian logic: Clinton’s past deleterious military slashes that nevertheless explained the present win in Afghanistan, or his former appeasement of bin Laden that now accounts for the successful doctrine of fighting terror. Or recall the harebrained schemes we should have adopted– the uninvited automatic airlifting of an entire division into the high peaks of Islamic, nuclear Pakistan to cut off the tribal fugitives from Tora Bora? Or have we put out of our memories the brilliant trial balloons of a Taliban coalition government and the all Islamic post-Taliban occupation forces?
So it is with the latest feeding-frenzy over Donald Rumsfeld. His recent spur-of-the-moment – but historically plausible – remarks to the effect that one goes to war with the army one has rather than the army one wishes for angered even conservatives. The demands for his head are to be laughed off from an unserious Maureen Dowd – ranting on spec about the shadowy neocon triad of Wolfowitz, Feith, and Perle – but taken seriously from a livid Bill Kristol or Trent Lott. Rumsfeld is, of course, a blunt and proud man, and thus can say things off the cuff that in studied retrospect seem strikingly callous rather than forthright. No doubt he has chewed out officers who deserved better. And perhaps his quip to the scripted, not-so-impromptu question was not his best moment.
But his resignation would be a grave mistake for this country at war, for a variety of reasons.