Why Bush Kept Rumsfeld

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Power Line explains why Bush had to keep Rumsfeld. I think I agree with almost every statement. The only thing I hesitate to endorse is the suggestion that the left as a whole wants us to fail in Iraq. I do think a large number of left-thinking people secretly want that but would never admit it even to themselves. I think that even drives their criticisms in ways they don't see. The way the claim is put, though, makes it sound as if this is true of every opponent of the war and a complete part of their explicit thinking, which just seems laughable to me.

The thing that seems most clearly true that many people are ignoring is that because Bush really doesn't believe this whole effort was a mistake (and I still agree with him on that) it would be lying to fire Rumsfeld now, because that would send a message that he has accepted the arguments of his opponents that the whole shebang was a mistake. Since he considers these to be bad arguments (and I agree with him), he can't fire Rumsfeld because of the message it would send. That's a side of politics that I consider very unfortunate, because I can think of plenty of reasons he might want to ask Rumsfeld to resign that don't involve admitting failure in Iraq, but the perception will be that he's admitting exactly that. Because he doesn't want to stain what he sees as a truly good effort, he won't do it. I can understand that, even if I don't like the political realities that make it that way.

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A man announces that he is going skydiving. There's just one catch - he sees no need to use a parachute or even consider anything else that might aid his safety. He's bound and determined that he can do it and all of that "assistance" nonsense isn't required for a real man.

His friend tells him that what he's planning is incredibly foolish and dangerous. He's only going to get himself killed. The man simply ignores his friend's warning and plunges (ha ha) right ahead with his plan. Sure enough, he dies from his refusal to care about his safety; in his zeal to prove how manly, tough and "no nonsense" he is, he kills himself.

Did that man's friend secretly "want" him to die?

Not necessarily. He might not believe his friend. He might have reason not to believe his friend, especially if the jump is only going to be a few feet or if he knows his friend constantly lies to him. Now those aren't the reasons this is a terrible analogy, but you did ask about that case.

The reasons it's a terrible analogy are plentiful. Skydiving without a parachute from a high enough height will always result in death. Going into combat without body armor won't, and body armor isn't anywhere near as effective at saving lives as a parachute in the hands or a well-trained skydiver. Sending in lots of troops without the costly expense of lots of body armor after having your budget crippled for years by defense cuts isn't comparable to one person skydiving without a parachute when there's one readily available. Skydivers deliberately do something dangerous for their own fun and not to risk death for some higher calling, while military operations are undertaken by those who are willing to sacrifice themselves for the sake of good. Not having enough of what might aid safety for the number of people involved is much less serious than not considering anything that might aid safety. The person coming under fire had no virility on the line because he wasn't the one testing his mettle on the field, so that part of your argument is irrelevant.

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