The left is jumping all over this story, which is pretty bogus (which I’ll explain why in a moment):
Just days after President Bush publicly affirmed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s job security through the end of his term, a family of publications catering to the military will publish an editorial calling for the defense secretary’s removal.
The editorial, released to NBC News on Friday ahead of its Monday publication date, stated, “It is one thing for the majority of Americans to think Rumsfeld has failed. But when the nation’s current military leaders start to break publicly with their defense secretary, then it is clear that he is losing control of the institution he ostensibly leads.”
The editorial will appear just one day before the midterm election, in which GOP candidates have been losing ground, according to recent polls.
“This is not about the midterm elections,” continued the editorial, which will appear in the Army Times, Air Force Times, Navy Times, and Marine Corps Times on Monday. “Regardless of which party wins Nov. 7, the time has come, Mr. President, to face the hard bruising truth: Donald Rumsfeld must go.”
“Not about the midterms”? Of COURSE it is. Who do they think they’re kidding?
First, let’s take a moment at see this for what it is: it’s an editorial written in what is basically a regular paper, or group of papers. Just because it’s sold primarily to the troops, doesn’t mean a thing.
Second, the military has nothing to do with these groups of publications, so the fact that the editorial appears in them rather than, say, the New York Times means nothing. The way the left is huffing about it, you’d swear the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force Generals got together and said “he has to go”.
Finally, these groups of publications are hardly what you would call “fair and balanced”. For example, I read the Navy Times almost everyday online. A large proportion of their articles is provided by the AP, and we KNOW how even-handed THEY are. But even articles written especially for it are more often than not slanted towards the left, or pushing a liberal agenda.
So, point blank…this op-ed could just as easily have ran in the New York Times, the Washington Post, or the L.A. Times, and it would have meant the exact same thing: nothing.
**Update**: As everyone should be aware, I’m on Karl Rove’s first responder’s list (joking!) and I get emails from the White House (that’s serious). Tony Snow had these comments in regards to this op-eds:
“A lot of people are thinking, aha, what you have are a lot of military people in open revolt against the President, when, in fact, you’ve got a lot of Gannett editorial writers, which would be thoroughly consistent with USA Today and the rest of the Gannett chain, which I think, if memory serves, does not have a single strong conservative editorial page in the entire chain.”
“But maybe the worst is this, it says, â€˜A new course of criticism is beginning to resonate. Active duty military leaders are starting to voice misgivings about the war’s planning.’ It then goes on to cite General John Abizaid completely out of context, when he said before Congress â€“ he said, â€˜I believe the sectarian violence probably is as bad as I’ve seen it. It’s possible that Iraq could move toward civil war.’ The following month General Casey said â€“ let’s see, a couple of things. First, he said that, â€˜A, I think we can prevent a civil war. Secondly, things in a counter-insurgency environment, as you well know, take time to mature militarily and politically, and we’re confident that with the measures we’re taking now we can be successful.'”
“First, you’ve already had David Frum coming out and saying that Vanity Fair completely took out of context what he said and twisted a discussion of what he described as looking for the best way to win the war, into something far more fatalistic. We’ll have to let Richard Perle and Ken Adelman make whatever comments. But if the quotes are accurate, it means that they’re at war with the advice that they gave some time ago.”
Brian runs the website Iowa Voice, and is filling in for ST for a few days.