Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Aftermath


Well, it seemed the night from hell continued yesterday morning. Since I didn't go to bed till insanely late I didn't know about Rumsfeld resigning until a friend called me. I must admit the tears flowed freely. I make no apologies for the fact that I love Donald Rumsfeld and was sad to see him go. And unfortunately I haven't heard good things about his replacement so for the most part I do not see this as a good thing. I thought Bush made some great points about Rumsfeld and I also loved Rumsfeld's parting words. Of course, genius that he is he quoted Winston Churchill. I think that was clever on several fronts because Churchill was not appreciated until many years later. He saved England from the Nazis and his reward was being voted out of office. Rumsfeld helped remove 2 terrorist regimes and he gets nothing but criticism. Here are some excerpts from both Bush & Rumsfeld.

Bush:
"Bob follows in the footsteps of one of America's most skilled and capable national security leaders, Donald Rumsfeld. Don is the longest-serving member of my Cabinet, and next month he will reach another milestone when he becomes the longest-serving Secretary of Defense in the history of our nation. I appreciate his willingness to continue serving until his successor is in place, because in a time of war, our nation cannot be without a strong and steady hand leading our Department of Defense.

Don has served in times of great consequence for our nation. Few will forget the image of Don Rumsfeld as he helped rescue workers carry the victims from the rubble of the Pentagon on September the 11th, 2001. In the weeks that followed, he directed the effort to plan our nation's military response to an unprecedented attack on our soil. Under his leadership, U.S. and coalition forces launched one of the most innovative military campaigns in the history of modern warfare, driving the Taliban and its al Qaeda allies from power in a matter of weeks.

In 2003, on my orders, he led the planning and execution of another historic military campaign, Operation Iraqi Freedom, that drove Saddam Hussein from power and helped the Iraqi people establish a constitutional democracy in the heart of the Middle East. History will record that on Don Rumsfeld's watch, the men and women of our military overthrew two terrorist regimes, liberated some 50 million people, brought justice to the terrorist Zarqawi and scores of senior al Qaeda operatives, and helped stop new terrorist attacks on our people.

America is safer and the world is more secure because of the service and the leadership of Donald Rumsfeld. As he led the Pentagon in an unprecedented war, Don never took his eye off another vital responsibility, preparing America for the threats that await us as this new century unfolds. He developed a new defense strategy. He established a new Northern Command to protect the homeland, a new Joint Forces Command to focus on transformation, a new Strategic Command to defend against long-range attack, and transformed the U.S. Special Operations Command for the war on terror.

He led our efforts to create a new NATO Response Force that allows NATO to deploy rapidly anywhere in the world. He undertook the most sweeping transformation of America's global force posture since the end of World War II. He revitalized America's efforts to develop and deploy ballistic missile defenses, and led a comprehensive review of America's nuclear forces that has allowed us to undertake dramatic reductions in offensive nuclear weapons.

Don's work in these areas did not often make the headlines. But the reforms that he has set in motion are historic, and they will enhance the security of the American people for decades to come.

Over the past six years, I've relied on Don Rumsfeld's advice and counsel. I've come to know his character and his integrity. As the Secretary of Defense, he has been dedicated to his mission, loyal to his President, and devoted to the courageous men and women of our Armed Forces.

Don once famously said, "There are known knowns; there are known unknowns; and there are unknown unknowns." Well, Mr. Secretary, here is a known known: Your service has made America stronger, and made America a safer nation. You will be missed, and I wish you and Joyce all the best in the years to come."

Rumsfeld:
"Mr. President, thank you for your kind words, and the wholly unexpected opportunity you provided me to serve in the Department of Defense again these past years -- six years. It's been quite a time. It recalls to mind the statement by Winston Churchill, something to the effect that "I have benefitted greatly from criticism, and at no time have I suffered a lack thereof." (Laughter.)

The great respect that I have for your leadership, Mr. President, in this little understood, unfamiliar war, the first war of the 21st century -- it is not well-known, it was not well-understood, it is complex for people to comprehend. And I know, with certainty, that over time the contributions you've made will be recorded by history.

I must say that it's been the highest honor of my life to serve with the talented men and women of the Department of Defense, the amazing men and women -- young men and women in uniform. It's a privilege. And their patriotism, their professionalism, their dedication is truly an inspiration. They have my respect; they will remain in my prayers always."

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