Greg Djerejian gets to the heart of the matter. In this war, the president has essentially delegated all key decisions to the Cheney-Rumsfeld axis. The fact that these two are manifestly incompetent, have trashed the military, destroyed its honor, and turned Iraq into an early chapter in Hobbes is irrelevant. The president doesn't trust anyone else sufficiently to replace them. And he's too out of touch to make the key decisions himself. Commenter Joe Britt adds:
"Bush has delegated virtually all war planning and management of the military to Rumsfeld; his own relationships with uniformed military officers or other Pentagon officials appear to be neither numerous nor deep compared to those of other wartime Presidents... All I'm saying is that what the sudden departure of a man who has served as a kind of Deputy President for over four years would leave is a situation in which many decisions now finally made in Rumsfeld's office could not be made, military leaders that have by and large allowed themselves to be run by Rumsfeld would be left to jockey amongst themselves for position and influence in his absence, and -- from Bush's point of view this factor must loom especially large -- the President's tenuous grasp both on what is happening in Iraq and what is happening in the military would be further exposed."
This is why Rumsfeld will stay. Bush has few alternatives. He couldn't handle bringing in an outsider like Lieberman, becaue he runs his administration as a cabal of friends and lackeys, and that's the only form of government he knows how to handle. Case in point: check out this video clip from Wonkette. It's Bush responding to a smart question about the rules governing foreign mercenaries in Iraq. The president hasn't a clue what the rules are and says his method for dealing with such issues is to call Rumsfeld. If this president is relying on Rumsfeld for actual data on this war, he will not get an assessment of reality. Rumsfeld has no grip on reality. But he sure has a grip on the president.
(Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty).