Abu Ghraib Whistleblower Outed by Rumsfeld

Rumsfeld must go. I'm hardly the first politician to say this ... it's practically mainstream Democratic position now. There are any number of reasons why he must resign (or be fired); we can't even pretend there's any accountability for the disaster in Iraq if he stays on. But I was listening to NPR earlier this week, and I heard a story I think perfectly captures the man, his lack of respect for the troops, and his slippery bureaucratic nature.

It was an interview with Joseph Darby, the courageous soldier who turned in the Abu Ghraib photos. He blew the whistle on what was happening there, and he was promised anonymity by the military. But the military didn't keep to that promise.

Donald Rumsfeld outed Joe Darby in open testimony to Congress in April, "thanking" him for his actions. And because of that testimony, Joe Darby's family was stalked, they had to move away from their home, and he feared for his life.

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Defending Congressman Murtha: Why it matters

Massa for Congress

Most of you are probably aware of the opposing rallies this past week in Johnstown, PA.   A tiny group of swiftboaters hoping to publicly smear Representative Murtha was countered by a group 10 times bigger rallying in his favor.  (link, link)   I was there and I want to talk about why we have to stand strong against those attacking Murtha.  It's about a lot more than just showing that Democrats are not weak and spineless, though that can be important at times.  Sliming Congressman Murtha is central to coordinated GOP efforts to keep Democrats from retaking congress in November.

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Rumsfeld a National Security Risk:Fighting Dems Eric Massa (NY-29) and Terry Stulce (TN-03)

Today Terry Stulce and I are blogging about National Security.  We want to begin by mentioning a recent workshop hosted by Congresswoman Jane Harman which we both attended.  Most of you are familiar with the Real Security Plan put out by Democratic leaders about a month ago. (link)  But very few of you are familiar with the excellent work Representative Harman has been doing behind the scenes.  We want to publicly recognize that effort and offer her our thanks.  Terry and I were both very impressed by the quality of the workshop and look forward to future interaction with Representative Harman.

Most of you are probably aware of the petition that Jeff Latas and I announced last week calling for the resignation of Secretary Rumsfeld.  (link)  Please go and sign the The Petition for Rumsfeld's Resignation. Note the large number of Fighting Dem Vet candidates who have signed the Petition calling for his resignation.

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Spinning Rumsfeld as a Political Issue

(I tried posting this to Daily Kos, but just got a bunch of snarky comments.  I am genuinely interested in electoral strategy here.)

With calls for Donald Rumsfeld to resign or be fired, we must ask ourself what would result if that were to actually occur.  I find it hard to believe that a change would result in a more competent Secretary of Defense or one who might help halt the march towards attacking Iran.

I feel there is a need to politicize Donald Rumsfeld and spin his removal from office, voluntarily or involuntarily, as an admission that mistakes were made at the highest levels of government by the Bush administration.  This linkage needs to be stressed in every discussion of the heckuva job that Rummy is doing.

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The Fake Shake-Up

Let's review something very basic about this 'shake-up'.

Donald Rumsfeld - still in place
Dick Cheney - still in place
Steven Hadley - still in place
Karl Rove - still in place

This part of a Dan Balz article says it best.

Presidents, more than chiefs of staff, determine how White Houses operate, they said, noting that Bush has shown that he prefers a tight circle of advisers and does not welcome the advice of outsiders. As Bush put it on Monday, in asserting that he would not fire Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, "I'm the decider, and I decide what's best."

Tim Russert had an important nugget yesterday, when a source told him why Bush wouldn't fire Rumsfeld.  Bush, his source says, "won't fire Rumsfeld because it would be the equivalent of firing himself."

Bush has a very good campaign mind, but as President he is completely paralyzed by his arrogance, fear, and personal weakness.  He likes feeling like he makes big decisions and has 'the vision thing' (as another Bush once put it), so power rests with infighting advisors who tell him what to do in the guise of 'taking care of the details'.  All problems are ascribed to as ones of 'communications' as the AM talk radio circuit has been spewing for months, which allows blame to go to the communications staff instead of those with the real power.  That's why Scott and Card don't matter; Scott is a press release shaped like a human (nothing really changed when Ari Fleischer left), while Card was a glorified office manager.  The Rove 'demotion' is in all likelihood a sham, since he's kept his security clearance and is gearing up for the midterms.  The only serious member of the White House to leave is actually Scooter Libby, and that wasn't Bush's doing.

This is an awful situation.  We have a man frightened to be President clinging desperately to the comforting adults who tell him what to do.  These 'adults' happen to be vicious ideologues bent showing the world their manliness no matter how weak they transparently are.  In other words, this isn't a real shake-up, because at this point Bush can't shake up the White House staff.  

It reminds me of a punch-drunk boxer, who is standing because his legs are working and who won't go down because the connection between his legs and his brain is temporarily gone.  It's an extremely dangerous situation for the world right now, with the 'fake shake-up' as PR gloss for what really is rearranging deck chairs on the Titannic.  

Now, to be clear, a shake-up can happen, but it won't happen until November, 2006.  That's when the American people can pick new leadership in Congress and force this weakened Presidency to change course.

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