The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

It's official: Bye-bye, Rummy

Let the spilling of virtual ink begin! There's going to be a ton of wonky reading to do tonight. I'm looking forward to it. Almost as much as I'm enjoying mental pictures of a bitter old man shuffling about in his slippers and muttering to himself about being underappreciated.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stepped down as defense secretary on Wednesday, one day after midterm elections in which opposition to the war in Iraq contributed to heavy Republican losses.

President Bush said he would nominate Robert Gates, a former CIA director, to replace Rumsfeld at the Pentagon.

Asked whether his announcement signaled a new direction in the war that has claimed the lives of more than 2,800 U.S. troops, Bush said, "Well, there's certainly going to be new leadership at the Pentagon."

Bush lavished praise on Rumsfeld, who has spent six stormy years at his post. The president disclosed he met with Gates last Sunday, two days before the elections in which Democrats swept to control of the House and possibly the Senate.

UPDATE: I thought I'd mentioned this when I wrote the post, but apparently not. I'm sure the nomination of Gates for the role will fuel a ton of speculation on James Baker and the 'Iraq study group.' Gates, with his ties to Scowcroft, is clearly linked to their camp. And although the prevailing sentiment seems to be that Baker and Company were called in to let George know that it was time for the grown-ups to take over, there hasn't been any clear indication of what their recommendation for the least bad option of ending the war there will be. Bush, on the other hand, has been showing signs of being ready to make some changes for a couple of weeks now, and this pretty much seals the deal.

TNR is quick out of the gate with a look at how Gates might change the picture: Alarmist intelligence has always been the hallmark of Rumsfeld--and Cheney's--foreign policy, and at the very least, it's comforting to see that Gates is somewhat less interested in playing that game.