Just Another Guy with Opinions

Rumsfeld’s Farewell

Posted by shadmia on December 12, 2006

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Donald Rumsfeld, outgoing secretary of Defense, took his 15th and final trip to Iraq, to say farewell to the troops that he has been responsible for since the US led invasion in 2003 that toppled Saddam Hussein.

Rumsfeld leaves behind a legacy of almost 3,000 dead American troops and ten of thousands of Iraqis killed in the more than three years since “liberating” Iraq from Saddam. His leadership had been under attack for years and many had called for his resignation. However President Bush loyally refused to force Rumsfeld out, even after the scandal of Abu Ghraib.

It was the 2006 election results that seemed to push President Bush to replace Rumsfeld. One day after the elections, when it was clear that Democrats would control both the House and the Senate, the President finally announced that Rumsfeld would leave office on Dec 18, 2006. Rumsfeld was just 9 days short of becoming the longest serving Secretary of Defense. He does however have the distinction of being the only person to serve as Secretary of Defense twice in 1975-1977 under President Ford and 2001-2006 under President Bush. He was also the youngest and the oldest person to hold that office.

On his farewell tour of Iraq, Rumsfeld tried to encourage the troops:

“For the past six years, I have had the opportunity and, I would say, the privilege, to serve with the greatest military on the face of the Earth,” Rumsfeld said to more than 1,200 soldiers and Marines at al-Asad, a sprawling air base in western Anbar province, an insurgent stronghold.

“We feel great urgency to protect the American people from another 9/11 or a 9/11 times two or three. At the same time, we need to have the patience to see this task through to success. The consequences of failure are unacceptable,” Rumsfeld said at al-Asad air base in western Iraq. “The enemy must be defeated.”

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