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Rumsfeld Has Failed The American People

July 30, 2009
Press Release

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-35) issued the following statement regarding the tenure of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld:

 "The United States military needs fresh leadership.  The Secretary of Defense has failed to provide effective leadership in the Iraq war and our soldiers are paying a dear price. Secretary Rumsfeld must resign.

 The fact that six US Generals, including three who have served in Iraq under Secretary Rumsfeld, are calling for Rumsfeld's resignation should serve as a wake-up call for the President and those serving in the U.S. Congress.  In order to rebuild international relationships damaged by this war, and to improve the prospects of concluding this war, we need new leadership at the Department of Defense.  The war has gone on far too long and cost far too much – in US lives, in US dollars, in US prestige.  Secretary Rumsfeld must not continue to manage this war.
 Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, Maj. Gen. Charles Swannack Jr., Maj. Gen. John Batiste, Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, and Marine Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold should be commended for speaking out.  The comments of the Generals provide first-hand knowledge to what many of us have already realized – the Secretary has dangerously mismanaged the planning and execution of the Iraqi war. 

 I think it is ironic that the White House questions the motives of these distinguished military officers, even suggesting that it is inappropriate for retired military officials to speak out against White House policy, all the while putting its own retired military officials on the talk shows.  This is a continuation of the misguided White House policy of stifling debate and questioning the integrity and patriotism of anyone who disagrees with its point of view.

 At various points in his tenure as head of Defense, Secretary Rumsfeld has served with arrogance and incompetence.  His leadership has failed the American military and the American people.  He has been wrong on many aspects of this war:   pre-war intelligence/Iraq's weapons of mass destruction; the number of troops needed for a post-Saddam Iraq; the cost of the war; disbandment of the Iraqi army, and, in slow response to the equipment needs of our soldiers.  At this point, why should Secretary Rumsfeld continue to manage the U.S. military? 

 Secretary Rumsfeld's credibility has been severely damaged.  

 Lastly, since the beginning of the Iraqi war, 2,378 US soldiers have died and more than 17,000 have been injured.  Despite the outstanding service of our soldiers, we do not appear to be any closer to bringing our soldiers home than when the war started in 2003.  We can not expect a turn around in the Iraq war without new leadership."

 U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters is the Founder and Chair of the 72-member ‘Out of Iraq' Congressional Caucus.  The Caucus was formed in June 2005 to pressure the Administration to conclude the war in Iraq as soon as possible.