Katrina Vanden Heuvel, the editor of The Nation, relishes the controversy over a few retired generals who have called for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to resign. Joining the media dogpile, Vanden Heuvel asks:
Batiste. Eaton. Newbold. Riggs. Zinni… Is there a retired general left in the States who hasn’t called on Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to fall on his sword? While The Nation suggested he resign in April, 2003, an unanticipated and unprecedented cast of characters has joined the growing chorus.
So far something like six of these guys have sounded off. Heck, I’ll be generous. Let’s say a full dozen are out there talking to the mainstream media and urging Rumsfeld’s ouster. Where does that leave us? Right here, Katrina:
|The dirty dozen
Yes, that’s a giant chorus of condemnation. This is only based on the estimate that there are roughly 4,700 retired generals and admirals, so do your own math. Maybe it’ll be more persuasive.
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Condoleezza Rice won confirmation as the next Secretary of State. The vote total: 85 to 13.
The Diplomad offers advice to the next Secretary of State:
We won’t deal with policy issues here. … Our concern is the Department as an institution and what can be done to rescue it from itself and make it an effective agency, and by that we mean effective at representing and promoting America’s interests abroad. We all know that the new Secretary is not going to spend time fixing this broken institution. … We hope that … at a minimum a fierce, Neanderthal-like brute will be appointed Undersecretary for Management. It is to this person that we direct ourselves with hope in our hearts and pleading in our eyes.
Slash and burn. … It can take a year or more to assign someone to a posting. Absurd. Reduce the size of the personnel (HR) operation. Put an end to the little empires that exist in HR, empires established by bureaucrats who “homestead” themselves in the HR system, spending years there accumulating power, establishing networks to reward themselves and friends and to punish “enemies.” It is tempting to rely on these persons’ “expertise,” but resist it; rotate them out. Make them stand in a visa line in Mexico City. Get them out of Washington on a regular basis. It’s the Foreign Service. They don’t want to go? They can go work for the DMV.
Until you reform the assignment process, have the Secretary not assume that a person who is, for example, working on Arab-Israeli affairs, actually knows something about Arab-Israeli affairs or that what he knows is actually right or worth knowing. That person could have gotten the job thanks to some complex deal having nothing to do with substance.
Take a hard look at the size and number of embassies abroad. Do we really need an embassy in every African and European country? Do we need them so big?
I wish Condi (and Porter Goss at the CIA) success at smashing obstructionist bureaucrats. Remind them who’s the boss.
Hat tip: Chrenkoff
Condoleezza Rice will be the new Secretary of State. Sounds like an improvement . She strikes me as an American version of Margaret Thatcher. Here’s hoping she is.