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A Very Late Resignation - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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It was like a powerful right hand punch that only connected after the bell rang signaling the end of the round. But it was of no value.

The resignation of the controversial US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld came after three years of accumulated mistakes in managing the Iraqi issue.

President George Bush should have removed Rumsfeld after his department became embroiled in serious strategic mistakes, the first of which being the dissolving of the Iraqi army and various governmental and non- governmental organs followed by numerous decisions that turned victory into tragedy. Their repercussions followed in close succession until they brought the whole Iraqi plan to the trap where Iran, Al-Qaeda, and other regional nations converged to destroy the entire country.

Rumsfeld should have been dismissed when the Abu-Ghraib person scandal broke out because his forces were in charge of the country’s security and jails.

It was obvious after the quick military victory and fall of Saddam’s regime that most of Iraq supported what happened, as evident by the small number of Saddam’s massive military forces that actually stood and fought, while the majority opted to surrender or return to their homes leaving Iraq’s barracks deserted and which the American troops occupied with minimal resistance.

But the US Department of Defense then took over the management of Iraqi political affairs ignoring the more qualified centers that were more specialized in political and democratic action. This sparked mass-confusion, with scenes of the looting of government offices, anarchy in the street, the announcement of the occupation governor (Jay Garner), the inclusion of opportunistic Iraqi parties in the civilian government, the bias toward one party against another, the entanglement in Iraqi details, and the drowning in the regional quicksand. It was obvious to the world that Rumsfeld’s department went from one crisis to a bigger one at a time when it isolated the State Department until Colin Powell left it in sadness because of his impotence and realization that the Pentagon had entered a dark tunnel and dragged a bigger world behind it.

It is common knowledge that Rumsfeld had a long record of successes since his days as a navy pilot and then chairman of financial and pharmaceutical companies before joining the political realm in Congress and what followed. He earned high marks in all the positions he managed until he thought he could do what Winston Churchill failed to do 80 years before him in Iraq, as if it the pharmaceutical company he overhauled in the mid-1980’s and was rewarded for it.

Rumsfeld is certainly the man who deserves most blame for the fiasco of his country’s policy in Iraq after his army won a brilliant victory. The series of mistakes he made indicate a gross ignorance of Iraq, the region, and the international political game. The question is why he did not resign or was dismissed at the start of the Iraqi crisis? The secret for his survival is that he lived for three successive years as the symbol of the hero of the quick wars that gave him immunity and his dismissal meant declaring defeat to the adversaries inside the United States and in Iraq.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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