Every administration is supposed to have a bad guy. The Bush administration seems to feel Rove is not enough.
Some of you may have noticed that I loathe Donald Rumsfeld. I don't particularly loathe Bush -- I think he's a disaster as a President, but I can't seem to raise any real emotion towards him personally. But I do loathe Rumsfeld. And this is a lot of the reason why. I think that when we order kids to go off to fight and die in our name, we owe them as much support as we can muster. It should go without saying that we move heaven and earth to armor their vehicles, that we not nickel-and-dime their health care when they return, and so on. And it should go without saying that when we're unsure how many troops we will need, we err on the side of caution. I can easily understand how it might cross someone's mind to wonder whether generals overstate the number of troops they will need. (As I understand it, it's a standard response when the military doesn't want to do something: announce that it can't be done with less than half a million troops.) I can understand questioning them about this. I have a much harder time understanding how someone could just assume that he's right and all the people who have spent their lives thinking about military operations are wrong: for every one person who thinks like this and is a genius, there are (I'm estimating, of course) thousands who are just pig-headed idiots; and how someone could fail to consider the possibility that he was in the second group, not the first, is a mystery to me. But I absolutely cannot fathom how someone could be so confident in this assumption that he was willing to act on it in wartime, when the price of your being wrong will be a lot of dead soldiers, not to mention failing to achieve your objectives. That's a level of blind arrogance that I find breathtaking, and the idea that families across the country have buried their children because of it fills me with an enduring icy fury.Extraordinary and irrationally persistent self-confidence is the mark of many powerful men -- but not of the great. Bush and Rumsfeld seem to have this virus. They are not the first such to lead the way to disaster.
I am not as kind to Bush as the author is. I believe Bush is very smart, and he has chosent to retain and reward Rumsfeld.