View Full Version : Bush: "I'm The Decider" On Rumsfeld

04-18-2006, 01:06 PM
Bush: 'I'm the decider' on Rumsfeld
Defense chief set to meet with so-called 'TV generals'


Tuesday, April 18, 2006 Posted: 1645 GMT (0045 HKT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush sharply defended Donald Rumsfeld on Tuesday, saying the embattled Pentagon chief is doing a "fine job" despite calls for his resignation from six retired military generals.

Bush already had interrupted his Easter vacation at Camp David, Maryland, on Friday to release a public statement of support for the defense secretary.

Despite a practice of not usually commenting on personnel moves, the president told reporters Tuesday that his vote of confidence for Rumsfeld was an effort to stamp out speculation about his status.

"You can understand why, because we've got people's reputations at stake," Bush said of his aversion to speculation about personnel matters.

"And on Friday I stood up and said, 'I don't appreciate the speculation about Don Rumsfeld; he's doing a fine job; I strongly support him.'"

Pressed to respond to critics who say he is ignoring the advice of respected former military commanders, Bush vigorously stood by Rumsfeld.

"I listen to all voices, but mine is the final decision," he said. "And Don Rumsfeld is doing a fine job. He's not only transforming the military, he's fighting a war on terror. He's helping us fight a war on terror. I have strong confidence in Don Rumsfeld.

"I hear the voices, and I read the front page, and I know the speculation. But I'm the decider, and I decide what is best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense."

The president made the comments in the Rose Garden after introducing Rob Portman, the U.S. trade representative, as his pick to be the new White House budget director.

Bush also said he is nominating Portman's deputy, Susan Schwab, as the trade ambassador.

Also Tuesday, Rumsfeld planned to meet with a group of retired generals who regularly appear as analysts on television and in newspapers.

Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Donald Shepperd, a CNN military analyst who will attend the session, said more than a dozen similar meetings have been held in the past. But he said that Tuesday's event was called late last week, apparently in response to the recent uproar.

Shepperd said such meetings give the generals an opportunity to ask tough questions and that they are not limited to those who agree with the Pentagon on every issue.

Recently, six retired generals -- including former commanders of two Army divisions that saw combat in Iraq -- have called for Rumsfeld to resign.

They accuse him of ignoring advice from senior officers about how to prosecute the war and sending too few troops into Iraq to manage the occupation after the March 2003 invasion.

In defense of Rumsfeld, four retired generals wrote an op-ed piece Monday in The Wall Street Journal suggesting that some of his critics don't understand the war on terrorism.

"Much of the acrimony expressed by Secretary Rumsfeld's military critics appears to stem from his efforts to 'transform' the military by moving to a joint expeditionary force that is lighter and more mobile in nature to meet the nation's current and future threats," the commentary said.

"Many senior officers and bureaucrats did not support his transformation goals -- preferring conventional weapons of the past ... which prove practically useless against lawless and uncivilized enemies engaged in asymmetric warfare," the writers continued. (Watch Rumsfeld fight fire with fire -- 2:18)

The op-ed piece was written by retired Lt. Gen. John Crosby, retired Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, retired Maj. Gen. Buron Moore and retired Maj. Gen Paul Vallely.

The four retired generals also said it was inappropriate for senior military officers -- active or retired -- to criticize the civilian leadership during war.

Also Monday, U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr., a Tennessee Democrat running for his state's Senate seat, suggested replacing Rumsfeld with former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

"Gen. Powell's experience resolving complicated and sensitive national security challenges is needed now more than ever," Ford said in a statement. "He will bring a respect for our military, a willingness to listen, a capacity to admit and correct mistakes and an attention to detail that is absent now in the top job at the Pentagon."

04-18-2006, 01:07 PM
"I listen to all voices, but mine is the final decision"

He's hearing voices again?

04-18-2006, 04:47 PM
Someone about the words Bush and "I'm the decider" being in the same sentance doesn't make me feel confertable.