Donald Rumsfeld Resigns; Questions Linger

Washington, November 30, 2006 -- Donald Rumsfeld announced today that he would be stepping down as Secretary of Defense effective immediately. While his departure has been expected for sometime it is nevertheless a surprising move by the Bush administration with less than a week to go before the midterm elections take place.

Douglas Feith: Smirkier than Rumsfeld?Douglas Feith: Smirkier than Rumsfeld?

Nearly all Washington insiders were taken by surprise with this announcement. Nationally syndicated political columnist Molly Ivins said, "We all expected some sort of 'October surprise' from the administration, but most people, myself included, thought Rumsfeld's job was safe until at the very least early next year."

Democrats were especially blind-sided by this announcement. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said, "While we generally see this as a good move it is troubling that we were not informed of the move prior to today's announcement. Remember the Republicans keep reminding us that we are a 'nation at war' and that we need to 'stay the course,' but they seem to feel that shaking up the leadership at the Pentagon is not incongruent to their message." Sen. Levin continued, "The timing of this move has Rove written all over it."

Mr. Rumsfeld was on course to reaching a milestone in his career by becoming the longest-serving Secretary of Defense in December, surpassing Robert McNamara. With today's announcement his only real achievements as Secretary of Defense are being the youngest and oldest person to hold the office.

Mr. Rumsfeld's replacement at the helm of the Pentagon was also announced today: Mr. Douglas J. Feith, formerly the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, whom many Pentagon insiders describe as a younger, fiestier and smirkier version of his former boss. Mr. Feith was not present at the press conference but Defense Department officials informed the media that Mr. Feith would assume his duties immediately as secret confirmation hurdles have already been cleared and a secret swearing in ceremony had already taken place.

Capping off what was a Monday press conference full of surprises, Mr. Rumsfeld proceeded to field questions from himself. Below is a section of the Secretary's Q & A portion of today's press conference:

Secretary Rumsfeld: Did I feel the time was right for a change?
Secretary Rumsfeld: Yes, I did.
Secretary Rumsfeld: Did the mounting pressure from the left against the war in Iraq force my hand?
Secretary Rumsfeld: No, but let me say [snicker] that sometimes I find it hard to draw a line between where the insurgents end and the Democrats begin [giggle].
Secretary Rumsfeld: Am I disappointed that I didn't hit the mark of being the longest-serving Secretary of Defense?
Secretary Rumsfeld: No, I am not. There are many ways a guy like me can be remembered.
Secretary Rumsfeld: Speaking about being remembered, how do I see history remembering me?
Secretary Rumsfeld: Do I mean, what is my legacy?
Secretary Rumsfeld: Yes, in a way I suppose I do mean that.
Secretary Rumsfeld: Well, I will probably be remembered as the man who set this country on the proper footing toward eradicating terrorism via a global war on it.
Secretary Rumsfeld: Has it been difficult?
Secretary Rumsfeld: Yes.
Secretary Rumsfeld: Have there been mistakes along the way?
Secretary Rumsfeld: Sure.
Secretary Rumsfeld: Serious mistakes?
Secretary Rumsfeld: Is there any other kind?
Secretary Rumsfeld: If I had a chance to go back and do some things differently, would I?
Secretary Rumsfeld: No, I would not.
Secretary Rumsfeld: Well then, enjoy my retirement.
Secretary Rumsfeld: You betcha I will! Me too.
Secretary Rumsfeld: All right then, thank me.
Secretary Rumsfeld: I'm welcome. I'm sorry but I don't have time for any more questions as I now need to go clean out my office so Doug can get his things moved in.
Assembled Press: [Screaming incoherently] But Mr. Secretary….

And with that, Mr. Rumsfeld left the chamber adding to his legacy as Secretary of Defense, although it may not be the legacy he expects.

By Raoul Thibodeaux, Avant News Staff Writer

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