I admire Donald Rumsfeld. The former two-time Secretary of Defense, White House Chief of Staff and Congressman is also a former naval aviator and a very successful private sector executive. Rumsfeld’s life has been defined by public service of the highest sort. His leadership in the war, from the moment he went towards the crash site on 9/11, was defined by a relentless focus on the enemy, a focus so extraordinary that it made him a political liability and a target for every grouser inside the Pentagon and every critic of the war–for whatever reason– outside of the building. His conflicts with State are still only dimly understood, and the mistakes in Iraq though always assigned to him will be found in time to have had many fathers.
Only small-minded people think Rumsfeld is other than a great American and patriot, though of course a contrroversial one. He continues to deserve the respect and thanks of the American people.
I thus wonder whenever Senator McCain snarls out “Rumsfeld”as he does in debate after debate if others beside me find it unsettling and off-putting that there is so much venom there? Rumsfeld was an opponent of McCain’s and as a result the contempt the Arizona maverick has for the former SecDef is complete, but it is also unseemly and not in the best traditions of American politics, especially when Rumsfeld has left the field.
I have written before that part of Reagan’s greatness was Reagan’s graciousness, displayed always to both friends and foes provided they were fellow Americans or allies of Americans. If Senator McCain’s campaign continues beyond Super Tuesday, I hope he can adopt this part of the Reagan legacy towards other great Americans who, like himself, have always had the best interests of the country at heart even as they took positions that made them unpopular and sometimes wrong.