Thursday, November 09, 2006

US - One door shuts another gate opens

The last 48 hours have brought little comfort for the Republican Party. “I thought we’d do better,” said President Bush to a packed press room, “But what do I know?”
At that point all he knew was that his party had lost control of the House of Representatives. There were still some known unknowns to come. And the news hit news networks like a bombshell. Donald Rumsfeld had resigned as Defence Secretary. President Bush announced the departure of his loyal aid as his replacement stood aside him. ITN’s John Irvine [UK’s Independent Television News] described Rumsfeld as “standing there like a criminal” as George W Bush introduced his successor, Robert Gates.
The report was generally scathing of Rumsfeld and his legacy. “Last week Bush said Rumsfeld wasn’t going anywhere” the report started as saying, “but following the disastrous mid-term election results the Republican Party was, it seems looking for a new strategy.”
Rumsfeld had already offered to resign twice in the past, but the pressure was on Bush to make changes. The “face of the Iraq war” who had been the “hawk at the President’s side, and a thorn in the side of others” had himself become a casualty of the political war. “You go with the army you have”, Rumsfeld had said, when questioned over troop numbers and equipment deployed in Iraq. But numbers of troops on the ground were lacking and an insurgency soon enveloped the country. “Stuff happens” was Rumsfeld’s response to the various pitfalls that befell the US troops. ITN’s Juliet Manyon said “the real dilemma for America is they can’t leave Iraq, but they can’t stay either.” Of Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation he said, “it may be seen by the insurgents that their war of attrition is beginning to work.”
As Donald Rumsfeld bowed out he said, “I must say its been its been the highest honour in my life to serve with the men & women in the Department of Defence,” George Bush paid tribute to Rumsfeld’s service saying that “America is safer and the world is more secure because of the service and leadership of Donald Rumsfeld.”
The third bombshell of the day came when the last result came in shortly after midnight [GMT] a result which would decide who controlled the Senate. It all hinged on Virginia where Democrat candidate Jim Webb said in the early part of the day, “The votes are in and we have won.” But Republican Allen was still optimistic. ABC also reported on a problem in Montana where Duane Winslow, the County Election Administrator, ‘pressed the wrong button’ and deleted the already counted results. The counting of the votes had to be recounted with the whole country waiting for news as to who would control the Senate. US networks later reported that Jim Webb had won in the State of Virginia, putting the Democrats in control of the Senate for the first time since 1994 [BBC].
Rumsfeld is perhaps best known for his quote made at a news briefing in which he said, “there are known knowns, there are things we know that we know, there are known unknowns, that is to say there are things that we now know, we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns, there are things we do not know we don't know. And each year we discover a few more of those unknown unknowns.” Whether he knew he’d be ousted as soon as he was can only be speculated. Posted by Picasa

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