Rumsfeld’s issues, and Sullivan’s

Andrew Sullivan presents his case for sacking Rumsfeld. We’ve discussed the arguments Sullivan raises, but now I want to look at some of Sullivan’s underlying themes, all of which are fairly common to arguments calling for Rumsfeld’s scalp. Note first the attempt to attribute our problems in Iraq to the alleged personality flaws of American policy makers. To Sullivan, the insurgency and “chaos” in Iraq is not about the recidivism and determination of enemy forces, and the inherent difficulties of eradicating them in a huge country; it’s down, instead, to the “stubbornness” of Rumsfeld and Bush. This way of thinking is related to an unwillingness to accept contingency in war time. Thus, Rumsfeld’s statement regarding post-invasion looting (“stuff happens”) is met with this response — “No it doesn

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