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Ear to the Ground

Sidney Blumenthal: Bush Sr. Tried to Replace Rumsfeld

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Posted on Jun 10, 2006
George Bush Sr.
From Tufts.edu

Former President George H.W. Bush

The former president waged a secret campaign earlier this year to replace the secretary of defense with a retired four-star general, according to Sidney Blumenthal. (Pay wall / ad-watching req’d.)


Sidney Blumenthal in Salon:

Jun. 08, 2006 | Former President George H.W. Bush waged a secret campaign over several months early this year to remove Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The elder Bush went so far as to recruit Rumsfeld’s potential replacement, personally asking a retired four-star general if he would accept the position, a reliable source close to the general told me. But the former president’s effort failed, apparently rebuffed by the current president. When seven retired generals who had been commanders in Iraq demanded Rumsfeld’s resignation in April, the younger Bush leapt to his defense. “I’m the decider and I decide what’s best. And what’s best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain,” he said. His endorsement of Rumsfeld was a rebuke not only to the generals but also to his father.

The elder Bush’s intervention was an extraordinary attempt to rescue simultaneously his son, the family legacy and the country. The current president had previously rejected entreaties from party establishment figures to revamp his administration with new appointments. There was no one left to approach him except his father. This effort to pluck George W. from his troubles is the latest episode in a recurrent drama—from the drunken young man challenging his father to go “mano a mano,” to the father pulling strings to get the son into the Texas Air National Guard and helping salvage his finances from George W.‘s mismanagement of Harken Energy. For the father, parental responsibility never ends. But for the son, rebellion continues. When journalist Bob Woodward asked George W. Bush if he had consulted his father before invading Iraq, he replied, “He is the wrong father to appeal to in terms of strength. There is a higher father that I appeal to.”

The former president, a practitioner of foreign policy realism, was intruding on the president’s parallel reality. But the realist was trying to shake the fantasist in vain. “The president believes the talking points he’s given and repeats on progress in Iraq,” a Bush administration national security official told me. Bush redoubles his efforts, projects his firmness, in the conviction that the critics lack his deeper understanding of Iraq that allows him to see through the fog of war to the Green Zone as a city on a hill.

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By abdul rahim, June 11, 2006 at 8:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

farewell andreas, farewell to our futures, farewell to america’s greatness. we have lost everything.

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By Paula Womack, June 10, 2006 at 10:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think Mr. Blumenthal has hit the nail on the head as far as the relationship between father and son, Bush Sr. and W.  This just cements my belief that W. is nothing but a willful child who has to have his way at any cost.  Too bad our troops and country have to suffer because of it.

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By felicity smith, June 10, 2006 at 11:37 am Link to this comment
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People who have wondered why through the ages incompetent, dictatorial, emotionally crippled rulers haven’t been ousted by their subjects need wonder no longer.  We’re living it.

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