Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has been under a good deal of criticism lately, mostly of the stupid and opportunistic variety, but vocal enough that it has provoked a vigorous counterattack in Rumsfeld’s defense. First, by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich on David Horowitz’s Frontpagemag website and Newt’s own blog (Newt has a blog?). A substantive excerpt:

“Most notably, he[ Rumsfeld] undertook an extraordinarily complicated set of negotiations with our allies to move forces from obsolete and expensive Cold War positions in Europe and East Asia to much more useful and less expensive positions from where they can be more effective in defending America.

Just eight short months into the new Bush administration and just weeks after Mr. Rumsfeld’s Defense Department transformation plan had begun, the United States was attacked on 9/11. By now the response to that attack is well known. Mr. Rumsfeld took control and led the remarkably successful campaign in Afghanistan, which led in short order to the defeat of the Taliban and the destruction of its terrorist training camps. Even during ongoing military campaigns, Mr. Rumsfeld never wavered from his transformational objectives.

In the summer of 2003, in order to accelerate transformation in the Army, he brought Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker out of retirement to become Army chief of staff. Mr. Rumsfeld, with the brilliant leadership of General Schoomaker, was able to move personnel from noncombat to combat units, enabling them with additional reorganization to create 15 newly restructured combat brigades.

Also, because of Mr. Rumsfeld’s successful plan, our military is more flexible, more agile and better able to fight unconventional enemies. A new civilian personnel system was designed to reward merit, reduce force stress and replace a bureaucratic culture of risk aversion with one of innovation.

Moreover, he was able to move military personnel out of jobs that should be and are now held by civilians. Under this reorganization, Army troop levels increased (by 30,000), as did the number of combat brigades (from 10 to 15), making a draft unnecessary despite some critics’ claims that one was imminent.

Today, over at The Diplomad, Secretary Rumsfeld was also the topic where they provided a few useful caveats to conventional MSM wisdom. On Rumsfeld’s recent presidential vote of confidence:

“…Reading the NY Times or Washington Post you would get the sense that Rumsfeld was Secretary Powell’s arch-enemy, and that foreign policy was not working properly if the two of them were arguing or if, God help us, the President was listening to Rumsfeld and not to Powell. Here’s what’s wrong with that kind of analysis:

— The President makes the final call if SecDef and SecState disagree or even they agree. If you don’t like the outcome, blame the President. But whoops, it turns out there are not enough voting-age blamers to go around and President Bush just got re-elected, decisively.

— Secretaries of State and Defense SHOULD disagree. It goes with the territory and is a healthy part of making good decisions. The military view of the world sees areas of responsibility, unified commands and missions; the diplomatic view sees geographic regions and use of force as an element of overall foreign policy. Each has a different constituency of troops or employees and interests both at home and overseas. Diplomads who work a lot with our military counterparts find that we have healthy disagreements all the time. It’s not a problem

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