On the campaign trail in South Carolina Monday, Arizona Senator John McCain had some tough words for former Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld, calling him "one of the worst in history."
We are paying a very heavy price for the mismanagement _ that's the kindest word I can give you _ of Donald Rumsfeld, of this war," the Arizona senator told an overflow crowd of more than 800 at a retirement community near Hilton Head Island, S.C. "The price is very, very heavy and I regret it enormously."
McCain, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, complained that Rumsfeld never put enough troops on the ground to succeed in Iraq.
Quite naturally, no one at the event--media or retirees--bothered to ask Senator McCain the logical, follow-up question:
Senator, two U.S. administrations--with the backing of Congress--cut six divisions from the U.S. Army between 1988 and 2000. The Marine Corps was cut as well. You were a member of the Senate during that period. What responsibility do you take for the defense cuts that left us with an undersized Army and Marine Corps, and unable to sustain the troop levels supposedly required in Iraq?
That's a question that should be asked of every Senator seeking the White House in '08, even Barrack Obama. True, Senator Obama wasn't in Washington when these troop reductions occurred, but we haven't seen him leading the charge to expand our ground forces, either.
Unfortunately, my travels don't take me to New Hampshire or Iowa, and my visits to the Palmetto State are limited. However, I would encourage any of our readers in those locales to pose my question to the various presidential aspirants. An undersized Army and Marine Corps was something that George W. Bush inherited--not something he created. And for that problem, the finger of blame can be pointed at lots of people, including some Senators who want to move into the Oval Office.