Monday, April 17, 2006

Ford To GOP Candidates: "Replace Rumsfeld With Powell. Let's Ask Bush Together"

Once again Congressman Ford is showing his strength in the area of national security.

Clearly, it is time for Secretary of Defense Donald Rusmfeld to go and Congressman Ford has the courage to say so.

Below is a release that the Congressman put out Monday:

U.S. Senate candidate Harold Ford, Jr. today asked his Republican opponents to join him in calling for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and supporting Colin Powell for the post. In a statement, Ford said:

"For the sake of our country and the safety of our troops, we need new leadership at the Pentagon. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has lost the confidence of his military commanders, Iraqi leadership, Congress and the thousands of American service men and women who bravely and selflessly serve this country.

"When we ask our armed forces to make the commitment and sacrifice necessary to advance our interests and defend or freedoms, our leaders must share the responsibility and accountability. There is no more sacred obligation than to give our troops a strategy and plan to win. Secretary Rumsfeld has failed this test and it is time for him to step down.

"The nation's military and political efforts in Iraq and the Middle East would be significantly improved with the appointment of General Colin Powell as Secretary of Defense. The General possesses the institutional knowledge of the flawed pre-war planning and execution, and the expertise to know how to correct those mistakes. More importantly, he commands credibility, standing and stature in the eyes of war fighters, military leaders and allies -around the globe. The President should give General Powell veto power over every strategic and major military decision made in Iraq and Afghanistan, except for his of course.

"In addition, General Powell's experience resolving complicated and sensitive national security challenges is needed now more than ever. He will bring a respect for our military, a willingness to listen, a capacity to admit and correct mistakes, and an attention to detail that is absent now in the top job at the Pentagon.

"I stand with Generals Zinni, Eaton, Batiste, Swannack and Riggs - all of whom served in Iraq - in the call for new leadership at the Pentagon. Ed Bryant, Bob Corker and Van Hilleary should do the same."

In the last month, senior military, administration and Republican elected officials - current and former - have made the following statements about the mistakes in Iraq.

When asked who should resign, General Anthony Zinni said, "Secretary of Defense, to begin with...those that have been responsible for the planning, for overriding all the efforts that were made in planning before that, those that stood by and allowed this to happen, that didn't speak out...I think they have to be held accountable."

General Anthony C. Zinni (Ret.) - Former Commander, United States Central Command, Sunday, April 2, Meet the Press

"Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is not competent to lead our armed forces. First, his failure to build coalitions with our allies from what he dismissively called "old Europe" has imposed far greater demands and risks on our soldiers in Iraq than necessary. Second, he alienated his allies in our own military, ignoring the advice of seasoned officers and denying subordinates any chance for input. In sum, he has shown himself incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically, and is far more than anyone else responsible for what has happened to our important mission in Iraq. Mr. Rumsfeld must step down."

Major General Paul D. Eaton (Ret.) - United States commander of training Iraqi forces 2003-2004. Sunday, March 19, New York Times

"We went to war with a flawed plan that didn't account for the hard work to build the peace after we took down the regime. We also served under a Secretary of Defense who didn't understand leadership, who was abusive, who was arrogant, who didn't build a strong team."

Major General John Batiste (Ret.) - Former 1st Commander, Infantry Division. April 14, Washington Post

"I really believe that we need a new Secretary of Defense because Secretary Rumsfeld carries way too much baggage with him...Specifically, I feel he has micromanaged the generals who are leading our forces there."

Major General Charles H. Swannack, Jr. (Ret.) - Former Commander, 82nd Airborne Division. Thursday, April 13, CNN

Rumsfeld and his advisers, "grossly underestimated the number of soldiers required for the stability phase. They only need the military advice when it satisfies their agenda. I think that's a mistake, and that's why I think he should resign."

Major General John Riggs (Ret.). Thursday, April 13, National Public Radio.

"It was an enormous mistake for us to try to occupy [Iraq] after June of 2003."

Newt Gingrich - Former Speaker of the House. Monday, April 10

"We made some serious mistakes in the immediate aftermath of the fall of Baghdad...We didn't have enough troops on the ground. We didn't impose our will. And as a result, an insurgency got started, got our of control."

Colin Powell - Former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Saturday, April 8, Chicago.

"The commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions - or bury the results...a fundamentally flawed plan was executed for an invented war, while pursuing the real enemy, al-Qaeda, became a secondary effort."

Lieutenant General Gregory Newbold (Ret.) - Former Director of Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Sunday, April 17, Time Magazine.

Comments: I will be interested to see if Congressman Ford's opponents join him in calling for Rumsfeld to be replaced by Powell.

Personally, I doubt they will because leadership is not in their repertoire. They just don't seem to care about things that really matter.

Stay tuned...

More: CNN has more on the whole Rumsfeld situation.

103 Days

Days of Congressional Inaction on Ethics

Above is the number of days that have passed since Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to bribing Congressman.

It is also the number of days in which Congress has failed to pass an ethics reform bill that would limit private travel, ski and golf junkets, and would call for a full disclosure of expenses by lobbyists on members of Congress.

It is time for Congress to step up and pass an ethics reform bill that would do all of the above. In addition, it is time to end the pork barrel spending system as we know it and establish an independent ethics commission that would review ethics complaints against members of Congress.

I am proud Congressman Harold Ford Jr. is fighting for that reform!

Read Congressman Ford's call for reform of the House rules here!