The word I
keep hearing is that we can expect increasingly open conflict between Don Rumsfeld and the branch of neoconservatives
who really take democratic imperialism seriously. Actually, given the players involved, that probably means increasingly public attacks on Don Rumsfeld coming from neoconservatives.
The rub is the troop strength issue. Rumsfeld wants no more US troops and may even want to use the situation as a laboratory for testing various theories of defense transforming -- more gizmos, less manpower.
The neocons -- or at least some of them -- really believe in their own kind of brand of nation-building. They want to see more troops in the country. But they don't want those troops to be Bulgarians or Bangladeshis or anyone else but Americans. If that means dramatically expanding the US Army, fine.
Then look at this article in Wednesday's Post. There's yet another big push coming from the administration to bring in the UN -- something that seems to happen the day after every major truck bombing. But the Post says the following ...
A senior administration official said that Marine Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had recently begun lobbying key members of the administration to support a U.N. resolution. The official added that the Joint Chiefs of Staff have become "much more interested in this than before," because they know a new resolution is necessary for them to attract new peacekeeping forces to Iraq.
The defense official said Gen. John Abizaid, the new head of the U.S. Central Command and the top commander in Iraq, and Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have been "strongly engaged in the internationalization effort, to include a new U.N. resolution."
article doesn't quite draw the inference explicitly. And at this point I'm just speculating. But that sounds a lot like Rumsfeld's chiefs are doing an end-run around him. Acrimony between Rumsfeld and the Chiefs would be nothing new. It almost cost him his job before 9/11. But their willingness and ability to buck him would be something new. At least new in the post-9/11 world.
In foreign affairs, Rumsfeld has resolutely pursued policies based on the maxim that it's better to be feared than loved. On the domestic front, however, there seems to be a growing number of groups who neither fear him nor love him. At a certain point you've got to wonder where that leads.