I stumbled on to another example of blind loyalty by our senior senator. In character for the man who said that the alternative to attacking Iraq was, “we could have attacked North Korea, Iran, or Syria instead,” Senator Hatch said that, “you’d have to tarnish every young American who served over there,” for Donald Rumsfeld’s legacy to be marred by mistakes in Iraq. This suggests that there is no difference of position between the soldiers on the ground and the men that give them their orders.
Just as it is possible for commanders to give good orders which are poorly executed by the men on the ground, so in this case we have had a series of mistakes from those at the top which have generally been well executed by the soldiers on the ground. Thus there is distinctly a difference between the soldiers on the ground and those that give them orders.
If Senator Hatch meant to suggest that making mistakes in Iraq does not prove that Donald Rumsfeld is evil, then I have to agree with him. What he does not acknowledge is that even a good leader may be tarnished by mistakes without becoming a bad leader. For example, the legacy of Robert E. Lee was tarnished by the actions at Gettysburg. Pickett’s charge was well executed by George Pickett and his men, but it was a colossal mistake by General Lee. None of this makes General Lee a poor general. Similarly, the mistakes made in Iraq will surely tarnish the legacy of Donald Rumsfeld without reflecting poorly on the soldiers who served there (not including Abu Ghraib participants). While this tarnish is in fresh view, it should be remembered that the perspective of history will determine whether Donald Rumsfeld was good or not. Either way, we can safely say that Secretary Rumsfeld is no General Lee.