Rumsfeld's resignation almost inevitable, UNT military historian says

Thursday, November 9, 2006
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Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's resignation was almost inevitable due to increasing opposition to the war in Iraq and a Democratic majority in both the U.S. House and the Senate after this week's midterm election, says the director of the University of North Texas' Military History Center.

"A new Democratic majority would have subjected Rumsfeld to the oversight he has not been subjected to by the Republicans, which means he would have been on Capitol Hill defending his strategy," says Dr. Geoffrey Wawro, the Major General Olinto Mark Barsanti Professor of Military History at UNT. "This all seemed a bit much for him. At the same time, it allowed President Bush to preempt the inevitable opposition of a Democratic majority by offering Rumsfeld's head on a plate."

Bush nominated former CIA chief Robert Gates to replace Rumsfeld. Gates, the current president of Texas A&M University, headed the CIA from 1991 to 1993 under the leadership of George H.W. Bush.

Wawro says Gates' nomination "shows that we are seeing a flight from ideology and a reversion to pragmatism, at long last."

"Gates is an interesting guy and a smart guy, and he will integrate the proposals of the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group and the legitimate concerns of the new Democratic majority in Congress (and of the American people), and integrate them into a new course for the Iraq War," he says.

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