Thursday, January 27, 2005

Feith quits. Why? 

Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, one of the so-called "neocons" in the civilian leadership of the Department of Defense, is going to leave this summer "for personal reasons."

It is interesting that this announcement comes so far in advance of the fact of his departure, and even before the election in Iraq. The long lead time and the absence of any reason other than the usual love-of-family smokescreen suggests that Feith is being marginalized on purpose. The question is whether Feith's departure is a signal of a change in policy at DOD or even deeper in the Bush administration, or just a change in style.

According to TigerHawk's short list of plugged-in Washington guys, Feith is, shall we say, a difficult person often compared to one or another intimate body part. There is some extrinsic evidence of this. As previously reported here, Feith made it easy for the left to claim that we were crapping all over our "traditional allies" in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. From the book Allies at War:
French visitors to Washington were berated by their counterparts, especially in the Pentagon, where officials like Paul Wolfowitz and Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith accused them of defending Saddam Hussein. To a French defense ministry visitor who had come to the Pentagon in December 2002 to discuss possible French participation in a war, Feith said "We don't want you involved! You think you can be Saddam's lawyer for two months without consequences!" Instead of discussing the possible French support, Feith made the derisory proposal that if France wanted to help, it could provide medical units to the Sinai and fighter planes for Iceland to free up the four planes that the United States had deployed there.

Funny, perhaps, but entirely inappropriate in its snarkiness from an official of such rank.

The final question, of course, is whether Feith's departure is a precursor to Rumsfeld's departure or, alternatively, an attempt by Rumsfeld to clean some house so that he can keep his job.

CWCID: Andrew Sullivan.


By Blogger Mover Mike, at Fri Jan 28, 01:52:00 AM:

I was wondering the same about Feith. Good catch and the one about boxing gloves is a riot.
Mover Mike  

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