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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

US House Armed Services Committee

US House Armed Services Committee
Press Release

For Immediate Release:
May 7, 2004

Contact:

Harald Stavenas    or Angela Sowa
(202) 225-2539

 


STATEMENT OF HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN REGARDING SECRETARY OF DEFENSE DONALD RUMSFELD

 

Donald Rumsfeld is doing a good job.   

As Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, I have found Secretary Rumsfeld to be an effective manager of our military forces in the war on terrorism. 

Whether he is an effective leader of our military department, not his friendships on Capitol Hill, should and must be the basis on which he is judged. 

One-million three hundred thousand active Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force personnel have their well-being and in some cases their lives dependent on Secretary Rumsfeld's judgment. 

That judgment, in operating against terrorist forces in two major theaters, Iraq and Afghanistan, has been excellent. 

Both theaters are complex and dangerous, requiring innovation and constant work with theater military leadership and allies. 

Any Secretary of Defense today has hundreds of issues crossing his desk daily.  He cannot allow any single issue to dominate his agenda.

The abuses at Abu Ghraib prison, which have resulted in six military personnel being recommended for courts-martial are, in isolation, serious.  However, the proposition that Secretary Rumsfeld should drop his focus on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and devote all his time to Congressional and media hand-holding, is not acceptable. 

A Secretary of Defense, to be effective, must keep working. 

Secretary Rumsfeld's military commander in Iraq, General Sanchez, immediately initiated an investigation on January 16, 2004, and announced that investigation to the world media at the same time.  The investigation resulted, to-date, with three persons being recommended to the U.S. Army Court Martial Convening Authority for general courts-martial. 

Simply put, the wheels of Army justice are moving and, as the nation knows, will move much quicker than the domestic justice system. 

Now, the Secretary must be allowed to get back to work on the war and the 135,000 troops in Iraq who are serving with honor and courage. 

In our nation's history, we have at times had defense leaders who were picked because of connections with the political establishment. 

Invariably, these appointments, political in nature, resulted in increased casualties on the battlefield. 

Even Rumsfeld's enemies must concede that the Secretary's strong point is his effectiveness in the war theaters. 

In war that should be the only thing.   

We are at war; we need Secretary Rumsfeld.

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House Armed Services Committee
2120 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515



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