09 November, 2006
Squeezed by the Republicans` defeat in mid-term congressional elections, the controversial Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has become the first victim of the "winds of change" in America as US President George W. Bush admitted that a general dissatisfaction with his administration`s Iraq policy contributed to his party`s defeat.
Announcing that Donald Rumsfeld was stepping down, Mr. Bush appointed a former CIA Director Robert Gates as the new defence secretary to oversee America`s strategy in Iraq.
Mr. Bush`s announcement about Rumsfeld`s departure at White House came less than an hour after speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi urged him to sack the secretary as a goodwill gesture towards the American people who, she said, had rejected the Bush
administration`s Iraq strategy.
Rumsfeld is one of the key architects of this strategy and is believed to have played a decisive role in convincing Mr. Bush to stay the course in Iraq despite the loss of nearly 3,000 American and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives.
Rumsfeld, a former Navy pilot and congressman, became America`s 21st Defence Secretary on Jan. 20, 2001 and was one of the longest serving defence secretaries.
Just last week , the US president indicated he wanted Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney to serve through the end of his term in January 2009
Most voters who ousted the Republicans from the US Congress on Tuesday said Iraq was a deciding factor in how they voted.
Mr. Bush acknowledged that Iraq was a key factor but so were the scandals that wracked the party just weeks before the balloting.
"I believe Iraq had a lot to do with the election but there were other factors as well," Mr. Bush said. "People want their congressmen to be honest and ethical. ... Different factors affected different
"It was a thumping`," said Mr. Bush, describing the "cumulative effect" of the vote.
I recognise that many Americans voted last night to register their displeasure with the lack of progress being made in Iraq, Mr. Bush said. Yet I also believe most Americans and leaders here in Washington from both political parties understand we cannot accept defeat.
Here are some questions
1) Does Rumsfeld`s ouster suggest any change in America`s Iraq policy in near future?
2) Has Rumsfeld been made a scapegoat or he actually deserved his exclusion?
3) Keeping in view the Democrats` lead in congress, do you think that the new defence secretary will be able to serve for Mr. Bush in line with Rumsfeld vis-à-vis Iraq ?
4) Do you agree with the analysts that Rumsfeld has become one of most controversial personality in USA due to his role in Iraq, and that his political career is over now?