December 15, 2003

The Strange Case of the Non-Greedy Secretary

It's something of a truism that all bureaucratic organizations want more people, more money, and more influence. So why is DoD secretary Donald Rumsfeld fighting against a larger force structure?

I speculated in A Hypothetical Scenario that we're in something of a military bind, needing a larger force structure but with the administration unwilling to ask for one unless they are absolutely sure that it will be passed by large margins in Congress.

I have repeatedly since then looked for evidence debunking this scenario. So far, this is the first I've come across that there might still be a bipartisan patriotic majority. It still has a crazy Kabuki dance kind of feel to it with everybody playing stylized roles in order to move the story along without great conflict. You have a DoD Secretary playing B'rer Rabbit and saying that there is no analysis that shows we need more troops. You have the Chairman and Ranking Minority member of the House Armed Services Committee spearheading a move to twist the reluctant B'rer Rabbit into the briar patch of a bigger military.

What's the point, you might ask. Well, the temptation to play to the crowd, to create a fight and play populist resister to the evil militarist Republican meanies has got to be very tempting for the Democrat party right about now. The Bush administration has carefully avoided playing the set piece pinata in that script. They aren't likely to change now. Yet we need more conventional forces breathing room. It seems like the adults in both parties have worked out a reasonable compromise. The Democrats get to show they're militarily serious and avoid losing a huge swath of middle america. The Republicans get the troops they want without being abused for being militarist.

Good show all around.

Acquire, Identify, Engage for pointing to the article.
Intel Dump for pointing to Acquire, Identify, Engage.

Posted by TMLutas at December 15, 2003 01:54 PM