I disagree with Mark’s “Good” on the occasion of the departure of the odious Cully Stimson from the Defense Department, because as the AP noted, “he … made his own decision to resign and was not asked to leave by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.”
This is not about Stimson leaving; people leave all the time. This is about Gates allowing him to remain a day, never mind three weeks, never mind (apparently) indefinitely, after a speech (not a rumor or a leak or a he-said/she said) that was not a careless slip of the tongue but a considered series of inferential steps. It’s also about Gates allowing a deputy assistant secretary to say a few days later with a straight face that the speech did not reflect his values and still not fire him. Unless we believe in temporary demonic possession, how exactly do you write, rehearse, and deliver such a speech without noticing at some point that it isn’t consistent with your values? You can’t have it both ways: either Stimson was publicly crosswise to the constitution and the American system, and therefore dangerous to the national enterprise, or incompetent to do the part of his job which involves mentation and communication, that is, all of it, and therefore dangerous to the national enterprise. These were the options the day after the speech, and that’s when we should have heard from Gates.
Stimson should have been fired at once, publicly, and for cause, by the SecDef, for subverting exactly the values that entitle the DoD to send its troops into harm’s way. Gates never got around to it, and indeed is still sitting in the wings not saying anything. For this spectacular piece of malfeasance [sic: this was a duty for Gates, not an option] he will forever have a reversible medal with a red C for cowardice on one side and a red C for clueless on the other, worn however he chooses from day to day.