UDALL CALLS FOR SECRETARY RUMSFELD TO RESIGN
Urges Nunn or McCain as Replacements
(Westminster, CO) - Congressman Mark Udall (D-CO) released the following statement today calling for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld:
"In his testimony last week, Secretary Rumsfeld rightly said he is responsible for the achievements and the failures of his department - and the world now knows there have been serious failures.
"I find it troubling that the Pentagon didn't respond to these reports sooner, and even more disturbing that Secretary Rumsfeld did not share this information with Congress - or the president for that matter - until after it was brought to light by media reports. While no one has suggested that Secretary Rumsfeld is in any way personally responsible for the abuses at Abu Ghraib, the Secretary's handling of the matter has made the job in Iraq harder.
"We don't want to detract from the heroic efforts of our troops in Iraq. But the fact is that despite those efforts, the effect of the Abu Ghraib pictures remains the same. These abuses - however isolated - have given Islamic militants a powerful weapon to use against America in the eyes of the world. In my view, it will take dramatic and unconventional action on our part to overcome this image.
"Aside from this appalling public relations disaster, there is troubling evidence of concern about Secretary Rumsfeld's leadership within the ranks of our military. I believe there is a question now about his continued effectiveness.
"For these reasons, I have come to the conclusion that Secretary Rumsfeld should resign and clear the way for a new leader at the Pentagon.
"Secretary Rumsfeld's resignation would send a critical message to the world that human rights abuses - no matter where or by whom they are perpetrated - are unacceptable. I do not subscribe to the view that Secretary Rumsfeld is indispensable.
In fact, I am increasingly of the view that replacing Secretary Rumsfeld with someone of less ideological, and more bipartisan stature - like former Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia or Arizona Senator John McCain - would not only help the administration by restoring confidence, new leadership at the Pentagon would help the effort in Iraq."