President Bush announced Wednesday that Donald Rumsfeld, secretary of defense since 2001, had resigned. Bush made his announcement only hours after the Democratic Party took control of the House – and hours before the Associated Press reported Democrats made up the majority in the Senate. Although the president’s announcement seemed to be rather hasty only a day after elections, many students and faculty members say Rumsfeld’s step down was long overdue.
Ralph Carter, chair of the political science department, said Rumsfeld should have resigned a long time ago.
“He had become more of the problem than the solution,” Carter said.
Valerie Martinez-Ebers, associate professor of political science, said the Democratic Party has been calling for Rumsfeld’s resignation for months.
“They want new leadership in the Defense Department,” Martinez-Ebers said.
President Bush said he will nominate former CIA director Robert Gates to take Rumsfeld’s place. Gates has been the president of Texas A&M University since 2002. Gates also served as an adviser to President George H. W. Bush from 1989 to 1991.
Although Martinez-Ebers is uncertain Gates will be approved by the Senate, she thinks he will not drastically change defense strategies.
“I think he is going to be very supportive of the current Bush strategy,” Martinez-Ebers said.
However, political science professor Manochehr Dorraj said, the new secretary of defense may change strategies, something different from what Rumsfeld intended to do.
“There is a need for change in the course of Iraq,” Dorraj said. “This is a steppingstone to creating a more rational and bipartisan foreign policy.”
Although it is not known whether Rumsfeld stepped down on his own accord or at the request of the president, Bush has said both he and Rumsfeld agreed that “the time is right for new leadership at the Pentagon.”
Matt Yaquinto, a junior philosophy and political science major, said although Rumsfeld’s resignation may lead to a quicker withdrawal from Iraq, this was just a move by Bush to improve his image with the American public.