Before the Democratic Party enunciates or even considers a policy on Iraq. The argument that this is a necessary mea culpa, a necessary retreat comes up against the question: retreat to what? Every rearguard action has a fallback line of defense prepared. Since the Democrats have not indicated where they want the retreat to stop, and there is no indication that the President has prepared a fallback position the appropriate term isn't a rearguard action. Retreats without an endpoint have another name. They are called a rout.
There is no sense getting excited about Rumsfeld's resignation. It is but the first step on a long road to ... has anyone decided yet? Therefore the only rational thing to do is relax. Take a loaf of French bread and cut off two slices with a utility saw and make another mayo and peanut butter sandwich. Sooner or later the enemy is going to realize what the Guderian knew in 1940. That it doesn't matter how many men, tanks or forts are serried before you. If there is no mind in opposition, and no awareness of the need to set a mind in opposition, then the road to Paris is open. The bread is theirs. The saw is ours. And the sandwich is good.
In From the Cold profiles Rummy's replacement.
"Regarding Mr. Gates, he is a good man but the wrong one for the job. He spent most of his professional life at the CIA before retiring and becoming the President of Texas A&M University. Robert Gates certainly knows the intelligence end of military affairs, but his expertise ends there. Moreover, his management skills as DCI weren't particularly impressive, and as an analyst, he was part of a CIA team that consistently got it wrong on their assessments of the former Soviet Union. Gates strikes me as a easy confirmation, someone with no ties to the current Pentagon regime. That's probably a necessity in today's political climate, but that doesn't make Mr. Gates the right choice for DoD."
While I'm sure Robert Gates is an intelligent and competent man, he appears from his resume to be a placeholder for the job of Secretary of Defense. Someone to fill the chair until Nancy Pelosi, the President or someone can figure out what to do. How far to retreat. Whether ever to stop. There was never a Democratic policy on Iraq. And now that President Bush has apparently lost his political mandate, there is now an overwhelming endorsement for nothing. Time for another bite of that sandwich. It makes more sense than anything else.