Fire Rumsfeld?

Is it time to fire Rummy or, to put it more delicately, is it time for Rummy to retire to Florida or wherever it is that a guy that well-off goes to enjoy his grandchildren and write his book?

Six retired generals are now speaking out saying the secretary of defense has to go.

Here's what Mr. Rumsfeld said to Al-Arabiya television Thursday:

"I intend to serve the president at his pleasure. And the fact that two or three or four retired people have different views, I respect their views, but obviously if out of thousands and thousands of admirals and generals, if every time two or three people disagreed we changed the secretary of defense of the United States, it would be like a merry-go-round."

That's all true. And, by the way, generals are always unhappy with Rummy. For one thing, there are some generals he doesn't listen to, and they probably don't like that.

But I think widely regarded smart guy David Ignatius of The Washington Post may have something for people like me to think about.

Ignatius says the American military finally has it right in Iraq and progress is being made and it may be within our grasp to have a functioning Iraqi government that can take care of itself.

But Ignatius says if we fall short it might be because the American people give up too early. It might be that political pressures here force the president to bail out before we reach our goal.

Ignatius says the reason for the political pressure may be Donald Rumsfeld, and that might be a very good reason for him to offer his resignation. Ignatius says political support for what we are doing might rally with a new Pentagon leader.

If his reasoning is correct, I would side with Ignatius. I don't think Rumsfeld should be punished.

He didn't do anything wrong that should cause him to be dumped. But polls show slipping support, and it is necessary for the administration to rally support for an increasingly unpopular cause.

If replacing Rummy will give the public a new burst of confidence in the Iraq project, then Rummy's resignation would be a good thing.

If it just gave Bush opponents a taste of blood and the resolve to keep moving up the food chain toward the Oval Office, then that wouldn't be a good thing.

Mr. Rumsfeld should think about it.

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