Nobody Wins in Durham

Nobody knows how to work the room like Donald Rumsfeld. Regardless of whether you think he should stay or go — you've got to give him credit for sticking to his guns — so to speak.

Here is an e-mail I received that is like many others:

"I served 30 years in the Army. Donald Rumsfeld is the best Secretary of Defense that has served in my lifetime. I apologize for the six generals who have spoken out against Mr. Rumsfeld, it is apparent they seek wealth and stardom above their honorable service to this great nation."
Ron Watson
First Sergeant, U.S Army, retired

U.S Army, retired. Interesting. Secretary Rumsfeld, as he pointed out today, has changed a lot of the way the military works and many folks, like most of the six generals in the Army, are not happy with him.

It's called "Transformation" and it has eliminated bases and outmoded equipment, shelved projects that have in some cases employed entire towns. He has also elevated Marines to positions of power in the military that were formally held by members of the Army. He has focused on "Special Forces" and ways to make our military ready to face the unique challenges presented by the enemy we face in the War on Terror.

This is his explanation for why these generals want him out. There may a great deal of truth in that. I also don't doubt that these generals have great reservations about what is happening in Iraq and in the War on Terror.

But as the secretary said — he is doing the job he was appointed to do — by the president, who was elected by the people. What would be the ramifications of a Rumsfeld resignation? What message would it send to the Middle East? To our troops? We are a society that wants immediate results, but evolution in the Middle East will take some time. The president said today, in his often less than eloquent, but effective way — "I am the decider."

He is sticking by Donald Rumsfeld and his plan that seeks to protect America by taking the fight to the enemy. Six generals are not and they are not alone. History will be the ultimate "decider."

In Durham, nobody wins.

The woman who danced at the lacrosse party, resorted to working for an escort service to provide for her two children and stay in school. It would have been better for her, given everything that's happened, if she could have made ends meet another way. She says she didn't want her family to know how she was making money. Now they do. She may be telling the truth about what happened that night; she may not. But she was clearly better off before she went there that night.

Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty were clearly better off before that night. They've been charged with rape, assault and kidnapping. They may be guilty; they may not. But what we do know is that it wasn't long ago that their families must have been so proud, so elated that their sons were heading to Duke — a great university and a terrific opportunity for any young student.

The lacrosse coach had to resign because of what happened that night. He's supposed to be the captain of the ship and the ship was recklessly driving into rough water.

Ryan McFadyen, wrote an e-mail that got him thrown out of school. We don't know what possessed him to write those vile things. But no doubt, he is in dark days.

What we do know is that if the lacrosse players hadn't decided to hire dancers for their party that night (is this what they call entertainment in college these days?) this story would never have been written. Now the justice system is in motion and we can hope — hope — that it provides justice, whatever it is.

See you tomorrow,

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