KERRY, A SENATOR from Massachusetts, first said Thursday that Rumsfeld should step down, saying he proceeded in Iraq “in an arrogant, inappropriate way that has frankly put America at jeopardy.”
Dean, the former governor of Vermont, joined the call Friday and added Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz to the list of those who should quit. Dean announced that he was starting a national petition drive on the Internet to demonstrate support for their resignations.
Christine Iverson, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, said Dean and Kerry were “playing a game of political copycat. If John Kerry calls for one administration official to resign, Howard Dean has to call for two.”
Kerry Calls for Rumsfeld's Resignation
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld defended the pace of Iraq's reconstruction Thursday, saying it is going faster in some cases than rebuilding in Germany and Japan after World War II.
"We are on track," he told about 500 people attending the Dwight D. Eisenhower National Security Conference, an annual gathering of national security, foreign affairs and military experts.
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said on television Thursday night that Rumsfeld should resign over Iraq. In answer to a question from CNN's Paula Zahn, the Massachusetts senator accused Rumsfeld of rushing to war without proper planning. "Our military is weaker today," Kerry said. "They're overextended."
From the Paula Zahn Interview:
ZAHN: Do you think Donald Rumsfeld should be asked to resign?
KERRY: Yes. Absolutely. He did not do the planning. He rushed this to war. He has not listened to the military personnel. Our military is weaker today. They're overextended. He and Mr. Wolfowitz proceeded with false assumptions. And in their arrogance they didn't listen to General Shinseki. They kicked him out of the way. They stomped on his reputation. And he was right. It did take more troops.
These people, I think, have proceeded in an arrogant, inappropriate way that has frankly put America at jeopardy, put a young Americans -- I mean, this is not -- you know, this is -- these are young Americans who are now in greater jeopardy in Iraq than they had to be, and it looks more serious for the longterm than it had to be.
ZAHN: Secretary Rumsfeld called for a greater humility in an op- ed piece today. Do you see any scenario under which...
KERRY: Well they didn't show it yesterday. They didn't show it at the U.N. Where is the humility if you're not prepared to say to people some of the things you need to bring them to the table? If they had -- when that statue fell in Baghdad, that was the ripest moment for us to say we need help now in managing the peace. And other countries would have flocked to our side providing we're willing to share some of the power.
But right now America is treating Iraq as a prize. It's a country, and it deserves to be treated within the community of nations through the United Nations. That is the only way ultimately for the United States to get rid of this sense of American occupation and get the target off our troops, and get this administration's hand out of the taxpayers' pocket, so we share expenses.