Just before the November elections, President Bush lied about keeping Secretary Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense for the rest of Bush's term. The very day after the election, Bush announced Rumsfeld's resignation. The conventional wisdom seems to be that this was a tacit acknowledgment that the Iraq war is not exactly going swimmingly well, and that a change was needed.
It looks like Rumsfeld reported to Bush before the election that the Gulf War II was going poorly and that something needed to change:
Prior to his resignation, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld presented a classified memo to the White House acknowledging that the administration's strategy in Iraq was not working and suggesting a major course correction.
Everything about this administration has shown that it is incapable of admitting error. After all, Bush says God Himself told him to fight this war. (If the we don't win the war, was God wrong?) Bush has also said that the conclusions from the Iraq Study Group are crap.
So is it crazy to think that maybe it was this memo that made Bush give Rumsfeld the boot? He was actually fired, rather than retired?
UPDATE: David says in the comments:
I never thought Rumsfeld voluntarily resigned. I've always believed Bush told Rumsfeld he had to go, but allowed him to say he resigned/retired. That allowed Rumsfeld to save face...
Maybe I wasn't clear. I agree with David; I don't doubt Rumsfeld was given the boot. Joe Solmonese says in this week's Advocate:
Rumsfeld is gone. So [Bush has] shown a willingness to change course based on the election results."
What I was trying to say was that there seems to be a prevalent attitude, like Solmonese's, that Rumsfeld was fired because the election went so well for the Democrats and that it was a signal that Bush accepted the need to change his attitude on Iraq.
I think it was the exact opposite. I think Rumsfeld told Bush in this memo that things needed to change and that Bush fired him for daring to do so. They just lied and conspired so that he would leave after the election. That may have been deliberate, so people took this very impression from Rumsfeld's departure, or just so he could save face. Everything we've seen is consistent with this administration being unable to admit error. After all, Bush has said God Himself told him to go to war, so how could it fail?