Jason Scruggs didn’t believe Donald Rumsfeld would ever go.
The senior philosophy major said he’d heard speculation of the Secretary of Defense’s resignation on television.
“I was like, ‘yeah right,'” Scruggs said Wednesday, enjoying a Sunshine Wheat in the Ramskeller.
When he found out Rumsfeld had stepped down, though, Scruggs said he was glad.
“He’s been caught contradicting himself so many times,” he said. “He has such a blatant disregard for the truth and the best course of action (in Iraq).”
Sipping on an Easy Street, Brant Landers, a friend of Scruggs said, “Getting Rumsfeld out is at least a step in the right direction.”
A new perspective on the war on terrorism would be welcome, Landers said.
“A change of ideas at this point is good regardless (of who takes Rumsfeld’s position),” said Landers, a senior biology major.
Rumsfeld had come under scrutiny in the past year for his handling of the increasingly unpopular war in Iraq.
Bill Chaloupka, chair of the political science department, said he saw Rumsfeld’s resignation coming.
“By New Year’s,” he’d predicted while watching election coverage Tuesday night, he said.
Chaloupka said the move was most likely a sign of changing policies in the Bush administration. He pointed to the naming of Robert Gates, an insider from George H. W. Bush’s administration, as Rumsfeld’s replacement.
A large rift exists between the first Bush administration’s policies and those of the current administration with Rumsfeld in power, he said.
“(Gates’) appointment tells me that there will be a policy change,” Chaloupka said.
Scruggs differed slightly.
“I’m not entirely optimistic of the next pick for defense secretary,” he said. “But it can’t be worse.”
Waiting for a friend, sophomore political science major Megan White said Rumsfeld’s resignation was also a surprise to her.
White called the move a public relations stunt on the part of the White House.
“If they get rid of the figurehead (of the war in Iraq), they get rid of the blame,” she said.
“He’s a war-hawk,” White said of Rumsfeld. “His interests are bound up in the military-industrial complex. He’s not interested in what’s best for the country, but what’s best for his interests.”
With massive shifts in power in Congress and among governors, Chaloupka said the Bush administration understood that it was time for a change.
“Politics are involved in these decisions,” he said. “There were people in the Bush administration who understood that for the future of (the Republican party), the change was necessary.”
Staff writer Geoff Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.