While Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will step down � and former CIA director Robert Gates will replace him, not all soldiers are pleased with the news.
A surprised Sgt. Jeff Brazier said he thought it was �a bad decision.�
�I�m disappointed,� the 31-year-old soldier stationed at Fort Benning, Ga., said Wednesday. �I didn�t have any problems with Rumsfeld.�
A soldier with the 29th Infantry Regiment at Benning, Brazier said he thinks the decision is a �response to political pressure and not a response to how well [Rumsfeld] has done his job.�
�This is a direct reflection of the polls.�
Before being assigned to the 29th, Brazier deployed to Iraq in 2003 with the 101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell, Ky. He said he hopes the decision to replace Rumsfeld won�t lead to the U.S. military leaving Iraq prematurely.
�This does not affect our efforts to carry on with the war,� said Army spokesman Paul Boyce in Washington. �We have a great deal of respect for Mr. Rumsfeld.�
�You just continue in a thorough manner to make certain the troops are cared for and provided for."
�For us, the civilians and soldiers, it�s fantastic news,� said Spc. Jason Hartley, of the New York National Guard�s 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment. �You couldn�t do much worse than the way things are going now in Iraq.�
A senior active-duty officer in Washington, D.C., agreed, calling Rumsfeld�s resignation �a good move. With all these generals coming out against him and all, it was probably time for him to go.� The officer, who declined to be identified, recently returned from a year in Ramadi, and added that �It�s pretty bad over there.�
The Gates choice, said Spc. Harley, is �not a horrible one. This at least seems like a rational nomination,� said Harley, who spent most of 2004 in Iraq.
�At first glance I can�t think of anything majorly wrong about what we�d want to know about this guy.�
The sergeant agreed. �I�m sure the administration will choose someone else that is qualified to do the job,� Benning�s Brazier said. �But I am concerned that this will be the beginning of something where they will buckle under the pressure and be tempted to look for an easy way out of Iraq,� Brazier said. �The easy path is not going to be the right one to take in this situation.�