Login

Not a member? Sign up here.

General Discontent

Senator Feinstein Joins Call for Rumsfeld to Resign

President George Bush sorely needs “a new team and a new
strategy” to achieve his administration’s stated goal of creating a
functioning government in Iraq, Senator Dianne Feinstein said,
joining a chorus of retired U.S. Army generals who have called for
the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in recent
weeks. Addressing several hundred Central Coast business leaders
and government officials gathered at the DoubleTree Hotel,
Feinstein said Rumsfeld’s most grievous error was “a misguided
policy of de-Baathification, which went beyond those who committed
criminal acts and essentially gutted the management and
supervision” of the entire nation. “How long,” she asked
rhetorically, “can [Iraq] go without a government?” If a unified
government cannot be acheived, she said, the next option to
consider is the partitioning of Iraq into three nations.

Feinstein said she favored a diplomatic approach to Iran’s
development of enriched uranium, explaining that the trouble with
preemptive military solutions was that the U.S. was
“extraordinarily weak” in terms of intelligence gathering in the
Middle East. Making matters worse, said Feinstein, preemptive
attacks in the Middle East result in adversaries who believe they
are safe from attack only if they possess nuclear weapons.
Feinstein criticized the administration for contemplating the use
of so-called “bunker busters,” 100-kiloton nuclear bombs that she
said could not, according to the laws of physics, penetrate deep
enough beneath rock to avoid spewing radiation that would kill
hundreds of thousands of people. The U.S. must build international
alliances and engage Iran diplomatically, according to Feinstein.
“You have to talk to people,” she said. “You have to try.”

Feinstein, a moderate Democrat, is often mentioned by name when
antiwar progressives talk about the failure of Democrats to
distinguish themselves from Republicans. Feinstein said that long
ago she decided to “govern from the center,” choosing the best from
both progressive and conservative agendas. On Tuesday, though, she
seemed to play up her leftward leanings, warming up the crowd by
citing her more recent environmental accomplishments, including a
recent expansion of Gaviota State Park, through the acquisition of
coastal and river habitats in Ventura County. She pledged to resist
attempts to open the ocean floor to more oil drilling. On the
subject of global warming, Feinstein said evidence that humans are
causing higher temperatures is “indisputable; it is real,” adding
that she was finalizing a bill to reduce carbon dioxide emissions
by 400 metric tons per year via a “cap-and-trade” policy at home
and abroad, notably in India and China. She would offer economic
incentives for farmers to change tilling practices to reduce
greenhouse gases.

Mindful of the calendar, Feinstein also took on income taxes.
Relying on charts to explain that roughly 60 percent of the money
the federal government spends is not controllable because it’s
spent on entitlements and interest on the federal debt, Feinstein
said that the squeeze is then put on either defense spending or
domestic programs. She called for taxing the rich, listing herself
among them. “Millionaires are receiving an average annual tax cut
of $103,000,” she said, “while funding is reduced for food stamps
and budgets for police departments are cut.”

Login

Not a member? Sign up here.