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Military papers demand Rumsfeld, Myers' resignation

By John Byrne

On Monday, the Army, Marine, Air Force and Navy Times, civilian-owned papers which are effectively the trade papers of the military, ran editorials calling for the ouster of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Myers.


"General Myers, Rumsfeld and their staffs failed to recognize the impact the scandal would not only have in the United States but around the world," the editorial reads. "On the battlefield, Myers and Rumsfeld's errors would be called a lack of situational awareness — a failure that amounts to professional negligence."

The editorial was acquired by CBS and read Sunday by CBS News Chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer.

"This was not only a failure of leadership at the local command level," it continues. "This was a failure that ran straight to the top. Accountability is essential, even if that means relieving top leaders from duty during a time of war."

Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), a veteran and guest on the program, said he was not yet ready to call for Rumsfeld's departure.

"I think accountability must be maintained here," Hagel said. "We don't have all the pieces yet. But I think over the next couple weeks, then the President is going to have to make some hard choices here."

When pressed, he added, "That's the President's decision."

Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) said he agreed with the editorial.

"This is a sad moment," he said. "What we need is the kind of more clarity that occurred when the president stood on top of that rubble with the bullhorn and communicated to the American people he understood their feelings."

"This has jeopardized our troops," he added. "Imagine what Ronald Reagan would be saying today."

Biden clarified his position, saying, "I'm almost reluctant to say that [he should go] ...because that makes it seem like that is the answer to the problem."

Later on the program, Sen. Hagel said he was no longer certain America was winning the war in Iraq.

"I don't know if we are winning this war," he said. "The definition of winning the war, at least for me, is winning the people... so that the people of Iraq can govern themselves and protect themselves."

"What we didn't plan for was an occupation. We failed. We are in a mess."

Schieffer pressed Hagel, who is on the Senate Intelligence Committee, to disclose what he knew about the new photos and videos detailing torture in Iraq. Hagel said there we "many, many" ongoing investigations.

"My understanding is it's probably in the range of 30, maybe more than that, of investigations. Not all are homicides. But we just don't know."

The actual editorial can be read here.

You can view the full transcript from CBS' "Face the Nation" in Adobe PDF by clicking here.

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