Senators React to Rumsfeld Testimony

Reaction to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee:

Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) saying Rumsfeld should resign:
I think the president of the United States should fire the secretary of Defense, Rumsfeld. I think we need a new beginning. I think we need a new secretary of Defense. My own preference would be Secretary Colin Powell. He knows how to win a war in Iraq. Our Iraqi policy is a disaster. The war on terror has been made much more complicated and difficult because of this torture scandal.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) on whether Rumsfeld should remain secretary of Defense:
What I am concerned about, of course, is that, as he just stated, that not all of the facts are in. Indeed, it may be that there will be additional photographs leaked from this confidential criminal investigation. And he has said that some of them are, as the ones we've already seen, shocking to the conscience…

I heard nothing today that undermines my confidence in his ability to act, to continue acting as Secretary of Defense.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) describing key testimony today:
I think there were several points to come out of this hearing. First, we all want to underscore our support and our belief in the vast majority of our troops who are serving with courage under very difficult circumstances in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. And the fact that these horrible abuses took place does reflect on the chain of command as well as the individuals who perpetrated the actions at issue.

I think that the answers to the questions leave a lot more questions still to be pursued. And the forthright statement of the secretary of Defense that his effectiveness going forward is at issue now is one that I agree with.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on whether he expects Rumsfeld to remain in his position:
I thought he did a good job saying "I'm sorry." I'm still unclear about who knew what when and that's important, in terms of how much accountability to assess to someone.…But as to the central question - can you survive as secretary of Defense when certain members of the opposition party are calling for your resignation? - the answer I think is yes…But at the end of the day, you just can't be the Republican secretary of Defense, you've got to be the secretary of Defense for the country. So I hope the course for his resignation will stabilize, there will be less people involved in saying that, and we'll try to understand that he failed us in some ways.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on what was missing from today's hearings:
I still need to know who was in charge of the guards who committed these obscene acts. I was unable to get an answer to that question, and there are many other questions that need to be answered, because the only way we can ascertain responsibility is to make clear who was in charge and who is responsible for these activities. In other words, were the guards instructed by military intelligence? Did they have their own commanders? Did the military intelligence people have authority over them? Those questions still have not been answered.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) on whether he favors Rumsfeld's resignation:
If I thought that his resignation would change the policies of this administration relative to Iraq, I'd be all for it. The kind of failures, the kind of mismanagement which have characterized the waging of this war - it seems to me, it called for changes a long time ago. But I don't see that his resignation would change the policies of this administration, the mismanagement that has resulted from those policies. And from that perspective, I don't think it would result in a change.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn) reacting to the hearings:
I respect and commend the secretary for stepping up and taking the appropriate responsibility. This is a first step. As we all know, there is a lot more information that will be addressed over the coming weeks. The United States Senate as an institution will be fulfilling its responsibility through hearings just like this today.

Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) on whether Rumsfeld should resign:
It is a presidential decision, but in my judgment, Secretary Rumsfeld has measured up to his predecessors. And he responded, I thought, very forthrightly today to tough questions on that subject. And I think that should be the record.

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