McCain blasts Rumsfeld, but not his boss

Senator John McCain has called Donald Rumsfeld one of America’s worst secretaries of defense.

“We are paying a very heavy price for the mismanagement — that’s the kindest word I can give you — of Donald Rumsfeld, of this war,” the Arizona senator said.

“The price is very, very heavy and I regret it enormously.” McCain told an overflow crowd of more than 800 at a retirement community near Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

McCain, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, complained that Rumsfeld never put enough troops on the ground to succeed in Iraq.

“I think that Donald Rumsfeld will go down in history as one of the worst secretaries of defense in history,” McCain said to applause.

All true enough. But what McCain didn’t mention– and will try to avoid mentioning as long as he is seeking the Republican presidential nomination– is the name of the commander-in-chief (aka “the decider“) who selected Rumsfeld for the job, who refused to accept his resignation after the Abu Ghraib horrors, who insisted he was doing a “fine job” and who kept him in office for years after it had become clear how badly he had bungled the post-invasion mission in Iraq.