[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 April 2006, 18:58 GMT 19:58 UK
Bush defends embattled Rumsfeld
Donald Rumsfeld visiting troops in Iraq, December 2005
Donald Rumsfeld's job is safe
US President George W Bush has backed his Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, against calls from former generals for him to resign.

"I'm the decider and I decide what's best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain," Mr Bush said.

In the past month, seven retired generals have called for Mr Rumsfeld to quit over the Iraq war, but the White House said it was happy with his work.

Mr Rumsfeld has also dismissed suggestions that he should resign.

Asked about Mr Rumsfeld at a news conference, Mr Bush said he had "strong confidence" in his defence secretary.

"I hear the voices, and I read the front page, and I know the speculation," he said.

"But I'm the decider and I decide what's best."

'No resignation'

Mr Rumsfeld, who has said he twice offered to resign over the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal in 2004, said he did not intend to do so this time.

CRITICAL RETIRED GENERALS
Maj Gen Paul Eaton, Army
Gen Anthony Zinni, Marines
Lt Gen Gregory Newbold, Marines
Maj Gen John Batiste, Army
Maj Gen Charles H Swannack Jr, Army
Maj Gen John Riggs, Army
Gen Wesley Clark, Army

Asked whether he would consider resigning, Mr Rumsfeld said: "No. He [President Bush] knows that I serve at his pleasure and that's that."

One of the critics, retired Marine Gen Anthony Zinni, told CNN Mr Rumsfeld should be held responsible for a series of mistakes.

The first, he said, was "throwing away 10 years worth of... plans that had taken into account what we would face in an occupation of Iraq".

In a radio interview, Maj Gen John Riggs, a former division commander, said Mr Rumsfeld fostered an atmosphere of "arrogance" among the Pentagon's top civilian leadership.

"They only need the military advice when it satisfies their agenda," he told National Public Radio.

"I think that's a mistake, and that's why I think he should resign."

However, others have come out in support of the embattled defence secretary.

Retired Marine Lt Gen Mike DeLong, who was deputy commander of Central Command as the US military prepared to invade Iraq in March 2003, said Mr Rumsfeld was good at his job.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Watch Mr Rumsfeld defend his decisions



RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific