George W Bush has strongly endorsed his defence secretary, who is under pressureto resign. The US president’s expression of support comes after Donald Rumsfeld declaredin an interview that he was confident he would stay in his job. He said he thought the controversy over his leadership in Iraq would pass.
“I listen to all voices, but mine is the final decision and Don Rumsfeld is doing a fine job,” Bush said. “He’s not only transforming the military, he’s fighting a war on terror, he’s helping us fight a war on terror. I hear the voices and I read the front page and I hear the speculation, but I’m the decider and I decide what is best, and what’s best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defence.” Six retired generals, including two who commanded divisions in Iraq and one who trained Iraqi security troops, have demanded Rumsfeld step down. They accuse him of ignoring military advice and intimidating his critics. Other generals have backed him.