The White House just released the following statement from the president in response to calls for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld:
"Earlier today I spoke with Don Rumsfeld about ongoing military operations in the Global War on Terror. I reiterated my strong support for his leadership during this historic and challenging time for our Nation.
"The Department of Defense has been tasked with many difficult missions. Upon assuming office, I asked Don to transform the largest department in our government. That kind of change is hard, but our Nation must have a military that is fully prepared to confront the dangerous threats of the 21st Century. Don and our military commanders have also been tasked to take the fight to the enemy abroad on multiple fronts.
"I have seen first-hand how Don relies upon our military commanders in the field and at the Pentagon to make decisions about how best to complete these missions. Secretary Rumsfeld's energetic and steady leadership is exactly what is needed at this critical period. He has my full support and deepest appreciation."
Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.