Friends and foes alike know Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld does not easily bend. And they suggest at least five reasons why he's unlikely to bow under the current battering
1. It is not the Rumsfeld way -- He is tough and approaches his critics head-on. Here's Nixon's view from 30 years ago: "...At least Rummy is tough enough. He's a ruthless little bastard to be sure of that..."
2. Impact on the military -- The future of Iraq is uncertain, Osama bin Laden remains free, and Iran is rattling its saber. Some military analysts say Rumsfeld bears some blame, but others say Rumsfeld's removal would send a dangerous signal of weakness to enemies.
3. White House wants him to remain -- Through Afghanistan and Iraq, Rumsfeld has led this administration's signature initiative, the battle against global terrorism. The White House stands by him and expects the same in return. Here's Scott McCellan's take: "Secretary Rumsfeld is doing a great job overseeing two fronts on the global war on terrorism."
4. Politics -- Critics, such as Democratic Sen. Joe Biden, want Rumsfeld out. "It would energize American forces. It would energize the political environment. Yes, he should step down," Biden said. But this administration, Rumsfeld included, seems unshaken, almost oblivious to its political critics.
5. Personal conviction -- Rumsfeld says the war in Iraq is difficult, but he sees progress. And he thinks newsmakers and news reporters, who he says focus on the negative, are mistaken and defeatist. "The steady stream of errors all seem to be of a nature to inflame the situation and give heart to the terrorists," Rumsfeld said.
In sum, Rumsfeld has lost bureaucratic and political battles in the past, but it is not his nature to ever go down without a fight.