(I)t will be interesting after this memo to see how the press and the Democrats approach Rumsfeld. They have made him the Devil incarnate for the last three years for his prosecution of the war. Now that he has endorsed a lighter approach to Iraq, similar to what the media and the opposition have demanded, will they rehabilitate Rumsfeld as a "wise man" on the war?First, I can't seem to recall the press attacking Rumsfeld. Sure, I remember the neocons who supported the war saying he should be fired for fucking up their little adventure, but the press has always been more than deferential to the man--ridiculously so. Rumsfeld just couldn't stand it when the press actually reported what he said. For example, when he talked about the beginnings of WWII and those who appeased Hitler, he went on to say
I recount that history because once again we face similar challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism. Today -- another enemy, a different kind of enemy -- has made clear its intentions with attacks in places like New York and Washington, D.C., Bali, London, Madrid, Moscow and so many other places. But some seem not to have learned history's lessons.When the press reported it and Americans reacted negatively, Rumsfeld started up his spin machine and the Deputy Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Dorrance Smith machine-gunned letters to the editor of dozens of newspapers, whining that "secretary never mentioned any critics of the Iraq war in his remarks." This is clearly bullshit. Throughout his speech Rumsfeld tied what he called the "moral confusion" of the pre-WWII era to the current day, going so far as to say that, "It seems that in some quarters there's more of a focus on dividing our country than acting with unity against the gathering threats."
We need to consider the following questions, I would submit:
With the growing lethality and the increasing availability of weapons, can we truly afford to believe that somehow, some way, vicious extremists can be appeased?
You can't blame the press--which treated him with kid gloves for most of his tenure--for writing what he said.
Second, do I think Rumsfeld has proved his genius now that we know he came around to suggesting--possibly, maybe--"modest withdrawals of U.S. and Coalition forces...so Iraqis know they have to pull up their socks"? Hell no. The bastard waited until the day before the mid-term election to suggest this ass-saving policy after castigating and ridiculing those who suggested just such a thing a year earlier by saying that "a big debate in the United States" encourages terrorists.
In the memo leaked Friday, Rumsfeld wrote that "continu(ing) on the current path" would be a bad idea. It's pitiful that he clearly ignored the destructive nature of the path he had laid out for our troops until politics demanded he face it.