Saturday, February 5, 2011

Maureen Down Rips the Cover Off Rumsfeld

Here are some bits from Maureen Dowd's NY Times op-ed in which she reviews Rumsfeld's new "autobiography":
So many to blame. So little space.

Donald Rumsfeld has only 815 pages — including a scintillating List of Acronyms — to explain why he was not responsible when Stuff Happened. His memoir, “Known and Unknown,” is like a living, breathing version of the man himself: very thorough, highly analytical and totally absent any credible self-criticism.


The high school wrestling champ doesn’t wrestle with self-doubt. Rummy begins ladling out rationalizations in the preface. “The idea of known and unknown unknowns recognizes that the information those in positions of responsibility in government, as well as in other human endeavors, have at their disposal is almost always incomplete,” he writes. He quotes Clausewitz on the challenge of faulty intelligence and Socrates saying, “I neither know nor think that I know.”

When you think about it, it was really all the fault of his nemesis, George Herbert Walker Bush. Rummy writes how humiliating it was to run for president briefly in the 1988 Republican primary, with no money or name recognition, when front-runner Bush didn’t bother to show up for their candidate forums. Rummy has never hidden his disdain for Poppy, whom he regards as a flighty preppy who didn’t have the brass to march into Baghdad and take down Saddam Hussein. The end of the Persian Gulf war was about manners. The first President Bush had promised the allies he would merely shoo Saddam out of Kuwait, so that’s all he did. Any more would have been “unchivalrous,” as Rummy quotes Colin Powell saying.


There were those in the military who considered Rumsfeld the devil incarnate, and those in diplomacy who considered him more ruthless than any global despot. Rummy dismisses reports of his masterminding as inaccurate rumors.

W., however, loved Rummy’s blunt muscularity and contempt for weakness. “I was still surprised by Governor Bush’s request to see me,” Rummy writes about the president-elect. “He had to be aware that I did not have a close relationship with his father.” At some level, that must have appealed to the wimp-phobic W., who spent more time trying to be Ronald Reagan’s heir than his dad’s.
Go read the original to get a feeling for how Rumsfeld blamed everybody but Rumsfeld for the disaster of the Iraq invasion.

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