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A King Rat Inches His Way Off Sinking Ship

11.18.2005 06:19 | DISPATCHES

In "Wrestling with History" (the November 13 Sunday Washington Post Magazine), David Von Drehle provides some of the deepest insight yet into ex-college wrestler Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. He reports on a memo which Rumsfeld periodically reminds everyone he walked President Bush through before the invasion of Iraq. It listed 29 bullet points on what could go wrong. Drehle writes:

"This subtle distancing explains why the memo has joined other actions and inactions, statements and omissions [on Rumsfeld's part] as evidence, for some of the Iraq war's strongest supporters, that the man atop the Pentagon, despite his bravura, may not have had his whole heart in this war."

Rumsfeld planned to pull the invasion force out of Iraq as soon as possible, he pushed for less training time for National Guard units, and, in general, he sought to limit the amount of money, troops, staff and supplies for the war.

Was this his way of acting out his opposition to the invasion and showing up Neocons like Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, who conceived the Iraq strategy? No, Iraq was just getting in the way of Rumsfeld's legacy--a high-tech military of the future.

Rumsfeld's fatal flaw is that he failed to recognize that by holding fast to his agenda--a light-footed military--he became as rigid an ideologue as the Neocons with their unworkable Mid-East strategy.


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