Monday, November 21, 2005

It's sinking! Chief Rat on the SS WHIG strapping on his life vest

Don Rumsfeld has been called many things: Clueless Detached, Arrogant, Evil, Incompetent, a Power Mad Warmonger, even a Kung-fu Master of 1,000 syles But the most consistently applied adjective of all is Survivor.


Whatever his moral flaws as a human being, or indeed a chordate life form, it must be said that he is a bureaucrat par excellence. . Dandy Don always keeps his sails trimmed close to the wind and his ass firmly covered in memoranda and directives, all of which clearly show that no matter how much it seemed like he was in charge, whatever went wrong cleary isn't HIS fault


So, it'll come as no shock to you to find out that In an interview with the WaPo Rumsfeld reveals that he never really thought this whole "Iraq thing" was a great idea to begin with; and he has the memo to prove it:



If only he could show us the memo.


"It's still classified, I suppose?" says Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, looking toward his assistant.


"It's still classified," Lawrence DiRita replies, "along with a lot of the underlying planning."


Rumsfeld nods, apparently disappointed. He is interested in sharing the memo because the memo, as he outlines it, demonstrates that his critics are utterly mistaken. He did not dash heedless and underprepared into Iraq. Rumsfeld foresaw the things that could go wrong -- and not just foresaw them, but wrote them up in a classically Rumsfeldian list, one brisk bullet point after another, 29 potential pitfalls in all. Then he distributed the memo at the highest levels, fed it into the super-secret planning process and personally walked the president through the warnings.

...

"It was just on the off-chance we'd end up having a conflict. We didn't know at that stage."


See? We all wrong about Don, unlike those clueless idiots at the WH; he foresaw all the things that could go wrong, and actually wrote them down and warned W about them. So, clearly the resulting fiasco had nothing to do with him right? Right? Hello?


But then, of course Donny has a memo. Guys like him always do; Two, in fact, one for and one against. That way once things are over the appropriate one can trotted out to vindicate his forseight and wisdom.


Fortunately, David Von Drehle is an excellent writer and reporter and didn't take the bait for a microsecond, instead he engaged in a rarely seen journalistic maneuver called "putting things in context":

Some might quibble with Rumsfeld's description of the historical moment. At the
time he wrote the memo, dated October 15, 2002, Congress had recently voted to
give President Bush complete authority to invade Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein.
A White House spokesman had just confirmed that invasion plans were on Bush's
desk -- detailed plans, we now know, which Rumsfeld had been shaping and
hammering and editing for much of the previous year.


In other words, there was far more than an "off-chance" of conflict. All that remained to be done was for the president to reach his official decision. The train was loaded, its doors were shut, and it was ready to leave the station.


Adding a rarely seen degree of difficulty to his feat, our reporter hero then actually examines the motives of Rumsfeld's sudden revelations:



It seems awfully helpful of him to want to share a classified memo written expressly for the president of the United States, who was wrestling with his awesome power to wage war.


But then you wonder: Why did Rumsfeld write that memo, at that moment, and why is he flagging it now?....


Maybe Rumsfeld's memo was written not just for its moment, but also for the future, as proof that he remained sober even in an atmosphere of neoconservative enthusiasm for the war. Although classified, the memo keeps surfacing in this context, always putting a little distance between Rumsfeld and the audacious gamble in Iraq. Five weeks before the invasion, as others were promising a cakewalk, Rumsfeld and his memo surfaced in the New York Times. It surfaced again with Woodward. And now here it is again.



In other words as the fecal matter has begun to impact the rotating assembly of the air-circulation device, Rumsfeld has assiduously sought to clarify his enthusiasm, and indeed support for the actions taken via the US military in the Iraqi theatre.


Well, its a darn good thing Donny has that memo because other wise it certainly seemed like He was the one screwing up


When Army generals called for more troops to occupy the soon-to-be-leaderless country, Rumsfeld pushed for fewer.


When, during the pre-invasion planning, the State Department sent a team of Iraq experts to the Pentagon to help prepare a major reconstruction effort for the aftermath, Rumsfeld turned some of them away.


He cut the time for training National Guard units, including the ones that wound up photographing themselves with naked prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison.


He dominated news briefings and congressional hearings like a tank rolling through small-arms fire, and he gloried in the hand-wringing of weaker souls. Behind the scenes, Rumsfeld and his civilian staff bulldozed skeptical generals and smashed rival bureaucracies in the planning and execution of the invasion


But perceptions can be so misleading. This was Never the Don Rumsfeld show, far from it. In fact, you may be shocked to learn that Rumsfeld was never even consulted on whether this war was a good idea or not: (quoting an earlier interview with the now discredited Bob Woodward)




For there comes a point when even the secretary of defense must realize that "it's not your decision or even your recommendation," Rumsfeld reflected with Woodward. By which he meant the Iraq war wasn't Don Rumsfeld's decision or recommendation.


As if to underline the point, Rumsfeld also told Woodward that he couldn't recall a moment,... when Bush asked whether his defense secretary favored the invasion. Nor did Rumsfeld ever volunteer his opinion.



Amazing that. All that hard work preparing and planning this attack, and not once did anyone bother to stop and say "hey Don, what do you think? Is this whole war thing a good idea"?


And such a pity too, I'm sure he would have been simply bursting with wise counsel that could have helped us avoid all the mistakes we've made. If only someone had thought to ask the Secretary of Defense what he thought about going to war. (Hell, he might have even given them a memo)


This no-so subtle ducking and covering on the part of the SecDef is the surest sign yet that the S.S. Iraq is broken beyond repair and taking on water fast. While W, and Dick are insisting that the bilge pumps are working just fine, and anybody who says otherwise is a traitor and saboteur, the Head Rat in Charge is quietly slipping into his life vest early to avoid the rush. Nobody in Washington has ever had a finer-tuned sense of political meteorology than Don Rumsfeld, he IS the Ultimate survivor, and that means knowing EXACTLY when to get out too



"The ramparts of Washington are littered with the bleached bones of people who said Donald Rumsfeld was not going to survive,"[Assistant Sec Def Lawrence] DiRita says happily. At 73, Rumsfeld is the oldest person ever to run the Pentagon, having also been the youngest when he was appointed for his first tour in 1975. Yet, apart from a slight hearing loss that can seem to wax or wane depending on whether he likes what he is hearing, he bears little sign of age.



Well he's proving that he's still certainly athletic enough to Jump ship isn't he?

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