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SWJED
12-03-2006, 06:03 PM
3 December post by Captain Ed at the Captain's Quarters blog - The Meaning Of Rumsfeld's Leak (http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/archives/008617.php)


Many bloggers have written about the leaked Rumsfeld memo (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/03/world/middleeast/03mtext.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin) published by the New York Times on Friday and confirmed by the Pentagon later the same day, but no one has a better political analysis than Andy McCarthy at NRO's The Corner (http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=NmU2ODM3NDgxZmY4NzVlNGJmZjdiNjJmNDU1OWJjYzU=). Calling this the herald of a "train-wreck" two years of lame-duck status for the Bush administration, McCarthy shows exactly how this will be seen by the people who comprise it:


The memo itself is extraordinarily interesting, even to us non-military types, especially given (a) how little regard Sec'y Rumsfeld seems to have for a lot of the strategy either currently being employed or likely to be proposed by the Iraq Study Group; and (b) how Rumsfeld seems a lot more interested in quick strike capability against al Qaeda and Iran elements than having U.S. forces enmeshed in Iraq's sectarian infighting.

If high officials in wartime, no less figure they better not give their best, most candid advice on sensitive, publicly-charged issues because opposing policy factions are going to leak each other's memos to the press, the initiative and creativity of the smart people we want in government is stifled. And the leaks will be used to portray the administration as disintegrating into rancorous chaos, which avalanche feeds on itself.

Rumsfeld's memo contains a number of initiatives that could be taken, separately or in combination, that would significantly transform our engagement in Iraq. McCarthy has Rumsfeld's intent correct when he says that the former Secretary of Defense obviously wanted to mostly disengage with nation-building tactics in favor of conserving strength for quick strikes. That goes along with Rumsfeld's vision of a light, mobile, and highly responsive military anyway, and would also serve to reduce American vulnerabilities in Iraq while keeping our options for military operations wide open.

That begs the question: is this why Rumsfeld got fired so abruptly? We have heard from inside sources at the White House that Bush intended on replacing Rumsfeld as far back as mid-summer, which would be around the same time as the new Baghdad strategy failed to show the results we expected. However, two weeks before this memo was written, Bush had publicly endorsed Rumsfeld for two more years of service, despite the obvious political damage that would cause the Republicans in the midterms. Two days after Rumsfeld submitted this memo, he was out of a job.

The Bush administration clearly does not want to change its higher-level strategies in Iraq; Bush has made that clear on the eve of the Baker-Hamilton ISG report. If Rumsfeld hoped to pre-empt the ISG, he may have miscalculated his boss' intentions...