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Thread: Donald Rumsfeld's sharp elbows

  1. #1
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    Default Donald Rumsfeld's sharp elbows

    "... The finest secretary of defense this nation has ever had."
    - US Vice President Dick Cheney

    "The past was not predictable when it started."
    - Donald Rumsfeld



    On a farewell flight to Baghdad in early December, the departing US secretary of defense reminisced about his start in politics more than 40 years before. Aides leaned in to listen intently, but came away with no memorable revelations. It hardly mattered. As usual with this man who dominated government as no US cabinet officer before him - including the power-ravenous Henry Kissinger he so despised and outdid in effect, if not celebrity - authentic history and Don Rumsfeld's version of it bore little resemblance.

    There was portent in those beginnings. He came out of an affluent Chicago suburb in the 1950s with brusque confidence and usable contacts at Princeton, among them Frank Carlucci, a future defense secretary of mediocre mind, yet the iron conceit and shrewd fealty far more effectual in government than intellect or sensibility. After college and two years as a US Navy pilot, Rumsfeld did politic stints as a Capitol Hill intern and Republican campaign aide, and by age 29, back in Chicago in investment banking, was running for Congress.

    As with much to come, a darker thread lay beneath the surface from the start. In a Republican primary tantamount to election, he was outwardly the boyish, speak-no-evil, underfunded, underdog challenger of an old party stalwart set to inherit the open seat. In fact, he was generously financed by wealthy friends, while his operatives - including Jeb Stuart Magruder of later Watergate infamy - furtively harried and smeared his opponent, using tactics never traced to Rumsfeld.

    Much more here:

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/IB16Aa01.html

  2. #2
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Roger Morris, who served in the US State Department and on the senior staff of the National Security Council under presidents Lyndon B Johnson and Richard Nixon, resigned in protest at the invasion of Cambodia. He then worked as a legislative adviser in the US Senate and a director of policy studies at the Carnegie Endowment, and writes this Rumsfeldian history from intimate first-hand knowledge as well as extensive research. A visiting honors professor at the University of Washington and research fellow of the Green Institute, he is an award-winning historian and investigative journalist, including a National Book Award Silver Medal winner, and the author of books on Nixon, Henry Kissinger, Alexander Haig, and the Clintons. More recently, he co-authored with Sally Denton The Money and the Power, a history of Las Vegas, Nevada, as the paradigm of national corruption. His latest work, Shadows of the Eagle, a history of US covert interventions and policy in the Middle East and South Asia over the past half-century, will be published this year by Knopf.
    While the author takes many jabs at Rumsfeld and others, his over the top venom puts him in the same class of man he seeks to disparage. A former State Department official by his bio, he knows absolutely nothing about the US military beyond what he has created in his own dark mind.

    Spare yourself the read unless you feel the need to suffer.

    Tom
    Last edited by Tom Odom; 04-13-2007 at 01:26 PM.

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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Tom,

    I am by no means a Rumsfeld fan. That said, I would much rather read objective critical pieces on his handling of OIF - not another rehash of someone's opinion on a 'personal level'. History will not treat SECDEF Donald Rumsfeld well - but let serious historians handle it - not hacks. JMHO - though I am not so humble on this subject.

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    I'll give Rummy credit for staying on his feet as long as he did - the man worked literally standing at his desk. He had no compunction about killing and that made him ruthless but no more so than many others.

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    Default Rummy's legacy

    It is both difficult and unfair to make a solid evaluation of the Rumsfeld second tenure as SECDEF. Nevertheless, a re-reading of Bob Woodward's Bush at War provides a telling critique of Rummy - much of it in his own words in on the record interviews. Woodward's trilogy including Plan of Attack and State of Denial are worth second looks along with The Commanders as background.

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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Two more...

    Quote Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
    It is both difficult and unfair to make a solid evaluation of the Rumsfeld second tenure as SECDEF. Nevertheless, a re-reading of Bob Woodward's Bush at War provides a telling critique of Rummy - much of it in his own words in on the record interviews. Woodward's trilogy including Plan of Attack and State of Denial are worth second looks along with The Commanders as background.
    I'd add Fiasco and Cobra II to the list of recent books for insights.

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    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    I would actually hazard a prediction that he'll go down in much the same vein as McNamara has.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

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    Council Member sullygoarmy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWJED View Post
    I'd add Fiasco and Cobra II to the list of recent books for insights.
    Also Imperial Life at the Emerald City and Assassin's Gate to get a good feel for the results of some of Rummy's decisions, influences and followers.

    Read the article at the beginning of the thread...you were right Tom, there's 10 minutes of my life I'll never get back!
    "But the bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet withstanding, go out to meet it."

    -Thucydides

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