The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Monday, December 06, 2004  

Or Longer

The New York Times is reporting that Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld expects U.S. troops to leave Iraq within four years, depending on the country’s progress in reaching civil order. (“Rumsfeld Sees U.S. Troops Leaving Iraq Within 4 Years,” by Eric Schmitt.)

Secretary Rumsfeld, speaking with reporters in Kuwait, confirmed he “enthusiastically” accepted the president’s request that he remain at the Pentagon in his second term.

The Times article includes several additional items of interest, including a display of Secretary Rumsfeld, for all his purported decisiveness, passing the buck on weapons, intelligence, and troop levels, here:

Looking back over his first four-year term, Mr. Rumsfeld acknowledged that the two biggest mistakes or misjudgments that had been made -- though not necessarily by him -- were the failure to discover any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (“that’s clearly a disappointment”) and a lack of intelligence that predicted “the degree of insurgency today.”

And here:

Mr. Rumsfeld remained defiant in the face of critics who say the United States failed to send enough troops to Iraq initially to handle postwar security and now, to combat the insurgents.

He said that the decision on troop levels was largely “out of my control,” since he was following the advice and requests of his regional commanders, first Gen. Tommy R. Franks and now, Gen. John P. Abizaid and Gen. George W. Casey Jr.

While that technically may be true, Mr. Rumsfeld approves all decisions on troop levels in Iraq, and is famous among his commanders and top civilian aides for demanding detailed explanations for troop increases and movements.

And then a quick slide down the memory hole:

“The extremists have decided that the Iraqi security forces are a danger to them,” Mr. Rumsfeld said. “Elsewise [sic], why would they be running around trying to kill so many of them?”

Mr. Rumsfeld said the insurgents cannot defeat American forces militarily. “All they can do is try to outlast,” he said.

Sounds awfully familiar.

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