Blame Rumsfeld (Part 1 …)

Donald Rumsfeld is the ultimate punching bag.

Not only did he screw up the Iraq War, he also left the Bush Administration. That makes him the perfect target both within Republican circles and without. So forget about the careerist generals who let themselves get rolled by the Donalator, nevermind the Congressional overseers who looked the other way and — oh yes — forget about that other guy who is supposed to have a sign on his desk saying: "The buck stops here."

It is all Rumsfeld’s fault.

That certainly seems the thrust of the first book we’ve seen that solely examines the total legacy of this man. The book, by "national security insider" Andrew Cockburn is called "Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall and Catastrophic Legacy".

And Cockburn really means it when he says "catastrophic".

Fun fact: Rumsfeld didn’t just foul things up in the Middle East. Cockburn also blames Rusmfeld for unleashing aspartame on an unsuspecting public and playing a major role in the electoral downfall of Gerald R. Ford in 1976. (Aspartame? Yes.)

Cockburn does better when he sticks to his knitting with the national security gossip circuit. His accounts of Rumsfeld’s impact on weapons technology bear the mark of an amateur. For example, Texas and South Dakota will be surprised to learn that the entire B-1 fleet is based in Kansas. And The DEW Line was bemused to read that the military has nothing to replace the Milstar satellite constellation if Rumsfeld’s beloved Transformational Satellite Communications (TSAT) system isn’t ready before 2014 (er, what about Wideband Gapfiller? What about the Advanced Extremely High Frequency constellation? For that matter, what about cheap commercial transponders?).

Someday, history will give us a fair account of the Rumsfeld legacy, which to be sure will make for some gruesome reading. Until then, we’ll have to make do with hatchet jobs like this.

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3 Responses to Blame Rumsfeld (Part 1 …)

  1. Jim 20 February, 2007 at 3:27 pm #

    Don’t you hate it when someone writes the book you really want to see written…and then they screw it up?

    A careful assessment will show that Rumsfeld was, indeed, one of the principal architects of a flawed plan, but that he was aided and abetted by many many people in and out of government.

    One of my favorite milbloggers, Col. (Ret.) Pat Lang, says the ultimate blame rests in America’s cultural DNA, our view of American Exceptionalism (remember Seymour Martin Lipset?), and our unshakable belief that we know what’s best for everyone…including Iraqis.

    He makes a good case:
    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2007/02/what_iraq_yells.html

  2. TrustButVerify 23 February, 2007 at 4:08 pm #

    Andrew Cockburn lost his credibility with me after he published “The Threat” in the early Eighties. He’s very good at complaining about the U.S. military, and equally adept at simultaneously underestimating and overestimating our adversaries. Hatchetman is right.

  3. The DEW Line 25 February, 2007 at 8:03 am #

    TBV,
    Thanks, great comment. I haven’t read “The Threat”, or anything else by Andrew Cockburn. To be fair, you can learn some things about Rumsfeld by reading the book, but you have to read it with the understanding that you are not reading a scholarly text. You won’t find a single balancing sentence in the entire book. That’s Cockburn’s right as the author, and I’m sure his audience will love it, but it’s disappointing.

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