Pessimistic Rumsfeld Memo Leaked
Donald Rumsfeld sent a memo to four of his associates in the Department of Defense on October 16 that worried about how the US is doing in the war on terror. He admitted that there was little in the way of a measurement for progress, but worried that the US had shown insufficient boldness.. He worried that many al-Qaeda operatives still eluded the US, and wondered whether the Pentagon can be reconfigured fast enough to catch them. He also admitted that Iraq and Afghanistan will be a “long hard slag,” and that not as much progress had been made in apprehending top Taliban officials as had been in capturing the top 55 Baathists in Iraq.
On the other hand, the politics of the memo’s release are suspicious. Did Rumsfeld worry that the Bush/Rice “It’s Morning in Iraq” PR campaign made the administration look pollyannaish and naive? Did he feel a dose of realism would actually help the administration with the US public? Is he making the point that Condi’s elevation to head of the Iraq coordination effort is irrelevant, since he is still in charge of Big Think at the powerful Pentagon?