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[casi] rumsfeld then and now

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dear all
another internal memo leaked from the bowels of the u.s. department of
defense, speaks unmistakably of the failures of the wars on "terror", afghanistan,
and iraq. when the war on vietnam was becoming "unwinnable", the same mr
rumsfeld posed similar rhetorical questions in the early 70's and in the process
became an irritant to nixon and his national security adviser, henry kissinger. i
sense he is now trying to "pressure" condeleeza rice in the same way, and
will surely irritate bush (not that i care!)...he seems to forget that he has
been the architect of the ill-conceived and intellectully and morally corrupt
current policies, and cannot, in contrast to earlier behavior, play the pontius
pilate. absurd? certainly. and "no exit" from these can be envisioned...after
"a long, hard slog". sad!

October 22, 2003
Rumsfeld Memo Questions Effectiveness in Terror Fight

ASHINGTON, Oct. 22 — Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has predicted
eventual victory in Iraq and Afghanistan, but only after "a long, hard slog," and
he has pressed Pentagon officials to rethink strategy in the campaign against
"Are we winning or losing the global war on terror?" Mr. Rumsfeld asked in a
recent memorandum. He went on to ask whether the Defense Department was
changing fast enough "to deal with the new 21st-century security environment."
The memo, first reported in Wednesday's issues of USA Today, was sent last
week to Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Deputy
Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz; Gen. Peter Pace, the vice chairman of the
Joint Chiefs, and Douglas J. Feith, the under secretary of defense for policy.
Mr. Rumsfeld saw a mixed record in the battle against Al Qaeda terrorists.
"We have put considerable pressure on them," he said. "Nonetheless, a great many
remain at large." He said the United States had made "reasonable progress in
capturing or killing the top 55 Iraqis" from Saddam Hussein's ousted regime,
but had had less success tracking down leaders of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The Secretary went on to ask whether the Pentagon needed "to think through
new ways to organize, train, equip and focus to deal with the global war on
"Are the changes we have and are making too modest and incremental?" he
asked. "My impression is that we have not made truly bold moves, although we have
made many sensible logical moves in the right direction, but are they enough?"
At the Pentagon today, an official tried to deflate any notion that Mr.
Rumsfeld's memo reflected a deeper pessimism than he has so far expressed in public
about the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan and the United States' efforts to
deal with terrorism.
Powell Moore, the assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs,
said Mr. Rumsfeld was simply "trying to ask the kinds of questions that need to
be asked, that any leader should be asking."
At another point, Mr. Moore said the Secretary was trying to encourage
defense officials "to look up and look beyond the tree tops."
The White House press secretary, Scott McClellan, who was traveling with
President Bush in Australia today, told reporters that Mr. Rumsfeld was simply
doing "exactly what a strong and capable secretary of defense" should be doing.
"The president has always said it will require thinking differently," Mr.
McClellan told reporters, according to The Associated Press. "It's a different
type of war."
In fact, Mr. Rumsfeld has said many times in public that, while he sees
progress in Iraq and Afghanistan, the people of the United States must be prepared
for a long, hard mission.
Moreover, Mr. Rumsfeld is known for prodding his subordinates with memos and
questions, and it is no secret that he has been trying to change the very
culture of the Pentagon, an enormous bureaucracy that has often been resistant to
change, as previous defense secretaries have discovered.
On the other hand, the memo could be grist for debates on Capitol Hill as
lawmakers ponder how much to spend on Iraq and Afghanistan, and how long to keep
troops there. Another question, perhaps unanswerable, is who leaked the memo,
and why.

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