Thursday, November 09, 2006

Rumsfeld

Just as a counter-weight to the prevailing sentiment. About Donald Rumsfeld.

He's got a great bio: elected to the House of Representatives at age 29, worked his way through Washington for nearly two decades before departing for the private sector. There he turned around two companies that were failing, and by all accounts, he did so with panache.

Rumsfeld doesn't sit at a desk, choosing instead to stand all day between two tall tables. Another [article] noted his habit of frequently walking long distances to appointments in the capital, instead of hopping in his security vehicle - to the chagrin of his security detail. The man, while in his early 70s, would work 16 hour days, then routinely beat his subordinates at a squash game, then go home and spend his free time . . . writing a book for his wife about what a great person she is.
Go and listen to the Glenn and Helen Show as well to hear what Austin Bay and Jim Dunnigan have to say about Rumsfeld and his reform of the State Department and the armed forces. Both of them think he will down in History as one of the best Secretaries of Defence ever.

4 comments:

wodge said...

Perhaps, they should start taking their medication again.

In any case, there are at least 3000 American troops and 46,863 iraqis who would disagree with that statement.

NoolaBeulah said...

I'm not in a position to argue for or against Rumsfeld's decisions in Iraq. [BTW, the constant criticism that he didn't send in enough troops is, according to Jim Dunnigan in the Glenn and Helen Show, wide of the mark, since there weren't more troops available.] It was purely on a personal level that the guy appealed to me. I liked the way 1. he didn't talk crap and 2. the way he acknowledged uncertainty.

For example, there was that reply he gave to some journalist self-righteously demanding to know why the Americans were using cluster bombs in Afghanistan. "They're being used on frontline al-Qaeda and Taliban troops to try to kill them." And then there was the famous "known unknowns" and "unknown unknowns", which everybody laughed about, but seems to me just common sense.

wodge said...

He may indeed be a nice guy and may or may not have done some good elsewhere but all that is for ever going to over shadowed by the fact that he was one of the principal "architects of the war in Iraq". And that so far has been an unmitigated disaster. As for the fact that he didn't talk crap, how about the following statement: "...the area in the south and the west and the north that coalition forces control is substantial. It happens not to be the area where weapons of mass destruction were dispersed. We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat." Donald Rumsfeld - March 30 2003

NoolaBeulah said...

OK then, Wodge, he didn't always talk crap.

But the statement you quote, though very awkwardly expressed and showing some of the style of his erstwhile master, was probably true. It is also in these 4 provinces around Baghdad that the violence that fills our news reports occurs. In 4 out of Iraq's 18 provinces. It is not 'an unmitigated disaster'. For most of Iraq, the essential services and the economy are now above the pre-war levels.

And it's not over yet. We're just not used to waiting for anything anymore. After WWII, Italy took a good 4 years to escape the violence of its defeat and it could be said that it wasn't entirely settled until the early 80s and the final defeat of Left-wing terrorism. And Italy was starting from a base well above Iraq's.

Admittedly, this is not a completely analogous situation; the interference in Italy was coming from a lot further away - its immediate neighbours were not basket cases and nor were they wedded to a death-cult. However, the point remains that this will be long. Well, it will be if we have to gumption to stick it out. That's the real prospect for unmitigated disaster: our lack of will.