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Rumsfeld Says He Should Have Quit Defense Post After Abu Ghraib Scandal

3 years ago
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Donald Rumsfeld, known for his tart one-liners as well as his hawkish foreign policy stands, says in a new memoir that he regrets that he did not step down as defense secretary after reports of abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

In "Known and Unknown," Rumsfeld says he wishes he had insisted that President George W. Bush accept his offer to resign after news broke in 2004 of the rough and humiliating treatment of detainees by American jailers. In an account of the book by the New York Times, Rumsfeld blamed the abuses on rogue soldiers -- not any approved policies. But he says that "more than anything else I have failed to do . . . I regret that I did not leave at that point."

The subsequent "drum-beat of 'torture' " by critics became a "damaging distraction," he writes in the book, which is published by Sentinel and due out next week.

As for those snappy wisecracks, the 78-year-old Rumsfeld now says he shouldn't have said "stuff happens" when looting was reported after the fall of Baghdad, and admits that using the term "Old Europe" to diminish France and Germany for not supporting the Iraq War was not all that diplomatic, the Washington Post notes in its report on the book.

But Rumsfeld, for the most part, defends his actions and says the invasion of Iraq was worthwhile because the Middle East "would be far more perilous than it is today" had Saddam Hussein stayed in power. And he says President Bush broached the idea of a war strategy for Iraq just 15 days after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. With the Pentagon preparing to fight al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, the president "asked that I take a look at the shape of our military plans on Iraq," Rumsfeld says.

Rumsfeld also calls Bush a "far more formidable president" than he is given credit for, but says his management style often failed to produce clear objectives during National Security Council meetings. He puts part of the blame for that on then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and also criticizes then-Secretary of State Colin Powell for running an operation at Foggy Bottom that was reluctant to follow Bush's political direction.

For his part, Rumsfeld says he never refused requests from military commanders for more troops for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. But he concedes more boots on the ground may have averted the looting and chaos in Baghdad after the government was toppled.

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7 Comments

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christierandall

Colin Powell was against this war and he tried to talk Bush out of it...but Rummy and Cheney said your either with or your not...so unfortunately Powell
went along with the rest of them

February 03 2011 at 5:37 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
exitar01

Okay from what I'm getting from this article is: I dropped the ball on how many troops should have been there. I dropped the ball on the intelligence that got us in the war. I dropped the ball when tactics strategy and post war plan. I dropped the ball by not retiring. I dropped the ball by not being aware of what transpired with detainee lockups. Yet none of this was my fault and the war was still a good idea. Its Rice's fault. It's Powell's fault. It's Bush's fault. It sounds like he had nothing to do with the war at all.

February 03 2011 at 1:13 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
pkatcher

Rumsfeld was and still is a war monger the IRAQ war was NOT needed...it was political and because of the unrest caused by america OCCUPYING Iraq, WE became targets for EVERY nut case trying to get his virgin afterlife....Saddam WOULD have fallen by internal means, with less death and destruction..REMEMBER the US destroyed the infrastructure of that country..and NOW is TRYING to rebuild it with US TAX dollars....NOT oil money..IRAQ is keeping the oil money..NOT using it for rebuilding,,since THEY know the US destroyed their country....sickening that now RUMMY is looking back at a disaster and making money on it ...BUSH again has been proven to be a BAD leader and administrator of our country

February 03 2011 at 1:00 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
wgpbp

Failed to plan and resource a post conflict government. Fault does not rest with the Generals - - - Rests squarely with the Department of Defense and the Department of State's inability to develop a coherent strategy and to carry it out - - I'm talking about the civilian side. Don't blame the "boots on the ground" and those leading them.

February 03 2011 at 12:42 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
akissmybass45

i wonder how this man can sleep at night knowing how bush lied and he sweared to it. hes the one that should have been in the front lines getting shot dead instead of my dead 23 yr old nephew, so i quess he wrote the book so he can justify his evil ways god bless our troops

February 03 2011 at 12:34 PM Report abuse +12 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to akissmybass45's comment
christierandall

vminch007...he lied about WMD's...Obama started pulling the troops out of Iraq just like he said he would...my nephew was pulled out over a year ago.
Not many left now. They also lied about trying to associate Sadam with what happened on 911...he was not hiding or harboring any Al Quada

February 03 2011 at 5:40 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
tplapper

How people become Secretary of Defense with little or no military experience is beyond me. Don't get me started on the hawks who never served a day in the military.

February 03 2011 at 12:03 PM Report abuse +14 rate up rate down Reply

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