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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Posted by Tanstaafl
Rumsfeld Demonstrates his intelligence, again:
The situation in Iraq has been evolving, and U.S. forces have adjusted, over time, from major combat operations to counterterrorism, to counterinsurgency, to dealing with death squads and sectarian violence. In my view it is time for a major adjustment. Clearly, what U.S. forces are currently doing in Iraq is not working well enough or fast enough.

By now, anyone that is politically aware may know that Donald Rumsfeld wrote those words in a confidential (and now leaked) memo to the White House one day before the recent elections, and two days before he was effectively fired.

While many might be surprised at Rumsfeld's views as outlined by the memo, I am not. I have never believe that Rumsfeld is as detached from reality as his critics suggest. Instead, as a careful analysis of Rumsfeld's Rules would suggest, I believe that he has been trying to give the best advice he can to the President in private, and then supporting in public whatever decisions are made in the Oval Office.

As for the content of the memo. I generally agree with his above the line suggestions. In fact, I've echoed many of them here and here.

In true Rumsfeldian fasion, he has very astutely put the single most important recommendation first:

Publicly announce a set of benchmarks agreed to by the Iraqi Government and the U.S. — political, economic and security goals — to chart a path ahead for the Iraqi government and Iraqi people (to get them moving) and for the U.S. public (to reassure them that progress can and is being made).


Much of the problem with the President's policies and the resulting electorate sentiment can be directly linked to the White House's inability to communicate effectively.

The problem that most people have when the President says we must stay until we "achieve victory" and create a "stable democracy" is that we do not know what either of those terms really mean. Does the sectarian violence have to be over? Do the Iraqis have to hold 2 more elections? 10 more?

Until we have clear and measurable goals, it is really impossible to have a constructive debate about what actions to take going forward. We should decide where we are going, and only then decide how to get there.


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