Victor Davis Hanson has some kind words.
Vaya Con Dios, Rummy!
Here is the record of Donald Rumsfeld. (1) Tried to take a top-heavy Pentagon and prepare it for the wars of the postmodern world, in which on a minute’s notice thousands of American soldiers, with air and sea support, would have to be sent to some god-awful place to fight some savagery—and then be trashed live on CNN for doing it; (2) less than a month after 9/11 he organized the retaliation against al Qaeda in the heart of primordial Afghanistan that removed the Taliban in 7 weeks, when we were all warned that the U.S., like the British and Russians of old, would fail; (3) oversaw the removal of Saddam in 3 weeks—after the 1991 Gulf War and the 12-years of 350,000 sorties in the no-fly-zones, and various bombing strikes, had failed. (4) Ah, you say, then there is the disastrous 3-year insurgency—too few troops, Iraqi army let go, underestimated “dead-enders” etc.?
But Rumsfeld knew that in a counterinsurgency (cf. Vietnam 1965-71) massive deployments only ensure complacency, breed dependency, and create resentment, and that, in contrast, training indigenous forces, ensuring political autonomy, and providing air and commando support (e.g., Vietnam circa 1972-4) is the only answer—although that is a long process that can work only if political support at home allows the military to finish the job (cf. the turn-of-the-century Philippines, and the British in Malaysia). He was a good man, and we were lucky to have him in our hour of need.
And Chris Lynch offers (an imaginary) interview:
ALR: Mr. Secretary – thank you so much for taking this time on what I’m sure is a difficult day. Can I ask if you are perhaps feeling a little bitter at the President right now?
Rummy: I always have time for my friends Chris. As far as feeling bitter towards the President – goodness no. I serve at the pleasure of the President and have offered my resignation a number of times. If truth be told – I’m a little bit in awe. I mean I don’t think I’ve seen such a fine piece of political Jujitsu in my whole time in public service.
ALR: Political Jujitsu? I’m sorry Mr. Secretary but I don’t follow you.
Rummy: Nobody saw this move coming yesterday. Nobody was prepared. It was a brilliant shifting of weight. Yesterday was supposed to be the Democrats big day. They were all going to wear new suits and dresses and give speeches congratulating themselves and talking about how they were going to fix the country. Instead all the news programs spent that time speaking about my resignation and today all the print media will be talking about me and my successor. The Democrats can’t even complain because they have been practically begging for my resignation. By the time this dies down – nobody will want to look at their new suits or pretty dresses and they sure won’t want to hear their flowery speeches because the time would have been well past that. The bonus is that the Main Stream Media doesn’t even see how they were used. Brilliant move by the President.