Excellent article online from GQ about Don Rumsfeld and the problems he caused within the Bush Administration. Most interesting was his resistance to helping out with Hurricane Katrina. He didn’t want to deploy anything but National Guard troops, and kept a whole fleet of nearby helicopters idle, while the pilots wondered, “Why aren’t we being sent in to rescue people?” Finally, George Bush basically read him the riot act–good for him–and got things moving. The article tells about another time, involving Abu Graihb, when Bush called Rummy on the carpet.
I’m reading similar things in “Fiasco,” Thomas Ricks’s book about the Iraq war. Rumsfeld wanted to disprove the Powell Doctrine–go in with overwhelming force. So while the generals said we would need several hundred thousand troops, Rumsfeld started the “negotiations” by saying we would need just 10,000 troops to conquer Iraq. Rumsfeld’s stubbornness and arrogance cost a lot of lives, and led to the chaos which soon engulfed us in Iraq.1 Comment