Saturday, December 02, 2006

Did Rumsfeld leak his own memo?

Andrew Sullivan says it best:
The Bush administration is leaking like a spigot right now. The latest is interesting because it gives a glimpse into the thinking of the man who ran the occupation for three years of failure. I find it significant that, in the memo, it doesn't even occur to Rumsfeld that the U.S. ever needed or needs more troops to succeed. His memo recommends a drastic reduction in U.S. goals in the country - "go minimalist." Minimalist is, of course, as good a description as any of his policy for the last three years as well. And he gives us a candid admission of his own miserable failure:

Clearly, what U.S. forces are currently doing in Iraq is not working well enough or fast enough.

Even then, of course, he sees no connection between "what U.S. forces are currently doing" and himself, their defense secretary. But at least he sees the writing in the sand:

Below the Line (less attractive options):

¶Continue on the current path.

Meanwhile, blame, blame, blame: blame every other government agency; blame the Iraqis; blame the country; blame the soldiers. And, of course: never take responsibility. Same old Don. But here are, to my mind, his main proposals:

¶Conduct an accelerated draw-down of U.S. bases. We have already reduced from 110 to 55 bases. Plan to get down to 10 to 15 bases by April 2007, and to 5 bases by July 2007...

¶Position substantial U.S. forces near the Iranian and Syrian borders to reduce infiltration and, importantly, reduce Iranian influence on the Iraqi Government...

¶Withdraw U.S. forces from vulnerable positions — cities, patrolling, etc. — and move U.S. forces to a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) status, operating from within Iraq and Kuwait, to be available when Iraqi security forces need assistance.

So he was favoring a drastic reduction in troops and goals before he quit. (Why he couldn't have secured the Iranian and Syrian borders in, say, 2003, is another matter.) So the Bush strategy of Full Steam Ahead is undermined again.

Here's a mischievous thought. What if the two most recent leaks - the Hadley Memo and the Rumsfeld Memo - came from the same source? What if they were designed to kill any attempt by Bush and Cheney to pretend things are okay, that Maliki is viable, and that a revamped effort can work?

And what if the leaker were a man who just got fired and who's skilled at bureaucratic payback? Just musing

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