EXCERPTS: Rumsfeld's War

Who’s the Principal Military Adviser?
Rumsfeld dispatched a secret memo to Condoleezza Rice on November 1, 2001??¢â???¬ ¦.”I am no lawyer, but it seems to me there is only one principal military adviser. Otherwise, the word ‘principal’ would have a brand new meaning. As we go forward on this terrorism effort, I think it is important that any confusion be untangled and corrected, at a minimum by confirming that DNSA-CT’s [the NSC counter-terrorism director’s] role is not intended in any way to detract from the chairman’s role as the principal military adviser.” (pp. 6-7)

Capturing Another Big Fish–the bin Laden of Southeast Asia
The U.S. used communications intercepts to snag another big fish in August 2003 in Thailand. Its special operations soldiers, aided by the CIA, apprehended Hambali, the operations chief of the militant Islamic terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, and thus the “bin Laden of Southeast Asia,” in Thailand??¢â???¬ ¦.Hambali will now dream his dreams in prison??¢â???¬ ¦.At this writing, the U.S. is holding the terrorist in a Middle Eastern country, where officials are free to question him without legal constraints. An official told me that Hambali, thirty-six years old, has no chance of ever walking free again. (pp. 25-26)

Toppling the Taliban and Saddam
Press questions moved from the “quagmire” to whether Rumsfeld’s troops were moving too fast. Rumsfeld was not afraid to respond in stark terms. At one briefing, a reporter asked for the “tactical rationale” for dropping cluster bombs??¢â???¬ ¦Rumsfeld interjected. He was unapologetic. “They are being used on the front line–al Qaeda and Taliban troops to try to kill them, is why we’re using them, to be perfectly blunt,” he said. (p. 33)

An Exclusive Look at Rumsfeld’s Battle Plan
In January, Central Command [CentCom] delivered a highly classified document to the Pentagon entitled “Phase IV OPLAN: Reconstruction of Iraq.” I obtained an exclusive copy??¢â???¬ ¦.The report is remarkable both for its rosy assumptions and for its emphasis on the need to reduce the number of American troops in Iraq once Baghdad falls. CentCom predicted large areas would not require occupation by allied troops. While the document predicted U.S. troops would remain in Iraq for four years, it also called for immediate force reductions. (p. 46)

We Got Him
Rumsfeld came to believe the manhunt was indeed over??¢â???¬ ¦.close associates like Tariq Aziz had looked the captive in the eye and said, “That’s him.” Rumsfeld and his aides began calling senior congressional leaders to give them a heads-up. “Ladies and gentlemen, we got him.”??¢â???¬ ¦.Saddam had surrendered meekly, rising from his cramped eight-foot-deep hold to announce, “I am the president of Iraq. I want to negotiate.” Said the welcoming soldier, with typical American bravado, “President Bush sends his regards.” (p. 61)

Rumsfeld Returns
As the group sat through scores of briefings, Rumsfeld listened carefully, and then made two important points. If Bush won, the U.S. would deploy a missile defense system despite any objections from Beijing. And, secondly, the ex??¢â???¬ ¦quot;defense secretary bluntly told the Chinese generals and politburo members, if the mainland invaded democratic Taiwan, the United States would go to war against China in Taiwan’s defense. (President Bush would later declare the U.S. would do “whatever it took to help Taiwan defend herself.”) (p. 105)

Secret DIA Report Reveals Chilling Predictions
The radical Islamic state of Iran will have nuclear weapons by 2008–with missiles capable of striking Europe. China will more than quadruple its arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States. The report says Israel owns deliverable nuclear and chemical weapons. Warring neighbors Pakistan and India, the report predicts, will continue to entrench themselves in the world’s nuclear club by building more nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles. The DIA provides a scenario for how a war between arch rivals Greece and Turkey will play out. The report also says a number of countries are in danger of collapsing, including our neighbor Mexico. (p. 146)

Plan and Execute
The Rumsfeld directive is just one page, but its impact was historic. In the directive, he changes the nature of special operations forces–and the Pentagon–giving special operations commanders the authority to plan and execute missions on their own with a minimum of bureaucratic interference. (p. 21)

The Right Man at the Right Time
Of his accomplishments, this might be the most important: He has shown the militant Islamic world that George W. Bush’s United States is not Clinton’s. When Rumsfeld sends troops on an operation, they will not run when events turn sour. The Islamists will not be able to defeat America with hit-and-run tactics. Rumsfeld’s troops will chase them, and kill them.

In assessing Rumsfeld, clich???? ©s work. His life is an “all-American story.” He does not “suffer fools gladly.” And, Donald H. Rumsfeld is “the right man at the right time.” It is hard to imagine any other man to whom Bush could have turned to fight this war with more tenacity, panache, and, at the appropriate time, good humor. He is America’s man in the Pentagon. (p. 169)


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