“On Sept. 11, 2001, Rumsfeld told his commander-in-chief we were at war,” writes Rowan Scarborough in his new book, Rumsfeld’s War (just published by Regnery, a sister company of HUMAN EVENTS). “Since then, he has not lost one ounce of determination to win the global war on terrorism and to simultaneously transform the armed forces.”
Rumsfeld may have been the first member of the executive branch to call the 9/11 attack an act of war. And in doing so, he effectively brought upon himself the awesome challenge of executing it. If the 9/11 attacks were an act of war, and not merely a criminal act, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld would be responsible for hunting down the terrorists.
He has not let us down, Scarborough reports. America is in good hands in its war on terror.
On the morning of September 11, Rumsfeld was in the Pentagon. After the plane struck the building’s external West wall, he personally hurried to help the wounded. And even as the flames were still burning, Rumsfeld remained at the Pentagon despite the threat of more strikes and quickly shifted his thinking to the war that would surely result.
No one could claim to be more prepared for the coming conflict than Donald Rumsfeld. Scarborough, an experienced defense reporter, shows that the Secretary of Defense began preparing the country for this type of war even before the 9-11 attack. He explains why Rumsfeld, the President’s tireless war planner, brings to this effort unmatched wit and diligence, not to mention a reputation for confrontation, that with careful planning and preparation took America’s military–at points kicking and screaming–to war.
When Bush was sworn in as President, a collective sigh of relief rose from the military brass at the Pentagon. The bumbling military policy of the Clinton years–in which the armed services were twisted into a laboratory for social experimentation–was over. This administration, they expected, would let the military run things the way they wanted to. On that latter part, though, they apparently didn’t know much about Donald Rumsfeld.
There was little doubt for Rumsfeld how the military should respond to the post-Cold War world. He took much of his impetus for change from a 1999 Defense Intelligence Agency report, which discussed possible scenarios that could threaten the security of the U.S. in the coming decades.
Among the threats mentioned in the report were the possible collapse of Russia, the death grip of Communism on Cuba (even in the post-Castro era), and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
The report has already proven to be prescient. It states, for example, “Heightened publicity about the vulnerability of civilian targets, an increased interest in inflicting mass causalities, emergence of less predictable groups and greater availability of WMD-related production knowledge and technology have already drawn the attention of some terrorist organizations.”
Rumsfeld took the DIA report seriously, warning the Senate, during his confirmation hearing, of a terrorist threat on our soil.
Taking the report and other factors into account, Rumsfeld set out to restructure the way the Pentagon operated. He wanted the military streamlined to be more mobile, he wanted a larger role for special operations troops, and he wanted to move military personnel out from behind desks and into combat-related posts.
The process wasn’t easy.
Rumsfeld butted heads repeatedly with top military personnel who were not eager for change. The clash eventually resulted in the dismissal of the Army secretary, retired Gen. Tom White, and Army chief of staff Gen. Eric Shinseki.
Scarborough’s sharp reportorial style and use of key sources in and around the Pentagon draws a clear portrait of the man heading the fight against terror.
He includes anecdotes and biographical notes that demonstrate Rumsfeld’s resolve to take the measures necessary to win the war, even if it creates enemies along the way.
“Rumsfeld is burning out a lot of people,” said a Scarborough source. “Not many of them can go the distance. The hours are killing people. A lot of people are seeking relief through retirement. They all love their jobs. It’s just a killer.”
Say what you want about his management style, but success has followed Donald Rumsfeld everywhere he’s gone in life. The same determination that made him the all-Navy wrestling champion followed him in his days as a young congressman from Illinois. The intensity he displayed as the youngest Secretary of Defense in history under Ford, was the same intensity that he showed during his stint as CEO of G.D. Searle & Co.–the company that gave us NutraSweet. The trend continues for him now as the oldest man to serve as Secretary of Defense.
With impressive victories in Afghanistan and Iraq, Scarborough writes that there is no doubt Secretary Rumsfeld’s intensity and determination are winning the war on terror.
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