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The Return of Rumsfeld

Posted on Jul 30, 2008
Donald Rumsfeld
DoD photo / Chad J. McNeeley

Is the master of the rhetorical question back? Well, in spirit at least. Truthdig contributor Allen McDuffee warns that a group of Democratic foreign policy hawks is pushing one of Donald Rumsfeld’s big ideas for overhauling the U.S. military. These are the same security-obsessed Democrats, by the way, who helped sell the Iraq war to the American people.

The New York Observer:

Eighteen months after former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld retreated from his post under heavy criticism for, among other things, mishandling the invasion of Iraq and legitimizing torture as an interrogation technique, some Washington insiders are revisiting his strategies and tactics.

Notably, resurrecting Rumsfeld’s idea—a comprehensive plan to overhaul the military—hasn’t been reintroduced into the public dialog by die-hard neo-conservatives. The project is being led by a faction of security-obsessed Democrats.

Several weeks ago, military analyst Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution published a 60-page report, “Unfinished Business: U.S. Overseas Military Presence in the 21st Century,” which recommended that the next president return to Rumsfeld’s “chief intellectual and policy accomplishment during his six-year tenure at the Pentagon.” He was followed shortly afterward by Robert D. Kaplan, who came out with “What Rumsfeld Got Right” in the July/August “Ideas Issue” of The Atlantic. The Atlantic also produced, with Kaplan as narrator, a 13-minute video accompaniment to his essay.

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By Louise, July 31, 2008 at 7:34 am Link to this comment

Oh purplewolf, thanks! smile
One funny, concise and to the point paragraph!


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By KDelphi, July 31, 2008 at 6:56 am Link to this comment

Purple Girl, I just wonder, since you are such a strident defender of Obama, if you are aware that obama says we “could not do without Blackwater”. Have yu read anything about him , not by him?

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By purplewolf, July 31, 2008 at 6:47 am Link to this comment


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By Louise, July 31, 2008 at 5:58 am Link to this comment

Believe it or not, I agree we need “a comprehensive plan to overhaul the military” immediately after we initiate a comprehensive plan on how to overhaul the Congress. Because the one will never work without the other.

Sorry, but I chuckle when I hear Rumsfeld referred to in any context that implies “intellectual” prowess. The man has manipulative and self aggrandizement prowess. The man has no functioning conscience. The man feeds on the needs of others. And the man has such limited intelligence, he has to rely on created “intelligence” to perform in any way. However, he definitely is the perfect poster child for over-blown, self-centered conceit.

The military overhaul should begin with the purging of all analysts, authors, think-tankers and policy wonks, who have never served a day in actual military service. And that would be just about all of them.

Then presidents and politicians should be required to actually study military facts, functions and findings, based on real-time experience by real honest to goodness military experts who learned and earned that title based on service in same. And that would eliminate about 99% of the rest of the experts.

The “thinkers” and the “sayers” and the “postulators” and the “second guessers” and the “hind-sighters” who hold prominent positions in any group, [democrat or otherwise] should be required to earn their title “prominent” by actual experience in actual service. Rather than by their capacity to “open mouth ... blabber.”

That qualifies them to run for public office, but little else.

“... a less charitable interpretation - the one embraced by the group’s liberal opponents—is that “it” is a receptacle for Democrats who need to atone for their neocon sins.”

[“it” being the Center for New American Security (CNAS), a group of Democratic foreign policy hawks.]


About now is when sane people would start shaking their heads and mumbling something about they’re all a bunch of liars and crooks. They being politicians who have that so-called conservative yellow stripe down their back.

We find them in both party’s.

“thinkers” and “sayers” and “postulators” and “second guessers” and “hind-sighters” are very important to them. ‘Cause they have no ability to see their own fault in anything, and always have a need to point to an “expert” to justify their own lack of expertise.

I think that’s another qualifier to run for public office.

[Is it just a coincidence, the wider the strip, the louder the call for war?]

In any case, if any future military overhaul is named after the really weird Rumsfeld, what a monumental slap in the face to our men and women in the armed forces THAT would be!

[ ... just between you and me, they don’t like Rumsfeld. Think he’s a wingless hawk with a weak beak, an arrogant bully, and nine pennies short of a dime.]

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By cyrena, July 30, 2008 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment

“Liberal Hawks” ???

This is what I mean about how the language of liberal, conservative, left, right, is so jacked-up and confusing for so many people. A HAWK is a HAWK, no matter what party or ideology they attach themselves to. There’s no such thing as a “liberal hawk’ unless we define it as a person who uses military aggression liberally. In that case, Dick Bush Rumsfeld. And in this case, the Brookings Institute has always been known for it’s hawkishness.

I’m with Bacevich and Hartung here:

•  “Andrew J. Bacevich, a professor of international relations at Boston University and author of The New American Militarism, said, “It’s always interesting to discuss the rearrangement of deckchairs if the vessel is shipshape. O’Hanlon is interested in redeploying US forces to fight the ‘long war.’ But does the ‘long war’ make sense as the basis for U.S. national security strategy? What the next administration needs to do is to get the strategy right-and only then worry about where our forces should be.”

Why should the strategy be based on ANY kind of *war* but specifically a perpetual state of it? The very Rumsfeldian terminology, “long war” gives it away. It’s the American Imperial Hawk Way, to strategize for perpetual war, and the only way to keep the MIC in control of all resources. It’s also why the rest of everything else is falling apart at the seams. It’s been the most totally INEFFCIENT and wasteful use of everything. Wasted manpower, wasted energy, wasted resources, wasted *everything*…to have the US military spread all over the globe…looking for a war to start.

•  “..William Hartung of the New America Foundation contended that a Rumsfeldian approach to restructuring the U.S. military base network at this point is “a case of way too little, way too late.” And given the denigration of the American global reputation caused by its irresponsible actions in Iraq, he said, “One of the best ways to restore confidence in the U.S. globally would be to adopt a non-interventionist posture” that would include “substantial cutbacks in the U.S. overseas base structure.”

NON-INTERVENTIONIST posture, substantial CUTBACKS in the U.S. oversees base structure. What a novel idea. (at least for the US)

You’d think the neo-liberals of the corptocracy would have managed to pass this ‘downsizing’ idea along to their military cohorts. But then, that’s what the neo-cons accused the neo-liberal Clinton of doing…downsizing the military. They don’t know the difference between downsizing and restructuring what you’ve already got. They aren’t the same. Clinton *did* ‘downsize’ but he should have simply restructured, and that would involved shutting down the majority of those 700 plus bases scattered all over the world. Trying to do anything ‘on the cheap’ always ends up costing more in the long run. Spreading (and therefore diluting) resources is a perfect example.

There’s nothing worse than a control freak who doesn’t know how to control. Meantime, when are we gonna send Rumsfeld’s ass to The Hague along with the rest of his criminal partners?

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By gradioc, July 30, 2008 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment

The basic fallacy of Rumsfeld’s vision of the military is his belief in the Air Force concept of the “Clean War” waged mainly from the air with limited ground forces and limited casualties. As an old infantryman I can tell you what all soldiers know; you can’t control anything from the air. Boots on the ground win wars and that costs money and lives. Rumsfeld’s determination to run the Iraq war on the cheap, with limited ground forces, has plunged us into a quagmire and caused thousands upon thousands of needless Iraqi casualties. His concept of the Army going forward is a recipe for further disasters. Small unit infantry tactics have all sorts of uses but controlling large areas of land, much less nations, are not among them. I don’t care how many bombs you drop from the air before heading back to the O Club for a martini.

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By Purple Girl, July 30, 2008 at 6:15 am Link to this comment

the main enemies of this country are not Real Democrats Nor Real Republicans.. It is those who camoflague themselves in those garbs Working both sides for the Corporationist doctrine. Let me guess, these so called liberals are in full agreement that we should privatize the Military. Outsource not only the behind the scenes operations but the combat force too!They support the ‘cost efffectiveness’ of such companies as Blackwater and their Business ‘savvy’.
It’s time the ‘left’ realize they too have been infiltrated and are being used to push forth the Corp Stratedgy. Nadar is once again playing the part of the Red herring. Spoiler. He was bought off long ago. funny we heard nothing from him regarding the resurgance of the SUV- gas guzzling, rollover monstrousities. Was he even trying to Whisper any warnings to US?
I for one am leary of any member of the DLC- reason i held my nose when voting for Gore & Kerry, and refused to support the ‘Queen’ during her run for the WH.Her Red slip fell out as soon as she sat her ass down in the Senate- heckova Job on the Armed Services Com (CON)- no clear mission, no real troop numbers, no equipment, no exit stratedgy, and the OK to use hallibuton & Blackwater…Just as responsible for this blood for Oil con as her Buddy Mac.Heres some names to watch out for from the DLC, Feinstien, McAlufffe, Edwards,LIEberman….Watch those from the Democratic Liars Council
But of course there are those who are either waiting for their applications to be accepted by the DLC, or already have sweet deals without their help.Pelsoi has not been ‘Caving ’ she has been Paving. Such long time Seante seat holders as Levin (Chair Armed Services)has had such a sweet deal with the Big 3, Michigan is the Buckle to the ‘Rust Belt’.
I would be thrilled to see not only the Corp Whores form the Right get a kick in the teeth - but also those psuedo Dems. to clean out this Corp Run Congress we will need to enlist the help from the others who have been sidelined ...I would like Obama to name Sen Chuck hagel as his VP- then we can go after these Infiltrators (traitors) in a bipartisan attack stratedgy.

Obama/ Hagel ‘08

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By KDelphi, July 30, 2008 at 6:12 am Link to this comment

Agrees with this Vietnam Vet!

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By KDelphi, July 30, 2008 at 6:11 am Link to this comment

These are the Blue Dogs who will be supporting this—the ones Dems are terrified to get rid of.

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By VietnamVet, July 30, 2008 at 5:51 am Link to this comment

Yeah, that’s all this nation needs for its final destruction: a resurgance of Rummy and his ilk! The damage this individual caused to the Nation is beyond belief and is so well know it does not need mention here. Had it not been for him and Bush, and another group of neo cons, over 4,000 of our finest would still be alive, and thousands more would be walking around instead of in wheel chairs. Will this nation ever learn? Now, millions are standing ready to vote for a GOP candidate that supported Bush, Rummy, and that other ilk 95% of the time. The American people will deserve who they vote into office this time around, given all the indicators available to show them the right path.

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By Ivan Hentschel, July 30, 2008 at 4:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I guess what this means, sadly, is that liberal or conservative, neocon or neo-liberal, wolf or sheep or the other one in the the other one’s clothing, without an obsession for the bells, whistles and money of military might and power grabbing, we have no enterprise or commerce? Sems to me I remember DDE warning us about that just a few short decades ago.

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