Cultural Revolutions

Rummy Reduced

Had President George W. Bush fired Donald Rumsfeld a month before, rather than a day after, November 7, the Republican Party could have retained control of both houses.  Still, doing it late is better than not doing it at all.  Rumsfeld was a liability and an embarrassment, the embodiment of all that went wrong in Iraq and a major culprit for much of it.  He disregarded sound military advice, ruled by intimidation, and made grave strategic mistakes.  To his credit, Rumsfeld developed a viable conceptual blueprint for a leaner, meaner 21st-century military.  To his disgrace, he then got it bogged down in a distinctly mid-20th-century, labor-intensive, open-ended mission, a war based on flawed assumptions and unrealistic expectations.

The departure of the longest-serving secretary of defense in American history was not lamented even by his erstwhile neoconservative associates, who were quick to claim that he was not really one of them.  Messrs. Perle, Frum, et al., nimbly shifted from asking “How do we win?” to “Who screwed up?”—and the culprits were supposed to be in the White House and the Pentagon.  But Rumsfeld’s betrayal by Neocon Central was well deserved.  He could not have been unaware that he was surrounding himself with riffraff of dubious integrity and uncertain loyalty.

In 2001, Rumsfeld made Richard Perle chairman of the Defense...

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