Fresh perspectives on today’s news by: Whymrhymer

It comes to light now (thanks to yet another White House staffer who leaked yet another classified document to the New York Times) that two days before resigning as Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld sent a memo to the President urging a change in the United States’ Iraq policy. His suggestions fall into two categories: “above the line” (preferred) options and “Below the Line” (less attractive) options. There were 15 options in the “above the line” category and Rumsfeld stressed that “many of these options could and, in a number of cases, should be done in combination with others.” The entire memo can be found at the NY Times website; following is a summary of Rumsfeld’s preferred options (phrases in quotation marks are direct quoted from the memo):

  1. Set (and announce) benchmarks for transferring security functions to the Iraqis.
  2. Send many more trainers and more equipment to Iraq and focus on training.
  3. Embed one or more Iraqi soldiers with each US squad.
  4. Recruit retired US military and Reserve officer volunteers to assist the Iraqi Ministries of Defense and Information and other critical Iraqi government agencies.
  5. Reduce the number of US Bases in Iraq from 55 (now) to five or ten within the next seven or eight months.
  6. Reduce non-essential US forces in Iraq but do not reduce the number of Special Operations Forces (required for strikes against insurgents).
  7. Only deploy US troops to provinces with leaders that fully cooperate with our presence; sending the message we will help you only if you really want our help.
  8. “Stop rewarding bad behavior!” No reconstruction in terrorist havens (areas that do not fully cooperate with our presence).
  9. Locate large US forces near the Iranian and Syrian borders.
  10. Take US forces out of indefensible positions (“cities, patrolling, etc.”) and into positions from where they can be quickly redeployed to assist Iraqi forces when needed.
  11. Start a slow withdrawal of US forces to force Iraqis to take control (“start “taking our hand off the bicycle seat”).
  12. Offer “money” to “key political and religious leaders” to get them to support us.
  13. Have US forces start a “massive program for unemployed youth.”
  14. Get the message out that our actions are being taken on a trial basis, to give us the ability to reverse course and make corrections.
  15. Publicly restate our mission and goals (“go minimalist”).

In my view, all sensible suggestions!

I can’t help but get the impression (based on his sound strategy and on my long-standing positive impressions of the man) that the Iraq War reality might be quite different from its popular perception: it seems very likely that Rumsfeld did not (as he is being accused) mismanage the Iraq war — and rather more likely that he was not allowed to manage it as he wished!

Links:

Fox News: Rumsfeld Suggested Change in Iraq Prior to Resigning

New york Times: Rumsfeld’s Memo of Options for Iraq War

From the blogosphere:

Digital Dharma: Did Rummy Sign His Own Death Warrant?

Mother Courage (Musings of a Marine Mother): Mission: Insufferable

Whymrhymer’s fresh perspectives on today’s news, as published here, also appear at My View from the Center and at The American Chronicle Family of Journals. Your visit is always welcome!

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