Rumsfeld says blame to go around on Iraq
February 3rd, 2011
09:14 AM ET
4 years ago

Rumsfeld says blame to go around on Iraq

(CNN) – In his upcoming memoir, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld describes a Bush administration marred by chaos and disorder during the months leading up to the Iraq War – the prime reason, he says, why the postwar transition was so poorly planned.

"There were far too many hands on the steering wheel, which, in my view, was a formula for running the truck into a ditch," writes Rumsfeld in Known and Unknown, which is set to hit bookstores next week. Advanced excerpts were first obtained by the New York Times and Washington Post.

Rumsfeld writes a key point of disagreement revolved around how quickly to hand power to a new Iraqi government. The Pentagon, he writes, favored a quick transition to power while the more-wary State Department said a slower process would better ensure new and legitimate leaders emerged in the fragile country.

Ultimately, Rumsfeld blames former President Bush for not clearly resolving the disagreement and clearly charting a post-war plan before hostilities commenced, instead deferring to his point man on Iraq reconstruction, L. Paul Bremer.

Bush "did not always receive, and may not have insisted on, a timely consideration of his options before he made a decision, nor did he always receive effective implementation of the decisions he made,” writes Rumsfeld.

Bremer, suggests Rumsfeld, pursued a muddled reconstruction plan that more closely resembled that which was advocated by the State Department. At the same time, Rumsfeld gripes Bremer did not keep the Pentagon informed of his decision making.

"Those key differences were never clearly or firmly resolved in the NSC," Rumsfeld writes. "Only the President could do so."

Rumsfeld also directs blame toward himself, according to the released excerpts, writing that he wished he had resigned in 2004 when the Abu Ghraib prison photos suggested Americans were torturing detainees. Bush, writes Rumsfeld, rejected two separate resignation letters dated five days apart in the after math of the scandal.

"Looking back, I see there are things the administration could have done differently and better with respect to wartime detention," says Rumsfeld.

A spokesman for President Bush had no comment. CNN has also reached out to Bremer and is awaiting a response.


Filed under: Donald Rumsfeld
soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. Katie

    "...why the postwar transition was so poorly planned. "

    What postwar transition? There wasn't one. There wasn't even a good plan for the initial invasion – or a fact based reason for the invasion. A total disaster and needless war. All those lives lost, all that money spent and lost for what? Bush's ego – to prove to daddy he wasn't a total screw up. Well, he sure showed him, didn't he.

    February 3, 2011 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  2. AC

    Looking back Dumsfield, we should never have invaded Iraq! NO Weapons of Mass Destruction. You lied, lied, lied and lied. You lied to the American people, plain and simple. You cost the United States lives, and money. You lied!

    February 3, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  3. Mrlgh

    There are the knowns, that is to say the things we know we know and the unknowns, the things we know we don't know but there are also the unknown unknowns – the things we don't know we don't know. His memoirs fall into the first cagegory...we know it's going to suck!

    February 3, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  4. brad

    While I agree that too many hands involved doesn't help, he still doesn't get it. We should have never been there in the first place. They fabricated the WMD reasoning.

    February 3, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  5. Jon

    Great. *Now* he sees it. You should've taken notes during Vietnam, dude. Not just on the politics, but the tactics. It doesn't matter who in the administration you point the finger at - I'm sure there's plenty of that to go around - but, together, you all got thousands of American soldiers and 100,000+ Iraqi civilians killed. There isn't a court on Earth that can judge you for that kind of crime. May God have mercy upon you.

    February 3, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  6. GOP = Greed Over People

    "There were far too many hands on the steering wheel, which, in my view, was a formula for running the truck into a ditch,"

    Finally, a GOPer willing to admit the war was handled poorly, by "running the truck in the ditch"

    Too, bad that truck was carrying over 4500 young Americans that did not survive and thousands more that were maimed.

    February 3, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  7. Debbie

    Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice, and Bush should all be tried for treason on grounds of crimes committed against the people of the United States.

    February 3, 2011 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  8. darnallash

    Because of these incompetent people many lives are lost. I don't read any apologies, as late as they may be. As to Bush he was a mistake in the presedency line. So out of touch and so not a politician. The guy who was steering the wheels was Cheney. He had $$ interest in what was going on. At the end he made tons of money. An arrogant bastard he doesn't have the courage to even come clean.

    February 3, 2011 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  9. duke

    They all should be called"the masters of re-written history"
    And they should also all be called co-defendants!

    February 3, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  10. Greenspam

    Boo boo. they only blame Bush when they have a book to sell. Rumsfeld was one of the strongest supporters of Bush's Iraq War so this mea culpa is more like crocodile's tears!

    February 3, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  11. Rick Beagle

    really? the evil liberals, moderates, and some independents figured this out a LONG time ago. How we elected these clowns twice is a stunning testament to how lazy and gullible we have become.

    February 3, 2011 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  12. LouAz

    WOW ! Someone from the Bush Administration that says it was not all good and plenty. Even criticises himself ! Seems he might be a honest man. No wonder they threw him out.

    February 3, 2011 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  13. Joshua Ludd

    And yet another of these monsters decides to try to clear his conscience well after the fact.. while making some money off of it, and the more mud he can sling in his book, the better it will sell. If only even a single one of them had had the wherewithall to stand up for what was right at the time, not wish they had in hindsight. I guess Rummy is just another in the long line of people those who still carry water for Bush will have to say had no idea what he was doing and was kept out of the loop because of it. Funny how many people like that they kept in the white house at the time, isn't it? As usual they put themselves in a no-win situation that the media never points out... either they are lying about how incompetent so many people who spoke out against their policies and actions were or they actually kept that many incompetent people on salary and in positions of power, no matter how much they protest they kept them out of the loop.

    February 3, 2011 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
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