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. mea culpa

    now buy my book and gimmee some money!

    February 3, 2011 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  2. Rosslaw

    A prime candidate for a long drop at the end of a short rope. He has the blood of thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis on his hands. The only hands down winners in the bogus war he and his ilk ginned up are Iran and Al Queda.

    February 3, 2011 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  3. Mickey, NY

    Rumsfeld is just another Bush-era dinosaur who should be investigated for war crimes trying to rewrite history. The best think to come out of eight years of the Bush reign of terror is the extension of Daylight Saving TIme. That was his crowning achievement.

    February 3, 2011 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  4. elidude

    takes blame himself? he says he wishes he resigned sooner. some blame...

    February 3, 2011 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  5. D Riggs

    These guys are all clowns...they've killed thousands of good men and woman and tens of thousands of innocents....if there is a hell I sure hope they find it first...Amen!!

    February 3, 2011 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  6. Chas in Iowa

    I'm still amazed that Donald hasn't been brought up on war crimes for fabricating an excuse to invade a sovereign country.
    Donald and his nation building crew killed more Iraqi citizens that Sadam Hussein ever did.
    This man is an abomination to our countries democratic moral code.

    February 3, 2011 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  7. NVa Native

    Plenty of blame to go around yes.
    History will not be so kind to those – like Rummie – who were "around".

    February 3, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  8. Rick

    War in Iraq was doomed to fail from the beginning. The military victory would be easy, but anyone could see that victory would bring the deaths of thousands of innocent people, the inevitable economic disarray and looting, the power vacuum, the ethnic hostility, the random abuses of power. Did Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney and the rest not understand what war is about? Guess not.

    February 3, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  9. GonzoinHouston

    He can spin it to his heart's content, but the truth remains: any issue that made it look the war and occupation wouldn't be quick, cheap, and easy was vigorously suppressed. The general who said it would take "several hundred thousand" troops to secure Iraq was sacked and forcibly retired. Threats of insurgency were ignored, saying "we'll be greeted as liberators". The American civilians charged with postwar administration were all selected with conservative loyalty as the first and primary qualification.

    About the only people in that war who knew WTF they were doing, and got any significant results, were the military. They were the ones doing it right. Almost everything that went wrong can be laid at the feet of the civilian (read "republican") leadership.

    History will not be kind to the W administration.

    February 3, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  10. Larry

    Why didn't Bush's aids tell the truth PRIOR to invading Iraq?

    February 3, 2011 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  11. sara

    Well if this is all true, then I have respect for him. I am going to assume it is true.

    February 3, 2011 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  12. Sgt Joe

    Typical GOP....point the finger elsewhere. I wouldn't waste a dime on this book or Bush's for that matter.

    February 3, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  13. Oy Vey Az

    Oh Boy ... Rummy is back. It didn't take but two short years, and all your favorite "Bush Years" cast is coming back ... just for your reading annoyance.

    February 3, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  14. Anonymous

    Wouldn't buy A Memoir of Donald Rumsfeld book and he made mistakes during Bush Administration time, too.

    February 3, 2011 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  15. indyreader

    The Bush administration – chaotic? Disorderly? You could knock me over with a feather! (Not.) Here's hoping Rumsfeld (for whom I have no affection, although I don't think he's actually anywhere near as un-intelligent as Bush himself) actually writes the truth about how many in the administration treated the whole thing as a Holy War. When will they/we ever learn?

    February 3, 2011 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  16. Joe

    McClellan, Rumsfeld.....

    I always figured it would take a dozen years or so before the "insiders" started writing books that not only gave the details of how much of a train wreck the Bush administration really was, but also stated "but it wasn't my fault". Guess it's going to happen a lot sooner than later.

    How long before one of these insiders actually claims with direct knowledge that the administration purposely misled congress and the American people about the war in Iraq? And who will it be? The watch the indictments fly.

    February 3, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  17. hannah

    Only in America can you run the country into the ground, write a book and make millions of dollars. If you are supported by the corporatists that is.

    February 3, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  18. bobcat1a

    King Rat Rumsfeld is now out with his crocodile apologia and his fingers pointed. Before any real history is written of the Bush administration there will be more and the rat's nest that advertised itself as "the adults" will take its place in the pantheon of incompetents.

    February 3, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  19. Scot

    Kinda late Rummy ! Was Dick holding you down or was it just do not buck the establishment ? I am curious what the spin will be from the Bush lovers out there !

    February 3, 2011 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  20. max

    Incompetent war criminals the whole bunch of them. In my humble opinion.

    February 3, 2011 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  21. rummy

    How could there have been so many hands on the steering wheel, when half those hands were in the back pockets of war profiteers?

    February 3, 2011 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  22. greyhackles

    Oh, goody! Yet Another Circular Firing Squad to enhance the history of the modern Republican Party. Niiice!

    February 3, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  23. Chaos

    It was the most disastrous military campaign in US history. Draining public and world support, draining resources and $$$, draining attention and resources from Afghanistan and Pakistan, ruining US credibility, killing mass amounts of civilians, giving a theartre of operations to terorists, no WMD as Hans Blix and inspectors TOLD EVERYONE, killing US military personnel, driving up the debt and gas prices and on and on and on.

    February 3, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  24. ficheye

    This is rich. The second or third book in 'It's The 'Other Guys Fault' series. Sort of like the 'Left Behind' series. Or was that 'No Child Left Behind'? Next we'll hear that the war was the fault of the Liberals and that the White house was against it all along. If only I could take a steam roller and slowly, oh so slowly run these guys over to create a parking lot in some sun blasted country while sipping a cool one. We could include a lot of these books in the project. How much real information is going to be included in this book by stumblebum Rumsfeld? And has he trimmed his nosehairs yet? They are a national treasure you know.

    February 3, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  25. James Brooklyn N.Y.

    Old Rummy is proving that this administration was stupid and should never have been in charge. Now they are turning on each other which proves they were not all on the same team. This crew must of had 50 guys trying to be president at the same time. No one has to read any of these books to know they are all village idiots.

    For those who voted for them I say. I hope you like the results. America has been destroyed, reputation ruined, Thousands of or brave military DEAD and our children left to pay for it. I HOPE YOU ARE HAPPY.

    February 3, 2011 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
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