Rummy at Al Asad Air Base

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld meets with U.S. Marines assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron Two Four at Al Asad Air Base during a surprise visit to Iraq Dec. 9, 2006. DoD photo by Cherie A. Thurlby.

From JCCC.

I must admit to having very mixed feelings about the departure of Rumsfeld.


  1. If it’s a mixture of disappointment and relief, I’m with you. Let’s hope we never get another that’s so far up the um, pockets of the defense contractors. If he managed to ‘reform’ our military any more, we wouldn’t be able to fight our way out of a paper bag, let alone Iraq.

  2. I think he was competent, but I don’t know that I agree with the exact way he was trying to transform the forces. Also I’m not sure if his management style was a good or bad thing. The worst thing is the manner in which he left. He should have stayed two more years. Bush dumping him was a mistake, and the timing was especially bad. Hey, Rumsfeld actually canceled some big $ projects! I’m not so sure he was in any pockets. The military/industrial complex is still going strong though, unfortunately, with or without him.

  3. He cancelled some big projects? Like what? V-22? F-22? FCS? F-35? Did he make sure our guys on the ground in Iraq have a weapon that doesn’t jam all the time? He almost cancelled the C-130J. That would have been a great move. It’s not like they use that airplane in Iraq, and the wings are falling off about half of them now. Well, then there was the launch monopoly he was in favor of. The retiring of the B-52 without a replacement. There was the ACS program with the airplane that was only half the size (and cost) needed to handle all the equipment required, but laughably that one continues even though the contract was cancelled. They could have given it to NG but their proposed airplane was only 1/3 the size required. Yeah, old Rummy really ran a tight ship, not that his successor will likely be significantly different. As for the timing of his firing, he should have been cut loose several months earlier, rather than later. Probably just as well things worked out like they did, though. I can’t see the Dems making any more of a mess of things than the Reps did.

  4. Oh yeah, I remember that one. It dragged on for years and years in development and then right before they started production Rummy canned it. That was a beautiful thing for the US taxpayer. It meant that you got to pay billions for absolutely nothing. And just in case you’re worried, don’t be. The contractor got paid a profit on every single hour they wasted on that POS, and they got paid a bonus because the program was cancelled for convenience, which always incurs big penalties on the US government (read that, on you stupid taxpaying suckers). Yeah, I don’t know how much more of Rumsfeld’s ‘reforms’ you could actually take.

  5. Dfens: Okay, I’m not a big fan of every one of Rummy’s decisions. But apparently Rummy keeping current programs running is dumb. And killing a program was dumb. Rummy didn’t start the Stryker, the Crusader, the Comanche, the DD(X), the F-22, the JSF, Land Warrior, or National Missile Defense, OICW, or XM8. Crusader, Comanche, OICW, and XM8 were killed. That’s bad because developmental costs were already incurred and penalties were paid with little to show for the spending. Started before his watch, but its his fault when its killed? The rest were not killed. That’s bad because they’re either economic rip-offs, sub-par systems, or both. Started before his watch, and his fault for not killing it? The only thing Rummy could apparently have done was not start any new programs, but then we aren’t solving any problems, either. I’m all for criticizing the guy and the system for giving us what we’ve got. But it doesn’t sound like he could have done anything good no matter what. In which case it’s not really his fault, is it?

  6. Ah, Comanche. There was another classic. Billions down the sewer pipe. Not even a fancy toilet seat to show for it. He was the top man at the DoD for 6 years. Hell, couldn’t he have done something, just one thing to make the place better than it was when he got there? What is his legacy? The Iraq war? Frankly I don’t think he did a bang up job with that one either. His strategy was supposed to be ‘shock and awe’ but instead it was ‘too little, too late.’ Instead of killing Iraqi troops in battle, he chased them into hiding so we could fight them as ‘insurgents’. That’s one move the history books won’t treat kindly. Oh, I just remembered one more contribution he made. He laid off soldiers to make sure funding for the F-22 and F-35 continued at an uninterrupted pace. That was brilliant. There’s a much bigger role for one of those jets in Iraq right now than there is for a soldier, don’t you think? Then there was the quadrennial review that was supposed to be the military reformer’s bible, except it was about a year late and even at that they never could make up their minds about what kind of future bomber we should have, or if it should even be a bomber. How’s that for a decisive vision for the future?

  7. If Gates gets the job I think we’ll all be looking back on Rummy’s stint as Sec Def with some considerable fondness. He hasn’t exactly filled me with confidence thus far. I agree with Nicholas on this- it was a mistake for Bush to dump him, especially when he said not so long before that Rumsfeld was going to remain in the job until 2008. I posted some excerpts from an interview Rummy gave on my blog. You can read it here- Or just go straight to the interview itself if you’d prefer-