I Hate Rummy

Friday, December 10, 2004
Even as a hawk who strongly supported, and still does support, the Iraq war, I despise Donald Rumsfeld: a prick, a failure, and an arrogant ideologue who bears prime responsibility for the calamity in Iraq.

In the wake of the Vietnam War, General Colin Powell created a simple military doctrine which stated that America should only go to war using massive, overwhelming force, and that it should have a clear exit-strategy ready in advance.

Rumsfeld, the genius military planner that he is, decided after 9/11 that the Powell Doctrine was outdated and useless. So he scrapped it and came up with one of his own. Under the Rumsfeld Doctrine, wars could be won on the cheap, dictators could be toppled at little cost, and democracy could be readily installed at gun-point.

After the initial triumph of the war, it appeared for one fleeting moment that the Rumsfeld Doctrine had been gloriously vindicated. America had deposed Saddam with a relatively small and nimble force of roughly 150,000 men; the Iraqis were rejoicing in the fall of their brutal dictator; and democracy seemed like a near prospect. Rumsfeld must have been giddy.

Then, faced in the aftermath of the war with a growing plague of choas, looting, and terrorist violence, Rumsfeld shrugged it off with typical smugness and care-free arrogance; "Stuff happens," he said blithely.

And indeed, stuff did happen -- terribly bad stuff.

According to Rumsfeld's pipe-dreams for post-war Iraq, the reconstruction would be almost entirely paid for with Iraqi oil revenue, the American military would be quickly replaced by the Free Iraq Militia, and its leader, wanted criminal and neo-con chum Ahmed Chalabi, would be appointed the new President and would rapidly transform the country into a shining beacon of peace, democracy, and market-capitalism.

Of course, none of the neo-cons' wild fantasies ever came true.

The Free Iraq militia turned out to be a sham. Ahmed Chalabi was exposed as a crook and a fraud who had fed the Administration blatantly false intelligence on Saddam's WMD. And the neo-cons' predictions of a "cake-walk" were revealed as absurd fallacies.

With the Pentagon's delusions laying in ruins, America found itself mired in a hostile Muslim land, confronted with an intractable insurgency, a restive population, sectarian strife, and spreading anarchy, without enough soldiers to win the peace.

Rumsfeld could have avoided this disastrous outcome by respecting the Powell Doctrine and by heeding the advice of top generals in the Pentagon who insisted that America would need a lot more troops to pacify Iraq. But Rumsfeld didn't listen, and now we're left to deal with the consequeneces of his blunders and scadalous idiocy.

Just don't expect him to be fired.

Iraq Without a Plan