Dubya Bush says things are going well in the “aftermath” of the US invasion of Iraq. Publicly, so has his Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld. But away from the spotlight, Rummy is telling a different story and asking a lot of questions.
An Oct. 16 memo is highly critical of the Bush administration’s handling of the so-called War on Terror. Rumsfeld addressed the missive to Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz; Marine Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs; and Douglas Feith, undersecretary of Defense for policy. As USA Today reports, according to the memo, “[t]he United States has no yardstick for measuring progress in the war on terrorism, has not ‘yet made truly bold moves’ in fighting al-Qaeda and other terror groups, and is in for a ‘long, hard slog’ in Iraq and Afghanistan.” And the secretary worries that terrorist schools abroad may be turning out successful graduates more quickly than the US can capture or murder them.
The memo, which Rumsfeld has shared with members of Congress, goes on to pose some tough questions: Is the US winning or losing the Global War on Terror? Is the administration’s current situation such that ‘the harder we work, the behinder we get?’ Is DoD changing fast enough to deal with the new 21st century security environment?
The White House squatter and war cheerleader, now visiting Australia, offered no comment on the memo. Pentagon spokesperson Lawrence DiRita wouldn’t comment on the document either, but he did say this about Rummy: “He’s trying to keep a sense of urgency alive.”
Well, I have no doubt that the defense secretary is urgent about keeping the war going strong. No doubt his boss will appreciate that.