Speeding Discovery at Scripps

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No More MSFT Synchophants



No More MSFT Syncophants

Two days before he resigned as defense secretary, Donald H. Rumsfeld
submitted a memo to the White House that acknowledged that the
administration's strategy in Iraq was not working.

It works like using the Titanic or the Intrepid stuck in the Hudson river to
win the Australia Cup.



December 3, 2006
Rumsfeld Memo on Iraq Proposed 'Major' Change
WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 - Two days before he resigned as defense secretary,
Donald H. Rumsfeld submitted a classified memo to the White House that
acknowledged that the Bush administration's strategy in Iraq was not working
and called for a major course correction.

Mr. Rumsfeld, who has
been a symbol of a dogged stay-the-course policy. "Clearly, what U.S. forces
are currently doing in Iraq is not working well enough or fast enough."

Nor did Mr. Rumsfeld seem confident that the administration would readily
develop an effective alternative. To limit the political fallout from
shifting course, he suggested the administration consider a campaign to
lower public expectations.

"Announce that whatever new approach the U.S. decides on, the U.S. is doing
so on a trial basis," he wrote. "This will give us the ability to readjust
and move to another course, if necessary, and therefore not 'lose.' "

"Recast the U.S. military mission and the U.S. goals (how we talk about
them) - go minimalist," he added. The memo suggests frustration with the
pace of turning over responsibility to the Iraqi authorities; in fact, the
memo calls for examination of ideas that roughly parallel troop withdrawal
proposals presented by some of the White House's sharpest Democratic
critics. (Text of the Memo)

The memo's discussion of possible troop reduction options offers a
counterpoint to Mr. Rumsfeld's frequent public suggestions that discussions
about force levels are driven by requests from American military commanders.
It also puts on the table several ideas for troop redeployments or
withdrawals, even as there have been recent pronouncements from American
commanders emphasizing the need to maintain troop levels for the time being.

The memorandum sometimes has a finger-wagging tone, as Mr. Rumsfeld says
that the Iraqis must "pull up their socks," and suggests that reconstruction
aid should be withheld in violent areas to avoid rewarding "bad behavior."

Other options called for shrinking the number of bases, establishing
benchmarks that would mark the Iraqis' progress toward political, economic
and security goals and conducting a "reverse embeds" program to attach Iraqi
soldiers to American squads.

The memo was finished one day after President Bush interviewed Robert M.
Gates, the president of Texas A&M University, as a potential successor to
Mr. Rumsfeld and one day before the midterm elections. By then it was clear
that the Republicans appeared likely to suffer a setback at the polls and
that the administration was poised to begin reconsidering its Iraq strategy.

The memo provides no indication that Mr. Rumsfeld intended to leave his
Pentagon post. It is unclear whether he knew at that point that he was about
to be replaced, though the White House has said that Mr. Bush and Mr.
Rumsfeld had a number of conversations on the matter.

Told that The New York Times had obtained a copy of it, a Pentagon
spokesman, Eric Ruff, confirmed its authenticity. "As it became clear that
people were considering options for the way forward, the secretary had some
views on the subject, and this memo reflects those views," he said.

At the Pentagon, Mr. Rumsfeld has been famous for his "snowflakes" - memos
that drift down to the bureaucracy from on high and that are used to ask
questions, stimulate debate and shape policy. Mr. Rumsfeld's Nov. 6
memorandum, circulated as part of the administration's review of Iraq
policy, is written in that spirit and with the same blunt aphorisms that Mr.
Rumsfeld frequently uses in public.

Unlike the lawyerly memo on Iraq policy submitted Nov. 8 by Stephen J.
Hadley, the national security adviser, Mr. Rumsfeld's listed more than a
dozen "illustrative options" that the defense secretary did not endorse, but
suggested merited serious consideration. "Many of these options could, and
in a number of cases, should be done in combination with others," Mr.
Rumsfeld advised.

With Mr. Rumsfeld's resignation, the options no longer have the same weight.
In recent weeks, some have been discarded as the Bush administration tries
to adjust its military and political strategy in Iraq. But others, like
increasing the number of advisers attached to Iraqi forces, live on and have
also been recommended by others.

Mr. Rumsfeld, who has presided over two wars and is one of the
longest-serving Pentagon chiefs, is scheduled to leave when his designated
successor, Mr. Gates, is confirmed by the Senate, expected later this month.

Titled "Iraq - Illustrative New Courses of Action," the memo reflects
mounting concern over a war that, as Mr. Rumsfeld put it, has evolved from
"major combat operations to counterterrorism, to counterinsurgency, to
dealing with death squads and sectarian violence."

The first section of the memo contains two pages of options that Mr.
Rumsfeld describes as "above the line" ideas worthy of consideration. Some
that Mr. Rumsfeld found intriguing appear to reflect his long-held view that
the United States should use relatively modest force in intervening in
foreign countries to avoid creating a dependency on American power. That
approach, critics have charged, left the United States unprepared to deal
with the chaos that followed the ouster of Saddam Hussein.

Mr. Rumsfeld has frequently emphasized the difficulty of stabilizing Iraq
and the need to turn over responsibility to Iraqi authorities as quickly as
possible. But he has also been a forceful, even cantankerous, defender of
American policy, often insisting his critics were unduly pessimistic. On
Oct. 31, just a week before finishing the memo, Mr. Rumsfeld told a radio
interviewer, "I feel that we are making good progress with the piece of it
the Defense Department has."

One option Mr. Rumsfeld offered calls for modest troop withdrawals "so
Iraqis know they have to pull up their socks, step up and take
responsibility for their country."

Another option calls for redeploying American troops from "vulnerable
positions" in Baghdad and other cities to safer areas in Iraq or Kuwait,
where they would act as a "quick reaction force." That idea is similar to a
plan suggested by Representative John P. Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat, a
plan that the White House has soundly rebuffed.

Still another option calls for consolidating the number of American bases in
Iraq to 5 from 55 by July 2007, a considerable shrinking of the American
footprint. At the same time, Mr. Rumsfeld all but dismisses the idea of
setting a firm date for removing American forces from Iraq, listing it as
one of the less palatable ideas.

One of the more provocative options would punish provinces that failed to
cooperate with the Americans by withdrawing economic assistance and
security. "Stop rewarding bad behavior, as was done in Falluja when they
pushed in reconstruction funds, and start rewarding good behavior," the
option reads. "No more reconstruction assistance in areas where there is

Some military officers have said that the idea of denying assistance in some
areas ignores the fact that many Iraqis are afraid to cooperate with the
Americans for fear of retaliation by insurgents.

Falluja has been the focus of reconstruction efforts following an offensive
by Americans that crippled city services and damaged scores of buildings,
leaving the United States few options beyond rebuilding or evacuating the
city. Now, it is considered by the Marines to be one of the few relatively
stable areas in the dangerous Anbar Province. Many of the other towns in the
region have become even more hostile because the economic assistance has
been minimal, leaving the residents feeling neglected by the authorities in
Baghdad, military officers say.

Then, too, work on infrastructure that sprawls across the country, like the
electrical grid and the oil pipelines, network, cannot be limited to
nonviolent areas.

"There is an element of throwing in the towel and effectively giving up on
at least some areas of the country," said James Dobbins, a former State
Department official and director of the International Security and Defense
Policy Center at RAND.

In any case, administration officials indicated this week that withholding
assistance was not under serious consideration.

Reflecting exasperation with much of the American government, another option
in Mr. Rumsfeld's memo raises the possibility of using military reservists
to "beef up" the Iraqi government's ministries. "Give up on trying to get
other USG Departments to do it," he writes, referring to other United States
government agencies.

Taking a leaf out of Mr. Hussein's book, Mr. Rumsfeld seemed to see some
merit in the former dictator's practice of paying Iraqi leaders. "Provide
money to key political and religious leaders (as Saddam Hussein did), to get
them to help us get through this difficult period," one option reads.

The list of favored options notably does not mention the "clear, hold and
build" approach that the White House has touted as its strategy for waging
counterinsurgency. That is a troop-intensive approach that calls for
clearing contested areas with American and Iraqi troops, holding them with
American and Iraqi forces and then carrying out reconstruction programs to
win popular support. Nor does the list make the withdrawal of American
forces explicitly contingent on improving conditions in Iraq.

The final page of the memo is a brief list of six "less attractive" options,
which Mr. Rumsfeld describes as "below the line." They include an
"aggressive federalism plan," an international conference modeled on the
Dayton accords that produced an agreement on Bosnia and an idea that is
currently being seriously discussed by senior administration officials:
temporarily sending 20,000 additional American forces or more to Baghdad to
try to improve security in the Iraqi capital and regain momentum.

Moving a large fraction of American forces to Baghdad to "attempt to control
it," Mr. Rumsfeld writes without further elaboration, would be "below the

Defense Official to Resign

WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 (Agence France-Presse) - The Defense Department's top
intelligence official will resign at the end of the year, the Pentagon has

Stephen A. Cambone, under secretary of defense for intelligence, is the most
senior Pentagon official to announce he is leaving since Mr. Rumsfeld
tendered his resignation last month. Mr. Cambone is one of the last members
of the original team that came to the Pentagon with Mr. Rumsfeld in January

Mr. Cambone has been a key player in Mr. Rumsfeld's efforts to transform the
military into a lighter, high-tech force, and in carving out a larger role
for American military intelligence.

The Defense Department expanded espionage and other covert intelligence
gathering activities under Mr. Cambone, drawing criticism from some members
of Congress that the department was intruding on turf traditionally
dominated by the C.I.A.

James Glanz contributed reporting from Baghdad.

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