Rumsfeld: I Wish Bush Had Let Me Leave Earlier

Memoir unapologetic, but he wishes president accepted resignation in '04
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2011 12:32 PM CST
In this Jan. 20, 2011 photo, former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is interviewed at his office in Washington.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

(Newser) – Reviewers have gotten an early peek at Donald Rumsfeld's memoir, Known and Unknown, with the Washington Post and New York Times noting these highlights:

  • Biggest regret: Not insisting that President Bush accept his resignation after the Abu Ghraib allegations in 2004. He says the abuse was the work of rogue soldiers, but thinks his resignation might have blunted the "drumbeat of torture" allegations by "partisan critics of the war."
  • On Bush: He was a "far more formidable president than his popular image,” but Rumsfeld thinks his loose management style led to an unfocused war strategy.

  • Taking shots: He criticized the mixed messages given to Bush by the Pentagon and State Department, chiding Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, and, especially, civilian war coordinator L. Paul Bremer. "There were far too many hands on the steering wheel, which, in my view, was a formula for running the truck into a ditch," Rumsfeld writes.
  • Big picture: He sounds "characteristically tough and defiant" and "remains largely unapologetic about his overall handling of the Iraq conflict and concludes that the war has been worth the costs," writes the Post.
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