Early mistakes in Iraq—and the extent of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's involvement in them—are the subject of a Time excerpt from a book by the former commander of US forces in Iraq, Gen. Ricardo Sanchez. Sanchez details an effort by Rumsfeld to get him to agree, on paper, that Rumsfeld had been out of the loop on the premature drawdown of strategic command forces that led to disarray—a claim Sanchez vehemently denies.
Sanchez, who was forced into retirement after Abu Ghraib, accuses Rumsfeld of “covering his rear” and “setting up a chain of denials,” even dangling a post-retirement job at Defense if the general will corroborate his claim. “The Secretary knew,” Sanchez writes. “Everybody knew." At one meeting, he told Rumsfeld: "Sir, I cannot believe that you didn't know I was being left in charge in Iraq.” Sanchez alleges that Rumsfeld “was attempting to level all the blame on his generals.”