Bullying Rumsfeld Used Bible to Sway Bush on Iraq

Former Pentagon chief undermined president, former aides say

By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff

Posted May 17, 2009 1:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – Donald Rumsfeld isn’t a preacher, but nearly every morning after the Iraq invasion, he handed President Bush a national security digest containing Biblical quotations intended to influence his decisions. This tactic, Robert Draper writes for GQ in a lengthy look at Rummy's standing among administration contemporaries, epitomizes the former Pentagon secretary—a manipulative, imperious bully who would do anything to get his way, including vexing US troops.

Bush officials are spilling their disdain for Rumsfeld, who they say often obstructed Bush’s commands. Rumsfeld refused to ask Condoleezza Rice for help in banishing an unnecessary detour for his soldiers, and even Bush blasted him for bungling the Katrina response. “I can’t imagine another defense secretary throwing up the kinds of obstacles he did,” said a former staffer.

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld attends a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington.
Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld attends a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
In this Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2007, file photo, former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld testifies on Capitol Hill.
In this Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2007, file photo, former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld testifies on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo/Dennis Cook)
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld leaves the podium after his remarks during a 9/11 memorial ceremony.
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld leaves the podium after his remarks during a 9/11 memorial ceremony.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Donald Rumsfeld is working on a memoir to be published in 2010.
Donald Rumsfeld is working on a memoir to be published in 2010.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
With former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld next to him, President Bush concludes his remarks during a memorial ceremony at the Pentagon.
With former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld next to him, President Bush concludes his remarks during a memorial ceremony at the Pentagon.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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Some praise is appropriate. Even the commanders who loathed him appreciated how he stood up for them. Quietly yet frequently, he visited the hospital beds of those he had sent into battle.
- Robert Draper, GQ

As historians slog through the smoke and mirrors of his tenure, they may find that Rumsfeld’s most enduring legacy will be the damage he did to Bush’s. - Robert Draper, GQ

The paradox of Rumsfeld’s tenure is that in seeking to know all he could know, he also sought to control all he could control—and control inevitably came at the expense of accurate knowledge. - Robert Draper, GQ

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