Rumsfeld’s Parting Advice

Donald Rumsfeld wrote a memo laying out options for Iraq two days before he was sacked. The full text is here. The memo will be spun in the usual ways; the best thing is to read it for yourself. It isn’t very long.
What strikes me most about the memo is how similar Rumsfeld’s recommendations are to what we have been doing for some time. He divides alternatives into two categories: “above the line” and “below the line.” The below the line alternatives are, Rumsfeld says, “less attractive options.”
But the more attractive options sound very familiar. For example:

Significantly increase U.S. trainers and embeds, and transfer more U.S. equipment to Iraqi Security forces (ISF), to further accelerate their capabilities by refocusing the assignment of some significant portion of the U.S. troops currently in Iraq.

Isn’t this exactly what we’ve been doing for the last year or two?

Conduct an accelerated draw-down of U.S. bases. We have already reduced from 110 to 55 bases. Plan to get down to 10 to 15 bases by April 2007, and to 5 bases by July 2007.

Again, this is obviously already in progress, as Rumsfeld acknowledges. Some of Rumsfeld’s ideas seem sensible, but, again, modest tweaks to our present policies:

Publicly announce a set of benchmarks agreed to by the Iraqi Government and the U.S.


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