Donald Rumsfeld None Too Apologetic in New Memoir

Although he does, reviewers note, briefly show his soft side

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Donald Rumsfeld's memoir, "Known and Unknown," isn't set to be released until next week, but several news sites have obtained early copies. Previews of the book give insight into Rumsfeld's negative opinion of several of his colleagues, his regrets or lack there of from his years as defense secretary, as well has personal struggles within his own family. Here's the buzz:

  • He Doesn't Regret Much  Apparently, Donald Rumsfeld has few regrets from his controversial six years in office and, in terms of expression, they pretty much start and end with his cold assurance that "stuff happens," with regard to looting in Iraq, his reference to Germany and France as "old Europe" when they did not support invading Iraq, and his insistence that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. Other than that, the former Defense secretary is relatively unapologetic and "still can't resist taking a few pops at former secretaries of state Colin L. Powell and Condoleeza Rice as well as some lawmakers and journalists,"  writes Bradley Graham at The Washington Post. Graham calls the book's tone "characteristically tough and defiant" as Rumsfeld also criticizes Bush's shortcomings in resolving issues among senior advisers. "Still, his barbs stop short of ad hominem attacks, and the memoir, even with its flashes of lingering resentment, maintains a measured tone."
  • Wishes Bush Had Let Him Go Earlier  In the book, Rumsfeld explains that on two separate occasions after the story of Iraqi detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib broke out, he offered his resignation to the president. Both times Bush refused, and it wasn't until two and a half years later that Bush finally decided to let Rumsfeld go. Rumsfeld confesses in his memoir that he wishes he had been let go sooner. Daily Intel's Dan Amira can't argue with that sentiment, writing, "America is not going to disagree with you on that one! Especially not John McCain, who told ABC News this morning, 'Thank God he was relieved of his duties.'"
  • Hopes to Garner Respect  After a detailed recap of the 800-page memoir, The Daily Beast's Howard Kurtz concludes with Bush's decision to finally ask for Rumsfeld's resignation. The President is quoted as saying, "This is hard for me. You're a pro. You're a hell of a lot better than others in this town." Kurtz suspects that Rumsfeld's goal with this memoir is to leave readers with the same conclusion. "But it contains few surprises and, after so many years of divisive debate, is unlikely to change many minds," writes Kurtz. "What is known is that he has in these 50 chapters marshaled his best defense; only history's final verdict remains unknown."
  • Shows a Soft Side  The New York Times' Thom Shanker and Charlie Savage note that Rumsfeld's book takes certain emotional turns, "mixing the policy and the personal." Rumsfeld shows his rarely-seen sensitive side when, "at the end of the same Oval Office session in which Mr. Bush asked for an Iraq war plan, Mr. Rumsfeld recounts, the president asked about Mr. Rumsfeld's son, Nick, who struggled with drug addiction, had relapsed and just days before had entered a rehabilitation center." He writes in the book that, "What happened to Nick--coupled with the wounds to our country and the Pentagon--all started to hit me. At that moment I couldn't speak. I was unable to hold back the emotions that until then I had shared only with Joyce."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.