Rumsfeld Unbowed

From Lisa DePaolo's interview with Rumsfeld in GQ:

You still like [Bush]?

"I do."

You don't talk, though, right?

"Uhhh...I'm trying to think. No."

Was the last time you talked to him the day you resigned? He can't recall.

What he does recall is that twice before, at the height of the Abu Ghraib disgrace, he offered to resign. "I wrote a note. The first note basically said, 'Look, this is a difficult problem for our country, and it happened on my watch, and you have my resignation anytime you feel it would be helpful.' And then I gave him that, and he rejected it. And then I wrote out a longer resignation, and, uh, resigned as opposed to offering a resignation. And he rejected that."

What does that tell you about him?

Long pause. "I don't know that I want to go there. That's none of my business. To analyze..."

A month and a half after our visit, Reuters would break the story that Rumsfeld gave his final (and apparently third) resignation letter to the president the day before the midterm elections, though Bush chose not to announce it until the day after, infuriating many Republicans who felt the election could have been won if Rummy had been sacrificed first. In Taos, I asked him if he considered resigning before the elections.

"Uhhh, no," he replied. "But it was very clear in my mind that if the Democrats won the House or the Senate or both, that it made sense for me to...that it would be best for the department if someone else was there."

So it could have been different for you if the Republicans had won?


Think about it. If Americans had taken Bill Kristol's advice and kept the GOP in power last November, Rumsfeld might very well still be SecDef.