Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Donald Rumsfeld's priority list:

1. Pentagon "transformation."

Rumsfeld ... understood that as soon as the Iraq belt started rolling, it would carry resources away from his preferred investments in the future. So he speaks of his job as a matter of reaching onto that belt and pulling stuff off. "Balance" in this context is another word for "limit" -- limit the amount of money, troops, staff and materiel bound for Iraq.... Rumsfeld saw the large fixed cost involved in recruiting and training thousands of new troops, a cost that would rattle down Pentagon belts for years to come. He tried to balance those risks of chaos against the conveyor belts that could otherwise be loaded with resources destined for future transformation. (David Von Drehle, Washington Post, 11/13/05)

2. Beating the CIA in a turf war.

President Bush's selection of Gen. Michael V. Hayden to be the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency sets the stage for new wrangling with the Pentagon, which is rapidly expanding its own global spying and terrorist-tracking operations, both long considered C.I.A. roles.

Overseeing Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's drive to broaden the military's clandestine reconnaissance and man-hunting missions is Stephen A. Cambone, the Pentagon's intelligence czar and one of Mr. Rumsfeld's most trusted aides...

... Whether by design or circumstance, though, much of the growth in the military's spy missions has come in the Special Operations Command, which reports to Mr. Rumsfeld and falls outside the orbit controlled by John D. Negroponte, the director of national intelligence....
(New York Times today)

3. ...

Well, is the war in Iraq even #3? Or the war in Afghanistan? Or the pursuit of terrorists?

Whatever you think of the Iraq War, you should want this guy driven from office in disgrace, because it's involved a tremendous committment of blood and treasure for years, yet it ranks below bureaucratic infighting on his to-do list.

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