Donald Rumsfeld’s October 22 memo — promptly leaked and then defamed by conservatives — signals a change in view that may be very significant. The memo pointedly calls the prognosis for the War in Iraq a “long, hard slog” and asks whether “we are winning or losing the global ‘war on terror.’”
As some have observed, it is very much like Robert McNamara’s concern in 1967 that the US could not win in Vietnam. Yet McNamara said nothing at the time (the war lasted 8 more years and cost tens of thousands more lives) and only in 1995 admitted that his public certitude was a veneer, that architects of the war policy “were wrong, terribly wrong.”
The Bush administration’s glittering message of a few months ago “increasingly looks like a dark swamp.” And they’ve got Donald Rumsfeld’s clarity and brevity of expression — coming from what was formerly the Iraq War’s biggest champion — to thank.