Donald Rumsfeld has many critics and many political opponents. He also has a legion of admirers, and I am among them. Rumsfeld’s experience, keen intellect, relentless energy and charisma made him almost a perfect SecDef for the start of a war, but as the public lost the sense that it was a war, the grievances of Rumsfeld’s opponents accumulated as ddid the opportunities to air them. As Woodward describes in his most recent book, Rumsfeld’s management style also earned him many off-the-record critics within the Armed Services.
The highest compliment that can be paid the departing Secretary is that our enemies –our real, honest-to-goodness enemies– must be jubilant that he is leaving. Rumsfeld did not hesitate to order the professionals under his command to pursue, capture, or kill these killers. As a result, the enemy, far more than most Americans, they know just how capable a foe Rumsfeld has been.
Donald Rumsfeld is a great American and will be remembered before long as a great Secretary of Defense. We can only hope that his replacement is as successful as Rumsfeld has been at routing the enemy and keeping it on the run.