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Monday, December 20, 2004

Rumsfeld's Rules

Posted by Tim Tagaris

The following are excerpts from "Rumsfeld's Rules: Advice on government, business, and life."  Commentary and links listed under individual "rules."

  • Don't divide the world into "them" and "us."  Avoid infatuation with or resentment of the press, the Congress, rivals, or opponents.  Accept them as facts.  They have their jobs and you have yours.
    • "You are either with us, or against us." - President Bush 11-06-2004
  • Don't allow people to be excluded from a meeting or denied an opportunity to express their views because their views differ from the president's views, the views of the person who calls the meeting, or your views.  The staff system must have integrity and discipline.
    • From the L.A. Times: "Just this week, Rumsfeld regretted not having been forewarned about the strength of the resistance, but he himself played a role in ushering out the Army's top general, Eric Shinseki, for his warning before the invasion that the U.S. would need at least 200,000 troops to occupy Iraq."
  • Look for what's missing.  Many advisers can tell a president how to improve what's proposed or what's gone amiss. Few are able to see what isn't there.
    • Here some hints for the secretary on what is missing.  See this isn't that hard.
      • Radio signal jammers that can disable improvised electronic devices -- the source of many US and civilian casualties in Iraq.  A readily available technology.
      • An adequate number of troops on the ground to accomplish "the mission."
      • Body armor -- Missing in Action as well.
      • Support from a large coalition throughout the world.
  • Don't do or say things that you would not like to see on the front page of the Washington Post.
    • "Rumsfeld gets earful from troops" 12-09-2004 - Front page - Washington Post
  • Beware when any idea is promoted as "bold, exciting, innovative, and new."  There are many ideas that are "bold, exciting, innovative, and new," but also foolish.
  • In politics, every day is filled with numerous opportunities for serious error.  Enjoy it.
  • The oil-can is mightier than than the sword.
    • "U.S. Protected Oil Ministry While Looters Destroyed Museum." 4-14-2003
  • Avoid public spats.  When a department argues with other government agencies in the press, it reduces the president's options.
  • First law of holes: When you get in one, stop digging.

The most important and timely of Rumsfeld's rules:

  • Be able to resign.  It will improve your value to the president and do wonders for your performance.

A bit of friendly advice to the Secretary of Defense.  Follow the rules.

Posted at 05:24 PM in General | Technorati


I love it when Republicans posting here claim, "oh, that's just hindsight." Hey, I'm a 20-something part time Masters' student/part time govt workr with just a handful of classes in international relations, and I could've told you not to disband the Iraqi army or allow a power vacuum to be created. If Rummy, Rice, Wolfowitz and co can't see that, we are truly talking incompetence of the order of criminal negligence, espicially given the warning of General Shinseki, of the State Dept and weapons inspectors (regarding remote-etonated devices), etc. The point is THEY WERE WARNED and ignored every warning, to the point of assassinating the character of the messengers. As our troops, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, head into second, and soon, third tours of duty in Iraq, I wish those responsible would be held accountable.

Who's out of touch with America? 80% of Republicans support Pres Bush's handling of Iraq, vs. 40% of Americans. 52% want Rummy's resignation, but Bush just this week says he's "doing a good job." If this is a good job, God help us when they screw up!

Sorry if I'm ranting, but no one deserves to be treated the way they have. A friend of mine, a REPUBLICAN, said 2 years ago that "the Bush administration would go down in history as the most criminal administration since the 1800s." At the time I thought it was hyperbole ...

Posted by: Marc Cittone at December 21, 2004 02:53 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment