CYA — it's not just for pundits anymore:
“In my view it is time for a major adjustment,” wrote Mr. Rumsfeld, who has been a symbol of a dogged stay-the-course policy. “Clearly, what U.S. forces are currently doing in Iraq is not working well enough or fast enough.”
Nor did Mr. Rumsfeld seem confident that the administration would readily develop an effective alternative. To limit the political fallout from shifting course he suggested the administration consider a campaign to lower public expectations.
“Announce that whatever new approach the U.S. decides on, the U.S. is doing so on a trial basis,” he wrote. “This will give us the ability to readjust and move to another course, if necessary, and therefore not ‘lose.’ ”
No, no. Wouldn't want to "look" like we were losing. Next thing you know, we'd be losing. Or something.
“Recast the U.S. military mission and the U.S. goals (how we talk about them) — go minimalist,” he added. Mr. Rumsfeld’s memo suggests frustration with the pace of turning over responsibility to the Iraqi authorities; in fact, the memo calls for examination of ideas that roughly parallel troop withdrawal proposals presented by some of the White House’s sharpest Democratic critics. (Text of the Memo)
Why does Donald Rumsfeld hate America?
The memorandum sometimes has a finger-wagging tone as Mr. Rumsfeld says that the Iraqis must “pull up their socks,” and suggests reconstruction aid should be withheld in violent areas to avoid rewarding “bad behavior.”
If only they'd greeted us with flowers, none of this would have happened.
Update: Digby has more on Rumsfeld's flawless handiwork at the Pentagon. Decades.