Wednesday, December 06, 2006

If You're Going to Leak, Leak the Whole Thing

Rumsfeld declassified the cover letter to the Iraq actions memo yesterday. I still haven't found a copy, but I'll keep looking. Funny the perspective that it adds to the topic that so many of the talking heads seem to have gotten wrong.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's secret memo to President Bush offering new approaches in Iraq was developed over a period of weeks, according to a newly declassified cover letter.

The letter, obtained by The Associated Press on Monday, also said that Rumsfeld had instructed Gen. John Abizaid, the top commander for U.S. forces in the Middle East, to assemble his own group "some time ago" to consider new approaches in Iraq - "since war plans of this type" are the responsibility of Abizaid's command.

There has been no public disclosure of recommendations from the Abizaid group.

The letter, addressed to Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Stephen Hadley, the president's national security adviser, was transmitted with the memo and dated Nov. 6, two days before Rumsfeld resigned.

So let's see, it was a memo that is based on suggestions from the military on potential actions to be taken. Not just Rumsfeld "reversing" direction. I'm getting tired of the "reversing" term continuously popping into this. I don't see any indications of any reversal. Wouldn't that technically be to put Saddam back into power? Changing tactics to adapt to reality on the ground isn't a reversal.

This also makes sense as to why most of the options lined out appear to be in line with historical lessons on insurgencies. Getting economic and social assistance to those in need is typical. Awarding those that help and stranding those those that don't is as well. Though I believe that was never a winning scenario.

The stupid political statements seem to be limited to the Senator from Maine:
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said Monday she viewed the memo as inconsistent with Rumsfeld's recent congressional testimony, and she said he should have shared these suggestions with Congress many months ago.

"The memo by Secretary Rumsfeld and the leaking of it very much reminded me of a strategy of trying to leave office saying that you actually had a lot of good plans that were different than your public utterances," Collins said.

First, he isn't required to share military information with the Senate. Second he didn't have the results "months ago" which makes her usual shrill statements foolish right from the get go. I also find it fascinating that Rumsfeld can't say one thing publicly while working on alternatives. Seems to me that is the norm in politics and in big business. I can't stand Collins.

Dan Foomkin discusses the leak and what the opinionated are saying on the topic.
Is this the post-election crumbling of the Bush White House's vaunted message discipline? If so, the leaks could simply be embarrassments for a president who has no intention of reversing himself on Iraq.

Alternately, these could be "authorized" leaks -- part of a clever White House PR campaign to give the impression that the president has long been considering significant alternatives, thereby laying the groundwork for the contention that a Bush U-turn on Iraq would be no such thing.

There are, of course, many other plausible explanations.

I'm going to bet on this not being an "authorized" leak. It completely misses the point that most of the memo actions outlined wouldn't need any approval from the C-in-C. They are directly actionable by those purposing them. Some are political actions that the President would have to decide on, but since they were from a study by the military, it strikes me as these are just putting the best options on the table and the memo outlines them for the president.

Froomkin's article is interesting more form what others in the MSM are saying.

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