Posted by Mary
Rummy's leaked memo today was definitely strange. As he was all over the air waves basically confirming that he did write this memo, it seems timely to reflect on whether he leaked or condoned the leak himself. Liberal Oasis has an excellent post about this today and provides four different ways to analyze this leak. And he links Jonathan Landay's take on this latest leak. Landay talks with a number of WH officials that were not too impressed with Rummy's memo.
By helping to persuade Bush to divert U.S. special forces, intelligence assets, money and time from hunting Osama bin Laden's followers to invading Iraq, Rumsfeld "manifestly weakened our efforts to subdue al-Qaida and its supporters," said one official, who agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity because Bush has told his top aides to stop talking publicly about policy disputes.
Moreover, other top officials said, by insisting that the United States go to war in Iraq without assembling a broad international coalition that included some Muslim nations, Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney and other officials unwittingly made it easier for bin Laden and others to portray America's wars against Saddam and terrorism as a single war against Islam.
"This (memo) gives bin Laden his next tape," said one official. "Nothing will inspire more jihadists than the prospect of victory."
"The memo calls for some structural and tactical changes to solve the problems, but the problems aren't structural or tactical, they're strategic," said one top official, who also spoke only on the condition of anonymity.
[Aside: Now that Bush has declared jihad on the anonymous leakers, it seems that we are seeing more and more of them. Just like with the terrorists. And Landay always makes a point to say that the official is anonymous because Bush told them not to air their disagreements in public.]
I think that the scenario that works most is this was indeed a Rummy leak -- because it is the latest salvo in the war of who is in charge in the WH. (Hint, it's not Bush.) The State Department lobbed off their round last Sunday. In that exchange, the State Department leaked the memos showing that the Defense department screwed up the post-war planning because it threw away the State Department report.
This war is definitely getting hot. So where is Condi and why isn't she straightening this out? (*)
(*) From Bob Woodword's book, Bush at War: Bush does not pursue the disagreement to settle it. Rather he turns to his able national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, and instructs, "Get this mess straightened out."