Rumsfeld pushed a war of choice on evidence he knew was thin, catastrophically mismanaged the war’s follow-up, then embraced torture.

That puts him at the bottom among SecDefs along with McNamara, who at least had the humility to eventually publicly apologize.

Rumsfeld had a few good ideas domestically:

Like McNamara he strongly asserted civilian control over DoD. You may not have liked the choices he made, and he should have listened to the generals more on troops numbers to stabilize Iraq, but reinforcing civilian control

was valuable after President Clinton let DoD operate too freely (bc he was worried about being criticized as Vietnam draft dodger).

Rumsfeld also - again like McNamara - sought to bring some discipline to DoD procurement, trying to end the Cold War inertia buying of the 1990s

He wasn't very successful; after 9/11 the defense budget exploded. But he is the last SecDef to at least talk up these issues. As a 'Republican Daddy' authority figure, he had the weight to push a Congress scared of appearing anti-defense and so inclined to just fund

everything. And that is where we are now. The defense - or more properly, integrated national security budget - is just sprawling and massive with little oversight.

For a brief moment in 2003, Rumsfeld was on top. He'd won 2 wars in 18 months with small footprints. McNamara

too had such peak: his idea to quarantine Cuba in the missile crisis likely averted an invasion and possibly WWIII.

But then both were brought down by insurgency wars they couldn't (or wouldn't) figure out. And in his memoirs and documentary with Erol Morris, Rumsfeld never

admitted Iraq was a catastrophe or his responsibility. He danced around it.

He had quite the vita and certainly knew the issues & the dept. But his arrogance brought him down. It'd be a tragic story if it weren't such a disaster. He deserves the low SecDef ranking he'll get.


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More from @Robert_E_Kelly

3 Jun
The big critique of this thread is that the ‘liberal media’ should have taken the lab leak theory seriously last year, regardless of who promoted it.

That is correct only in an absolute, context-less sense.

So yes, ceteris paribus & with unlimited resources, journalists

should have dug into it. But such a strict methodological posture ALSO then demands taking the other bats*** corona ideas from MAGA, anti-vaxxers, & so on seriously too. Should we have investigated whether Bill Gates was micro-chipping vaccine recipients too? What about George

Soros masterminding this to undercut Trump’s re-election?

Obviously we didn't look at those, bc in the real world, choices to use one’s time and energy must be made. Because of these real-world constraints, and in the context of a torrent of other absurd MAGA ideas on corona

Read 6 tweets
1 Jun
I keep reading that the media blew the origins of covid story by not listening to Trump & co. saying it escaped from a lab.

Yes, but in only barest possible way.

MAGA’s ‘reasoning’ for the lab origin claim last year was entirely motivated, political,…

and non-evidentiary. Hence, there was no reason to believe them. They were guessing conveniently. And don’t say they couldn’t reveal the evidence. Opportunistic Trumpers had no inhibitions about leaking.

Cotton, Pompeo, and the rest were looking to shift the blame for Trump’s

disastrous response, and they grasped anything they could find. Worse, all had a long history of lying and racism, provided no evidence, and clearly knew almost nothing about epidemiology or China.

So again, there was no reason to believe MAGA last year, and a lot of legacy

Read 12 tweets
30 May
G Floyd is NOT a left-wing analogue to Ashli Babbitt. This is appalling. Is this equivalence framing a thing in MAGA-world?

A. Babbitt was engaged in voluntary, aggressive violence at the time of her shooting. Floyd was cuffed, immobilized & begging for his life when he died.

B. Babbitt was committing extremely dangerous political violence; she was breaking through the final barrier between a violent mob and dozens of US Congresspeople, our democratic government. Floyd was a arrested for street misdemeanor.

C. The use of force against Floyd was

excessive, and a court ruled as much. Floyd was not a threat to the police officers, citizens, and property around him at the time of his death.

The use of force against Babbitt was much more justified. She was at the leading edge of a violent mob steps away from Members of

Read 7 tweets
19 May
These new GOP voting laws are designed to make voting so complex, that almost any election can be disputed. The point isn’t so much to make voting harder but rather, more legally contestable. Voters & poll workers won’t learn all these new rules, providing the legal basis for

endless lawsuits over whether this or that voter voted legally: should citizen XYZ should have his vote disqualified bc his wife gave him a ham sandwich while he was waiting on line? It will be Florida 2000 again & again in states where the vote is close. If you can’t win at

the polls, or won’t accept that the Democrats legitimately win major races, then make voting rules so absurdly murky & results therefore so unknowable, that you can push decisions into the courts or state legislatures. This is basically adding legal grounds of over-complexity

Read 5 tweets
14 May
The weirdest part about amateur #running is all the metaphysics running websites try to instill in an otherwise monotonous sport.

I run for things like weight control, cardio-pulmonary depth (VO2 max), & better health for my family, but according to the internet, I am a hero,

finding my true self, forging new paths, finding my fast, breaking barriers, and most recently, advancing progressive social causes like equity. Wow. I am doing all that just putting one foot in front of the other at speed?

I am not. Only ultrarunners with careers in the

talk like this; no one in my running club ever did. The rest of us are schlepping along.

In fact, these sites should be honest about the biggest problem with #running for amateurs - it's dull. Once you get to serious distances - 50+ miles a week - you need to learn how to

Read 7 tweets
6 May
Everyone is complaining about what a dud the new Biden N Korea policy review was.…

It basically recommends deterrence/containment/sanction/isolation, which is what we've done for decades.

There is a reason we keep coming back to this posture - bc all

the other alternatives have clear downsides:

A. The hawkish/conservative alternative - to use force or drones as we do so often in the greater Middle East - is hugely risky. NK has lots of capabilities to hit back, and SK is very vulnerable, especially with its capital right

on the border (a terrible strategic problem which really ties US-ROK military hands)

B. The dovish/liberal alternative - engagement and concessions - has a poor record of success. NK loves stringing out talks forever as a way of muddying the waters and creating the perception

Read 6 tweets

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