RUMSFELD ON IRAQ….A couple of days before he got fired, it turns out that Donald Rumsfeld wrote a memo outlining a bunch of possible options for the war in Iraq. The full text is here.

“In my view it is time for a major adjustment,” the memo says, before listing a wide range of possible changes that are mostly notable either for the surprising fact that we’re not already doing them or for the less surprising fact that they’re pretty much unattainable. What’s more interesting, I think, comes at the end: a list of options Rumsfeld considers “less attractive.” These include:

  • Move a large fraction of all U.S. Forces into Baghdad to attempt to control it.

  • Increase Brigade Combat Teams and U.S. forces in Iraq substantially.

  • Set a firm withdrawal date to leave. Declare that with Saddam gone and Iraq a sovereign nation, the Iraqi people can govern themselves. Tell Iran and Syria to stay out.

  • Assist in accelerating an aggressive federalism plan, moving towards three separate states ? Sunni, Shia, and Kurd.

  • Try a Dayton-like process.

In other words, the options Rumsfeld isn’t open to are the ones most frequently mentioned by outside analysts: Increasing the number of troops, concentrating on Baghdad, withdrawing, splitting Iraq into three mini-states, and negotiating with Syria and Iran. He doesn’t like any of ’em.

I’ll bet this reflects the thinking of Bush and Cheney pretty accurately. The bottom line then, is: maybe some small changes, maybe a change in rhetoric, but nothing serious. On the bright side, at least Rumsfeld recognizes that things aren’t going well. I wonder if Bush even acknowledges that much?

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