Donald Rumsfeld was the Secretary of Defense for 6 years

DONALD RUMSFELD WAS THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR 6 YEARS…. Alexis Madrigal went poking through Donald Rumsfeld’s online archive yesterday, looking for instances which the former Pentagon chief referenced Libya. He found a doozy.

This memo was sent on April 7, 2003, to then-Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith. Rumsfeld’s subject line read, “Issues w/Various Countries,” and it reads:

We need more coercive diplomacy with respect to Syria and Libya, and we need it fast. If they mess up Iraq, it will delay bringing our troops home.

We also need to solve the Pakistan problem.

And Korea doesn’t seem to be going well.

Are you coming up with proposals for me to send around?


This is literally the entire memo. No, it’s not a parody.

Donald Rumsfeld was, by the way, the Secretary of Defense for six years, a tenure that included overseeing two wars.

And as far as Dick Cheney is concerned, Rumsfeld was “the best Secretary of Defense the United States has ever had.”

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation