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Rumsfeld's History

In today's Boston Globe, Bryan Bender has a look at Rumsfeld's battle within the Pentagon. Key quote:

''People say he is a hawk, that him and [Vice President Dick] Cheney run everything. He is not some ideological nut," said a former top Rumsfeld aide, who asked not to be named. ''You can have a reasonable discussion with this guy. But this is also a guy who for five years has been tipping the applecart, canceling big orders for the Army, and a lot of people are [angry]."

That brings to mind this passage from Midge Decter's 2003 biography of Rumsfeld where she discusses the enormous fight Rumsfeld set off by trying to cancel the Army's Crusader program. Decter writes:

For a while Crusader became a great cause celebre in Washington. Bets were made, and a number of pundits confidently predicted that Crusader would turn out to be Rumsfeld's Waterloo. They could not, a number of Washington insiders told interviewers, believe that he could succeed in killing the program. For in addition to the Oklahomans, the army - most notably in the persons of Secretary of the Army Thomas White and Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki - rushed to Capitol Hill, and there the secretary of defense and his associates indeed enountered a pitched battle. "It was," Rumsfeld said of the experience, "as if I has shot a little old lady in the grocery store." In the end, Crusader and its supporters lost, and the program was dropped. Later Rumsfeld would observe that the battle over Crusader had been "more important not to lose than it was to win."

RELATED: The Anger at Rumsfeld