How Rummy Spun Bush

I wonder what's worse: a defense secretary who puts Old Testament quotes on progress updates on an invasion of a Muslim country or a defense secretary who thinks this will add to his president's knowledge and expertise. The lethal combination of a Christianist president and a cynical coterie helped make the Iraq debacle happen. The invaluable Robert Draper provides key background here in an evisceration of the tenure of Donald Rumsfeld – with the help of a few Bushies:

Bush enjoyed Rumsfeld’s cussedness, his alpha-dog behavior toward the media. That same behavior toward his colleagues did not seem to bother the president. To Bush, rivalry was healthy, and the full extent of Rumsfeld’s conduct was not known to him for the simple reason, say aides, that they did not wish to trouble the leader of the Free World every time Rumsfeld jerked them around.

But when the Abu Ghraib scandal broke in the spring of 2004, Bush was upset that the Pentagon had not shared the damning photos with him before 60 Minutes II aired them. He called Rumsfeld on the Oval Office carpet, an incident that the White House leaked to The Washington Post to convey the president’s dissatisfaction to the public. Rumsfeld read the story the next morning, May 6, and promptly drafted a letter of resignation. Bush received the letter with bemusement. Ol’ Rummy had called his bluff. The president took no further action.

The picture Draper paints is of  highly dysfunctional defense secretary whom Bush couldn't or wouldn't bring into line until he had no choice. The more you see just how out of it the last president was, the more you wonder just exactly what they told the president about torture:

“I certainly, yeah, have every reason to believe he knew…”