Donald Rumsfeld Regrets Not Going Away Sooner

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Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Shortly after the Abu Ghraib scandal broke in 2004, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld offered President George W. Bush his resignation. Bush refused. Five days later, just so there was no confusion, Rumsfeld offered again, and once again, Bush refused. It was another two and a half years until Rumsfeld was finally canned. But in his upcoming 800-page memoir, Known and Unknown, Rumsfeld writes that he really wishes Bush had just let him go earlier.


His biggest mistake, Mr. Rumsfeld writes, was in not forcing Mr. Bush to accept his offers to resign after the abuse of Iraqi detainees by American military jailers came to light in early 2004. Mr. Rumsfeld insists that the abuses were the actions of rogue soldiers and that they did not reflect any approved policies, but nevertheless he offered to step down.

“Abu Ghraib and its follow-on effects, including the continued drum-beat of ‘torture’ maintained by partisan critics of the war and the president, became a damaging distraction,” Mr. Rumsfeld writes. “More than anything else I have failed to do, and even amid my pride in the many important things we did accomplish, I regret that I did not leave at that point.”

America is not going to disagree with you on that one! Especially not John McCain, who told ABC News this morning, "Thank God he was relieved of his duties."

In Book, Rumsfeld Recalls Bush’s Early Iraq Focus [NYT]