Rumsfeld memo recognizes need for 'major adjustment' in Iraq

Sunday, December 3, 2006

A classified memo written by US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld two days before resigning calls for large changes to the Iraq War policy currently in place.

Says Rumsfeld, "In my view it is time for a major adjustment. Clearly, what U.S. forces are currently doing in Iraq is not working well enough or fast enough."

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Titled "Iraq — Illustrative New Courses of Action", the memo discusses ideas for reduction in troop levels or redeployment. However, the former Sec. Def. does not recommend any particular strategy. The memo lists many options that he says warrant consideration, including reducing US combat troops and focusing on a support role.

The document's veracity has been confirmed by Pentagon official Eric Ruff.

The memo has raised many eyebrows in Washington, because Rumsfeld staunchly defended his Iraq policy in public and because the White House has repeatedly rebuked many of the options Rumsfeld lists. It also seems to contradict previous assertions that troop levels were set according to the needs of commanders on the ground, and not by elected officials.

According to the New York Times, National Security Advisor Stephen J. Hadley described the leaked memo as one part of a review being conducted by the president.

“What Secretary Rumsfeld did, I think very helpfully, was put together a sort of laundry list of ideas that ought to be considered as part of that review,” Mr. Hadley said on the ABC News program “This Week.

Bush is considering a variety of new options, including some previously rejected, because "things are not proceeding well enough or fast enough in Iraq," Hadley continued on "This Week." "We have to make some changes."