Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld comes out swinging in his new book, Known and Unknown: A Memoir, and one of his targets is Colin Powell. Rumsfeld tweaks Powell over his management skills and disputes the notion that Powell somehow got duped into delivering the WMD address to the UN before the invasion of Iraq. The intelligence was wrong, Rumsfeld acknowledges in this interview excerpt from ABC’s Diane Sawyer, but we sent troops into the heat of the Iraqi desert wearing chemical-weapons suits for a reason:
Colin Powell, Bush’s first secretary of state, “did not, in my view, do a good job of managing the people under him,” Rumsfeld said.
“There was a lot of leaking out of the State Department, and the president knew it,” he said. “And it was unhelpful. And most of it ended up making the State Department look good. We didn’t do that in the Pentagon. I insisted we not do it.”
Powell, Rumsfeld said, never spoke up in meetings with the president to raise objections to the Iraq war.
“There’s a lot of stuff [in] the press that say Colin Powell was against it. But I never saw even the slightest hint of that,” he said. … Powell, Rumsfeld said, never spoke up in meetings with the president to raise objections to the Iraq war.
Nor was Rumsfeld particularly impressed with Condoleezza Rice, either:
Rumsfeld was less impressed by some of the president’s closest advisers. Of Condoleezza Rice, President Bush’s national security adviser and later secretary of state, he said, “She’d never served in a senior administration position” — a lack of experience that showed in her lack of organization in putting together critical meetings.
“She’d been an academic. And, you know, a lot of academics like to have meetings,” Rumsfeld said. “And they like to bridge differences and get people all to be happy.”
It looks like Rumsfeld isn’t too concerned about burning bridges. He even goes after Bush 41, while praising Bush 43:
Asked if he admired President George H.W. Bush — a Republican president he didn’t serve under — Rumsfeld was curt.
“No. No,” Rumsfeld said. “No, I was kind of disappointed in him. … He decided he wanted to leave people with the impression that he didn’t want to go to the CIA [in the Ford administration]. And that someone made him go there. And it was probably Rumsfeld or something.”
I’ll get a chance to sit down with Rumsfeld while I’m in DC later this week, along with other journalists, to discuss his new memoirs. Looks like it will be a lively conversation.