Today on NBC’s Meet the Press, host Tim Russert pointed out that Donald Rumsfeld’s recent memo on Iraq suggested a strategy of partial withdrawal. Russert asked National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley why, when others had raised this idea in the past, “they were accused by your White House of cutting and running.”
Hadley told Russert “maybe you misunderstand what the memo was about,” and downplayed Rumsfeld’s suggestion. Hadley claimed the memo was simply an effort by Rumsfeld to “broaden the debate,” and was “not a game plan or an effort to set out the way forward in Iraq.” Watch it:
Hadley is spinning. Rumsfeld’s memo is entitled, “Iraq — Illustrative New Courses of Action.” In it, Rumsfeld says “it is time for a major adjustment” and suggests a number of options that “could” or “should be done,” and partial withdraw is one of them. Hadley and the White House just don’t want to acknowledge that things have gotten so bad in Iraq that even Donald Rumsfeld is considering withdrawal.
RUSSERT: One of the things that Donald Rumsfeld suggested was redeployment, taking U.S. troops out of Iraq, put them into Kuwait, surrounding areas. When the Democrats suggested that, they were accused by your White House of cutting and running.
HADLEY: I think that maybe you misunderstand what the memo was about. The President, as you know, before that day had called for a review of where we were heading in our approach forward in Iraq. It drew on work that had been started in a number of agencies in the government, and one of the things that the President said is. I want to look at new ideas. I want to have an open door to ideas and one thing that the Rumsfeld memo list represented was a laundry list of ideas that he considered, some he put above the line and some were below the line and it was to broaden the debate. It was a useful memo. This was not a game plan or an effort to set out the way forward in Iraq.