Rumfeld’s Rules: How To Assess Progress In Iraq

In a speech today, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld offered some pointers on how to assess the situation in Iraq.

Don’t pay attention to terrorist attacks:

“To be responsible, one needs to stop defining success in Iraq as the absence of terrorist attacks,” Rumsfeld said in remarks at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Don’t pay attention to U.S. fatalities:


Pressure on the administration over the war has grown as the number of U.S. military deaths has surpassed 2,100. Rumsfeld said a focus on that number would be as misleading as concentrating on the large numbers of deaths at battles like Iwo Jima during World War II, without acknowledging the victories eventually achieved.

Don’t pay attention to the media:

Rumsfeld also delivered a broadside against the media, saying that in the present era of the 24-hour new cycle, events in Iraq may be reported too quickly and without context, and at times with little substantiation.

The only thing to pay attention to, it seems, is whatever Rumsfeld tells you.