Rumsfeld: The Cold Wind

“By the time he left office, few would speak up for him.  Even Peter Pace – the marine general who as chairman of the joint chiefs was sufficiently close to Mr. Rumsfeld for Robert Gates, current defence secretary, to refuse to nominate him for a customary second term – weighed in after his retirement.  ‘I’m not an apologist for Secretary Rumsfeld,’  he said. ‘He’s a son of a bitch.  And I told him that.’ “

… from “Known Knowns of Rumsfeld’s Reign”

— Book Review, by Demetri Sevastopulo

— “By His Own Rules”, Bradley Graham, PublicAffairs Books, $35

— Financial Times, 7/27/09

On a personal note, as a Vietnam vet, I’m trying to grasp what it must be like for a man like Peter Pace, a Vietnam War combat commander, to be at a place where his contempt for Donald Rumsfeld is so deep.  Considering Robert McNamara, for Pace it’s like the second time around, times ten – as a man who led troops in two controversial wars:  the first as a young officer, and the second as the chief of staff of the armed forces as a whole.

Sevastopulos writes:  “Bradley Graham, a reporter for the Washington Post, has set out to explain how this former Navy pilot (Rumsfeld), congressman and White House chief of staff – a man ‘once considered among the best and brightest of his generation’ – ended up becoming the most controversial defence secretary since Robert McNamara.”

More on Pace, from Wikipedia:

“Upon completion of The Basic School at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, in 1968, Pace was assigned to the 2nd Batallion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division in the Republic of Vietnam, serving first as a Platoon Leader of Golf Company’s Second Platoon and subsequently as assistant Operations Officer.”


“On October 1, 2007, General Pace officially retired at Fort Myer, Virginia.”


“After his retirement ceremony, Pace left to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.  There, he left seven handwritten notes dated for that day, with a set of his four-star general insignias attached to each one.  Each note was similar to this one:

‘For Guido Farinaro, USMC.  These are yours – not mine.  With love and respect, your platoon leader, Peter Pace.’


  1. cocktailhag says:

    A few years ago, our local righty apologist and associate editor at the Oregonian, wrote a whining piece decrying those who, and there were many, called Pace a bigot for defending DADT, and getting all Palinesque, as those types always do, Reinhard tried to turn the facts on their head. I wrote in, and they printed it:

    A Bigot, and Worse
    While it’s certainly no surprise to see David Reinhard’s crocodile tears for Gen. Peter Pace, what’s astonishing is the reason for his sympathy.
    Though demonstrably incompetent, at least Pace is a homophobe. To Reinhard, this is a redeeming quality.
    Pace shares responsibility for the worst disaster in American history- militarily, politically, financially, and morally. His name will go down in history for the lasting damage he has helped cause. Being called a bigot should be the least of his worries.
    SW Portland

    • rmp says:

      I knew a little about Gen. Pace when he was a one-star in DoD Public Affairs which without looking at his bio was where he started to learn his Beltway skills. Just like AF Gen. Meyers, Pace was most instrumental in allowing the Iraq invasion and War to start, continue and be conducted with stupidity of the enemy and the country and culture of Iraq.

      I don’t know the context of the Pace remark, but I have damn little respect for Peter Pace and his role in causing the suffering of millions and the death and wounding of so many of our military. He is a stupid SOB who like Gen. Meyers was way beyond the Peter Principle. Rather than criticize his SECDEF, he should look within and be totally ashamed of his role.

  2. dirigo says:

    Sometimes I just think of men who lived during a certain time; and I am pained for them.

    I’m pained for me.

    I don’t condemn them; I feel as they do, for I lived when they did. We still live, though with years added; and now, with gray hair and a slightly bent gait.

    Give ‘em a break. Give me a break. After a while, the question is: Who gives a f_ _ _ ?

    It all evens out.

    What kind of beer would you like if you blew into the White House (Where’s my invite?) ?

    It’s all rock n’ roll in a way. Burned out; burned up; right on down the road.

  3. dirigo says:

    Just in case you’re tone deaf …