We now know that the day before the 2006 midterm elections, Rumsfeld sent a classified memo to President Bush in which he admitted that the war in Iraq was going badly and set out some options for the future - many of which bear a close similarity to the suggestions of his most vocal critics.
Rumsfeld wrote "clearly, what U.S. forces are currently doing in Iraq is not working well enough or fast enough" so "it is time for a major adjustment."
The consummate media manipulator then goes on to suggest that the new approach should be described as being on a trial basis so that they can later change their minds without appearing to "lose". He also suggests that the administration should stop talking about victory. "Recast the military mission and the U.S. goals.... Go minimalist".
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, has complained that the contents of the memo are inconsistent with Rumsfeld´s recent congressional testimony when he categorically denied there was any failure or need for a change of policy. This is fairly damning as the memo had apparently been drafted over a number of weeks and so was probably in Rumsfeld´s mind as he spoke to (and therefore lied to) congress.
But what has brought about this change? Some have seen the memo which was "apparently" leaked without Rumsfled´s knowledge as simply an attempt by him to make himself look better. The New York Times noted that "Rumsfeld may have been trying to shape the coming discussion and present himself as open to change". Apparently, Bush interviewed Texas A&M University President Robert Gates as a possible replacement for Rumsfeld the same day. Gates has now been given the job, and has already stated publicly that the policy is not working.
Others consider that Rumsfeld was sacked for finally turning his back on the Bush policy of digging in Iraq. More likely is the suggestion that he was a sacrificial lamb to protect Bush from criticism and allow the pretence that the policy was going to change. Rumsfeld was a chief architect of the "plan" to invade Iraq, and the war may be bad for public opinion but many of his buddies have made enormous profits from it. While it´s nice to see him go it´s sad that he was ever there in the first place.