FORMER US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld wanted to oversee the initial reconstruction of Iraq following his country’s invasion but was rebuffed by president George W. Bush, according to leaked pages of his forthcoming memoir.
He also acknowledges he went too far by saying “Stuff happens” about early looting in postwar Iraq, and by making scathing criticisms of France and German for not supporting the use of force.
In his wide ranging 800-page autobiography, entitled Known and Unknown after a well known Rumsfeld-ism, Mr Rumsfeld also lashes out at former White House colleagues and at the media, reports in the Washington Post, which obtained the book.
The book is reportedly based not just on Mr Rumsfeld’s memories, but on hundreds of previously unreleased documents, some of which he plans to post on his website.
In it he reveals he tried to resign twice in the wake of the Abu Ghraib scandal, in which pictures were released of US soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners they were supposed to be guarding.
The release sparked violence in many parts of the Muslim world. “Looking back, I see there are things the administration could have done differently and better with respect to wartime detention,” he said.
Mr Rumsfeld criticises Condoleezza Rice for pushing Pakistan’s president Pervez Musharraf too hard towards more democratic practices, wrongly putting human rights ahead of important US security interests in Uzbekistan, and fruitlessly pursuing diplomatic engagement with Syria, Iran and North Korea.
In another revelation, the Drudge Report says Mr Rumsfeld warned in 2001 of an Afghan “swamp” and “not to make a career out of transforming Afghanistan”.