Rumsfeld--"This is wr"

Rowan Scarborough:

"Donald H. Rumsfeld sat in a vault-like room studded with video screens and talked with President Bush as the Pentagon burned.

" 'This is not a criminal action,' the secretary of defense told Bush over a secure line. 'This is war.'
"The word 'war' meant more than going after the al Qaeda terrorist network in Afghanistan, the fault line of terrorism. Bush said he wanted retaliation.


"Rumsfeld's instant declaration of war, previously unreported, took America from the Clinton administration's view that terrorism was a criminal matter to the Bush administration's view that terrorism was a global enemy to be destroyed.

" 'That was really a breakthrough strategically and intellectually,' recalls Douglas Feith, undersecretary of defense for policy. 'Viewing the 9/11 attacks as a war that required a war strategy was a very big thought, and a lot flowed from that.'


"The Rumsfeld directive is just one page, but its impact was historic: The defense secretary changed the nature of Special Operations forces ? and the Pentagon ? by giving commanders the authority to plan and execute missions on their own with a minimum of bureaucratic interference. Some excerpts:

"?The objective is to capture terrorists for interrogation, or if necessary, to kill them, not simply to arrest them in [a] law enforcement exercise.

"?The objective should be that processing of deployment orders and obtaining other bureaucratic clearances can be accomplished in minutes and hours, not days and weeks.

"?Special Operations command will screen DoD for personnel ? civilian and military ? with languages, ethnic connections and other attributes needed for clandestine and covert activities.

"?Gen. Holland will brief me on initiatives that can disrupt or destroy terrorist operations and additional assets that might be needed to pursue such initiatives."


"By spring 2003, Holland had won commitments from the Pentagon for 5,000 new positions and $1 billion more a year, bringing his budget to $6 billion.

"But Rumsfeld demanded results. At a conference of commanders at the Pentagon, he pulled Holland aside.

" 'Have you killed anyone yet?' he asked."

Can you imagine a Kerry administration figure asking that question?


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