The Hell Donald Rumsfeld Built

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Donald Rumsfeld didn’t lack belief, or conviction. In the words of the oft-quoted Yeats poem, the worst are full of passionate intensity. He believed in an exceptional America, he believed in the might and power of our armed forces, and he believed, too, that might and power are a kind of permission. A nation should do what it pleases if it can, as long as it’s right — and Rumsfeld’s America was always right. What kind of world did Rumsfeld’s belief help build? On the occasion of his death, this is a question worth asking.

Before the hagiographies commence, before the scolds complain that the left is being too harsh, examine the world as it stands today because of Rumsfeld. Iraq remains a war zone almost 20 years after the then-defense secretary shrugged off widespread looting in Iraq with a flippant “stuff happens.” The war on terror has endured for so…

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