Rumsfeld to voters: You just don’t understand

As he bids farewell, the secretary of defense suggests that his critics don't see what he sees.

Topics: Iraq war, War Room, Iraq, Middle East, Donald Rumsfeld,

Flanked by the president who appointed him and the man who would replace him, Donald Rumsfeld just addressed the nation from the Oval Office. He said it has been an honor to serve with the men and women of the U.S. armed forces, but he didn’t mention that more than 2,800 of them have died in his ill-planned war in Iraq.

Intead, Rumsfeld talked about the criticism he has had to endure as secretary of defense. “It’s been quite a time,” he said. Then he thanked George W. Bush for his leadership “in this little understood, unfamiliar war, the first war of the 21st century.”

The message was implicit but clear: Those who have criticized Rumsfeld for his conduct of the war just don’t understand what kind of war it is. “It is not well known, it is not well understood, it is complex for people to comprehend,” Rumsfeld said.

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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