The Atlantic’s George Packer offers a scathing critique of Rumsfeld’s responsibility for the travesty of the Iraq War:

Rumsfeld was the worst secretary of defense in American history. Being newly dead shouldn’t spare him this distinction.

Rumsfeld was the chief advocate of every disaster in the years after September 11. Wherever the United States government contemplated a wrong turn, Rumsfeld was there first with his hard smile—squinting, mocking the cautious, shoving his country deeper into a hole. His fatal judgment was equaled only by his absolute self-assurance. He lacked the courage to doubt himself. He lacked the wisdom to change his mind.

The threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iraq was at the heart of the Bush administration’s case for war. However, a confidential report drawn up for the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff report admitted: “Our knowledge of the Iraqi (nuclear) weapons program is based largely—perhaps 90%—on analysis of imprecise intelligence.” Rumsfeld purportedly never distributed the report with key members of the Bush administration (including then-Secretary of State Colin Powell and principal officials at the CIA.)

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