Donald Rumsfeld : biography
On the morning of 9/11, Rumsfeld spoke at a Pentagon breakfast meeting. According to his later description to Larry King, he stated at the meeting that "sometime in the next two, four, six, eight, ten, twelve months there would be an event that would occur in the world that would be sufficiently shocking that it would remind people again how important it is to have a strong healthy defense department that contributes to… that underpins peace and stability in our world. And that is what underpins peace and stability."http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/transcript.aspx?transcriptid=2603
After the strike on the Pentagon by American Airlines Flight 77, Rumsfeld went out to the parking lot to assist with rescue efforts.http://www.911commission.gov/report/911Report.pdf, p.54 He later recalled that "I wanted to see what had happened. I wanted to see if people needed help. I went downstairs and helped for a bit with some people on stretchers. Then I came back up here and started — I realized I had to get back up here and get at it."
Military decisions in the wake of 9/11
On the afternoon of September 11, Rumsfeld issued rapid orders to his aides to look for evidence of possible Iraqi involvement in regard to what had just occurred, according to notes taken by senior policy official Stephen Cambone. "Best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H." — meaning Saddam Hussein — "at same time. Not only UBL" (Osama bin Laden), Cambone’s notes quoted Rumsfeld as saying. "Need to move swiftly — Near term target needs — go massive — sweep it all up. Things related and not."
That evening, after President Bush spoke to the nation from the Oval Office, Rumsfeld recalled musing about the President’s intended response to attack terrorists from whatever territory they planned and operated. He reported questioning whether that would include attacking American allies, and suggested that the problem be magnified and viewed from a broader scope. He recommended that state-sponsors of terror, including Sudan, Libya, Iraq and Iran, be considered as possible places of sanctuary if the U.S. were to attack Afghanistan.Rumsfeld, Donald (2011), p. 346
Rumsfeld wrote in Known and Unknown, "Much has been written about the Bush administration’s focus on Iraq after 9/11. Commentators have suggested that it was strange or obsessive for the President and his advisers to have raised questions about whether Saddam Hussein was somehow behind the attack. I have never understood the controversy. I had no idea if Iraq was or was not involved, but it would have been irresponsible for any administration not to have asked the question."Rumsfeld, Donald (2011), p. 347
"Looking back on the weeks following 9/11," he wrote, "Some accounts suggest an administration that seemed to have a preordained response to the attacks. From my vantage point, however, quite the opposite was the case. It was a time of discovery–of seeking elusive, imperfect solutions for new problems that would not be solved quickly. There was no guidebook or road map for us to follow."Rumsfeld, Donald (2011), p. 352
A memo written by Sec. Rumsfeld dated Nov 27, 2001 considers an Iraq war. One section of the memo questions "How start?", listing multiple possible justifications for a US-Iraq War.http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/02/newly-released-memos-of-donald-rumsfeld-prove-knowing-iraq-war.html
Afghanistan and Iraq
After the war in Afghanistan was launched, Rumsfeld participated in a meeting in regard to the review of the Department of Defense’s Contingency Plan in the event of a war with Iraq. The plan, as it was then conceived, contemplated troop levels of up to 500,000, which Rumsfeld felt was far too many. Gordon and Trainor wrote:
Rumsfeld’s plan resulted in a lightning invasion that took Baghdad in well under a month with very few American casualties. Many government buildings, plus major museums, electrical generation infrastructure, and even oil equipment were looted and vandalized during the transition from the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime to the establishment of the Coalition Provisional Authority. A violent insurrection began shortly after the military operation started. After the German and French governments voiced opposition to invading Iraq, Rumsfeld labeled these countries as part of "Old Europe", implying that countries that supported the war were part of a newer, modern Europe.