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In his memoir, Donald Rumsfeld admits five mistakes, sort of

- Anna MulrineStaff writer

Army Spc. Thomas Wilson (l.) asks Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Dec. 8, 2004, in Kuwait, why vehicle armor is still in short supply.
(Gustavo Ferrari/AP/File)

4. 'The Army you have'

While Rumsfeld was visiting US troops headed to Iraq in 2004, a soldier pleaded for more armored vehicles. Rumfeld’s response – “You go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time” – was widely considered flip.

This is clearly a sore point for Rumsfeld, who notes that his answer was more complex than was quoted in the media. That said, he adds, “My response also told a simple truth about warfare.” Rumsfeld further explains, “I later was told that the soldier’s question had been planted by a Tennessee news reporter who had been embedded with the unit.”

On this point, he offers no corroboration. “The source of the question was of little importance – it was a critical issue regarding the safety of our troops, and I did my best to answer it fully.”


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