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

4. 'The Army you have'

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

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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