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

2. Troop strength in Iraq

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    Then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld prepares to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee about the status of the war in Iraq on Sept. 25, 2005.
    Andy Nelson/The Christian Science Monitor/File
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Rumsfeld responds to the frequent criticism that there were too few US troops in Iraq by noting that he was repeatedly assured that troop levels on the ground were just fine.

He acknowledges that he received a letter from Ambassador Paul Bremer recommending a review of troop levels in Iraq in May 2004. “Two years later, Bremer cited his letter as proof that he always thought US troop levels in Iraq were too low to enable the [Coalition Provisional Authority]’s mission to succeed,” writes an annoyed Rumsfeld.

“As head of the CPA, Bremer had had ample opportunity to express his opinions, and he had commented favorably on existing troop-level decisions on several occasions,” he adds. “I was not pleased that Bremer was recommending more troops for the first time as he was on his way out of Baghdad and not in person to provide his reasoning.”

He says his decision to hold off on adding troops was logical for some time, though he concedes that “it is conceivable that several thousand more troops in Baghdad, where most of the media was located, might have at least kept the capital from appearing so chaotic, a perception that proved damaging throughout our country and the world.”

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