Over at Brad DeLong’s weblog, I spotted a link to this weblog entry, busting Donald Rumsfeld for lumping in Gulbudin Hekmatyar with the rest of the Taliban in Afghanistan. I noticed the error but skipped it, assuming that Rumsfeld was glossing over the details for the sake of brevity. Hekmatyar is a scumbag, but he’s not a member of the Taliban. I’ve read lots of other interesting comments on the Rumsfeld memo as well, most of which have convinced me that my general enthusiasm for it are a product of my low expectations for the Bush administration. Clearly the memo is meant as yet another argument for Rumsfeld’s long held ideas on the transformation of the military, and in that sense, it’s just a basic call for doing more of the same stuff he already wanted to do. At the same time, it’s a rare glimpse of the Bush administration admitting that things aren’t just peachy in every way, even if only to themselves.
Update: Speaking of people latching on to specific bits of Rumsfeld’s memo, Phil Carter posted an interesting riff on Rumsfeld’s call for metrics to measure how effective our efforts in the war on terror are. (Perhaps the ultimate example of bending strategy to suit metrics rather than actual desired outcomes is the phenomenon of “teaching to the test” in public education. When teachers and schools are rated based on how their students perform on standardized tests, then they tend to focus on those tests to the exclusion of other things.)