Cheney: Rumsfeld ‘Finest Secretary of Defense This Nation Has Ever Had’ (Video)

In a big send-off yesterday, Vice President Cheney, himself a pretty fair SECDEF, lauded Donald Rumsfeld as “the finest Secretary of Defense this nation has ever had.”

In his regard for our people in uniform, in his unwavering strength through unprecedented challenges, in his example of leadership and patriotic service, I believe the record speaks for itself: Don Rumsfeld is the finest Secretary of Defense this nation has ever had.


Payson Schwin has the video.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Steven Plunk says:

    If you throw out second guessing of events past I hear very little actual constructive criticism of Rumsfeld. We should also look at his performance as secretary in other areas besides the Iraq war. It is generally agreed he performed well.

    Those who disliked him could always find something to blame on him but seldom offered much in terms of what could be done better in the future.

    I will again say that I expect history to treat him well.

  2. Major Scarlet says:

    good riddance rummy. i don´t know what metric cheney is using. rummy fought tooth and nail against army and marine generals to increase troop strength of the forces so he could protect his legacy as a tranformer of the military. he put his legacy above the lives of soldiers. hell, he wanted to cut the army by 2 divisions to pay for his transformation programs and only reluctantly agreed to a 30,000 temporary increase in soldiers. we never saw those soldiers but now that he is gone.. maybe we will. best sec def ever? horseshit.

  3. Tano says:

    Profound misreading of the situation into which his forces are inserted, followed by stubborn refusal to acknowledge problems are rethink his approach. Leading to disastrous outcome and severe strain on the force. A profoundly incompetent performance.

  4. anjin-san says:

    That must be why they canned him…

  5. Anderson says:

    So, after Rumsfeld screws up anything, we can’t criticize him, because that would be “second-guessing”?

    [Expletives deleted.]

  6. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Based upon U.S. casualties taken, verses the objective, I would say DR has done an outstanding job from a historical standpoint. Trumans Secretary of Defense managed to lose over 50K American lives, for zero return. Robert McNamara had to apologize for his performance. 58,000 dead and not only did we not protect our ally, South Viet Nam from their communist enemy, we betrayed them to that enemy. I know the nathering nay bobs of negativity (like that?) will demean Rumsfelds accomplishments, as they do any success by the armed forces of this country, but unlike his predecessor, notice no and I repeat No further terrorist attacks on the United States since 9/11. If this were by accident, why cannot the previous administration make the same claim? I hope you all mark your houses, for when the Democratic cowards pull our troops out of Iraq and the terrorists follow them here, they know who to kill first.

  7. Cernig says:

    There hasn’t exactly been a lot of choices. The post isn’t that old and most have been adequate at best. State used to be the more important post before George’s misadventures.

    George Marshall surely has a claim on being the greatest statesman to hold the post, even if he wasn’t in it all that long.

    Regards, C

  8. Rodney Dill says:

    Political hiring and firing has little to do with actual accomplishments or ability (after all Truman fired MacArthur).

  9. Anderson says:

    after all Truman fired MacArthur

    A puzzling aside, as if Truman was somehow wrong to fire a general who publicly challenged his Commander-in-Chief and who refused to accept civilian direction as to the nature of the war.

    If you think we should’ve gone to war with China in 1951, then I could see why MacArthur would be a hero to you. Otherwise, not so much.

  10. mike says:

    Good riddance. Rummy, us military folks, the officers included, hate you with a passion that you will never understand; please do nothing else “for” this country; just collect your bribes from Halliburton and be quiet.

  11. Ol Pete says:

    If he were a Dem, he would be pilloried endlessly. Arrogant, incompetent and corrupt. He and his dark twin Cheney have led America to abandoning all its moral values.

    But because he is a republican, people actually think he did a good job, some a great job. That is BIZARRE. I have yet to hear some concrete claims of accomplishments.

  12. Such stimulating, thoughtful, and respectful discussion…

  13. Major Scarlet says:

    right charles, we should all be like cheney and lie about the outgoing secdef’s performance. i can understand cheney thanking him for his service but saying he is the best ever ignores reality. he has few friends among the army officers i know and work with and he earned that by showing us a lack of respect since he took over. i´m glad he is gone and he should have been fired long ago.

  14. legion says:

    I think I mentioned this in an earlier thread, but I’ll say it again here, since Steven is looking for specifics…

    Rumsfeld has always very clearly been one of those kinds of leaders that people outside the organization admire, but who the people that actually have to work for him loathe. His callous dismissal of competing opinions, his unwavering arrogance, even in the face of baldly conflicting evidence, the speed with which he dumps blame for failures onto subordinates… While he may have a strong personality, willing to make unpopular decisions & see them through, that doesn’t mean he’s been making _good_ decisions.

    Rumsfeld is the archetypal ‘pointy-haired boss’; someone who believes that because he’s the boss, he must know more about everything than anyone who works for him. Because of this (much like his boss), once he makes a decision or public pronouncement, it can _never_ be examined or re-evaluated, regardless of how incorrect it turns out to be. Those who do attempt to bring their own expert opinions, advice, and experience to the table get rapidly run out of town. The deeply disrespectful manner in which Gen Shinseki was cast off after disagreeing with the buildup for OIF put a long-term damper on competent, independent people’s interest in taking a senior position & working in the E-ring.

    Say what you want about the Clinton era, I, as someone born in ’70 and in uniform since ’93, have never seen a SecDef who held _less_ respect for (or understanding of) the people who worked for him. At least Aspin resigned after Mogadishu…