Interesting: The Hill reports that Don Rumsfeld was chosen as Time’s Man of the Year but turned down the honor, saying it should go to the troops instead.

It isn’t often that someone turns down an offer to be Time magazine’s “Person of the Year,” especially when that someone is as important as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

But that’s what Rumsfeld did when he learned that Time was planning to honor him in its year-end issue last month.

Rumsfeld told guests at a holiday party that in this year of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military deserved the honor more than he did, which is why Army Sgts. Marquette Whiteside and Ronald Buxton and Spc. Billie Grimes turned up on Time̢۪s Dec. 29 cover.

Time Managing Editor James Kelly appears to confirm Rumseld’s self-effacing act, if only obliquely, in an editor’s note recounting that when he and several other editors “met with Rumsfeld at the Pentagon in November to talk about the war, [the Defense Secretary] made the pitch, unsolicited by us, that the Person of the Year should be the American soldier. (Or as he put it, the American volunteer.)”

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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. carson says:

    I dont know that one can actually “turn down” Time’s Man of the Year? Especially given that its not always an accolade. Requiring the recipient to “accept” the award would seem to compromise the editorial integrity.

  2. John Lemon says:

    Perhaps he was thinking about the infamous SI curse that recently afflicted Oregon and a few other college teams.

    I would argue that Rumsfeld should be recommended for second prize in Wampum’s conservative blog awards (he does post his speeches on the DOD website — that’s blogging, right?). Second, of course, to John Lemon’s (now defunct) Barrel of Fish. It was good while it lasted, but it was last at being good.