October 23, 2003

Thoughts on Rumsfeld's Memo

An invitation from Donald Rumsfeld to a high level strategy session was leaked yesterday. There were different opinions about it around the blogosphere. The spinning has reached frenzied yet utterly predicatable proportions. If you support the war, it's a clear headed assessment. If you are against the war, it's an admission of failure. No surprise then that I'm in the clear headed assessment camp.

One thing I haven't seen picked up yet is the structure of the memo. It's an invitation to a meeting to discuss what Rumsfeld learned from combat commanders about the following items: Are we winning or losing the Global War on Terror? Is DoD changing fast enough to deal with the new 21st century security environment? Can a big institution change fast enough? Is the USG changing fast enough? He goes on to lay out the status quo, and then challanges his senior guys to figure out how they can do better. He's consulted with the field commanders, and know he's trying to get top leadership to address their concerns. So my reaction is good for Rumsfeld -- he's doing his job.

The press, however, isn't doing theirs. Yesterday, this was all over the web. This morning when I opened my local newspaper, there was this lousy piece, which wasn't much different than the original USA Today article. What I dislike about them is quite simple - they take a memo that flows and reduce it to a collection of sound bites. Why not just reprint the memo itself, and then they can include the reactions? Yeah, I know its on the web, and that's how I know just how bad a job newspapers do. When I can read the darn memo myself, and then their reporting, you realize just how terrible their reporting is. I pity the poor fool who has to rely on the newsmedia to pre-digest the information they need.

Posted by Kevin Murphy at October 23, 2003 12:36 PM | War On Terror
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