'Shock and awe' or shame and sorrow?
By Al Neuharth, USA TODAY Founder
When historians rate our secretaries of Defense of the past century, these two will go down as the worst:
Donald Rumsfeld, currently serving under Republican President George W. Bush ( news -web sites ).
Robert McNamara, who served under Democrat Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.
McNamara earned his place in infamy by misleading us repeatedly about the ever-escalating war in Vietnam, which we ultimately lost.
Rumsfeld now has ensured his spot. He turned what was to be a pep rally for Iraq ( news -web sites )-bound troops into an insult to all military men and women who have served there.
Responding to a soldier's question about the lack of armored equipment, Rumsfeld said: "You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have."
This from the head of the Pentagon ( news -web sites ), where repeated assurances were given before the so-called pre-emptive and elective war that we would "shock and awe" Iraqis into quick submission.
Rumsfeld continues his know-it-all stance. But the most war-experienced member of Congress, Sen. John McCain ( news ,bio ,voting record ), R-Ariz., repeatedly said this week that he has "no confidence" in the Pentagon boss.
After we belatedly pulled out of Vietnam, McNamara wrote his confessions in a best-selling book titled In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam .
After Rumsfeld retires, he, too, likely will write a book. Will it be fiction, about how his shock and awe worked out, or will it be non-fiction, confessing to the shame and sorrow he and his cronies have caused us with their ill-advised, poorly planned and ineffectively executed expedition?