Newt's Advice for Rumsfeld

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 4 2011 12:30 PM

Newt's Advice for Rumsfeld

As Newt Gingrich explores his presidential bid, he's not talking a whole lot about Iraq. Conveniently for us, Donald Rumsfeld has been putting old memos on his website . One is an e-mail from August 8, 2002, carping about Gingrich for claiming the United States was not expanding the International Security Assistance Force.

The United States has not prevented the expansion of ISAF. We would be happy to have it expanded. However, nobody wants to do it except the Washington Post, The New York Times, and people with no troops! We have had a dickens of a time getting people to participate, we had a dickens of a time getting Turkey to take the lead and we are going to have a dickens of a time finding someone to take over from Turkey in December.

If you know of people standing in line to join ISAF I would like to hear about it. The idea that we refused the Italians sounds crazy to me. I will check with Franks. Thanks.

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He's also posted a memo from 6/27/03 that has Larry DiRita writing to Rumsfeld, asking: "Please see me on this Newt Gingrich paper on 'Seven Strategic Necessities."

The paper, which you can read at the site, is all about Gingrich's advice for winning the PR side of the war and dealing with long-term strategic threats.

You want to force the carping, criticizing group to join you for the long haul or join the isolationists and reality avoiders. If there is a clear strategic choice the Bush Administration will win. If people get three choices the knit (sic) picking, daily critics will steadily gain ground. Do not let yourself be caught up in a daily argument or in trying to predict when you will leave a country or when you will solve everything. The country needs a little Churchillian promise of "blood, sweat, toil and tears."

There's a lot more in there, including Gingrich's advice for winning over peaceful Palestinians with a strategy similar to anti-insurgent tactics that worked in Malaya and, to a lesser extent, Vietnam.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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