Rumsfeld to tout his book at Joint Base Lewis-McChord
Former Secretary of Defense will be appearing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord on Friday to promote his memoir, "Known and Unknown."
Seattle Times staff reporter
Donald Rumsfeld is stopping in Western Washington on Friday to promote his memoir, "Known and Unknown," which chronicles, among other aspects of his business and government career, his controversial tenure as secretary of defense in the administration of President George W. Bush.
Although Seattle is a favored stop of authors on book tours, Rumsfeld will not appear at any locations in the city.
His two scheduled appearances are both at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, where he will sign books at the Air Force and Army exchanges before heading north on a cruise to Alaska.
Lewis-McChord is one of a dozen military bases the 79-year-old Rumsfeld has scheduled for his book tour.
"There have been thousands of people who have lined up at these bases," Rumsfeld said in an interview Monday. "I have gotten a chance to say how much I appreciate their service ... and it's been a really delightful opportunity to be able to do that."
Joe Piek, a base spokesman, said authors often make book-signing appearances at the exchanges. These events are only open to military personnel or others with government identification cards that allow access through the base front gates.
The proceeds of his book, published earlier this year, go to the Rumsfeld Foundation, which funds nonprofit organizations involved in assisting wounded veterans, microfinance grants and fellowships for Central Asian scholars.
About half of Rumsfeld's book covers the post 9/11 era, when as defense secretary, he helped launch wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
For Rumsfeld, a low point came in May 2004, as he twice offered to resign amid public outrage over the disclosure of photos of U.S. prison guards abusing Iraqis at Abu Ghraib.
On Monday, Rumsfeld said he had no way of knowing what Army prison guards were doing as they stood watch half way around the world in Iraq.
But he thought his resignation offer was the right move and would help the Defense Department put the scandal behind it.
Bush turned down his offer. In retrospect, Rumsfeld said he wished he had left the job rather than serve as defense secretary for more than two additional years.
"More important than anything else I have failed to do, and even amid my pride in the many important things we did accomplish, I regret that I did not leave at that point," Rumsfeld wrote in his book.
The Defense Department launched the invasion of Iraq in 2003, less than two years after toppling the Taliban in Afghanistan. Some critics have said the Bush administration shifted its focus from Afghanistan, contributing to the Taliban's resurgence.
Rumsfeld rejects that analysis and says the Taliban were able to regroup by reorganizing in Pakistan.
"We did not deny our effort in Afghanistan to benefit our effort in Iraq," Rumsfeld said.
In his memoir, Rumsfeld also writes about how the invasion of Iraq, and subsequent capture of President Saddam Hussein, helped persuade Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to dismantle his country's nuclear and chemical-weapons program.
Gadhafi's regime now appears to be crumbling as rebel troops have entered Libya's capital of Tripoli.
In his interview, Rumsfeld said the world would be a better place without Gadhafi, and he criticized President Obama for not saying early on that the objective of the U.S. assistance to Libyan rebels was to overthrow the Libyan leader.
Rumsfeld argues that would have encouraged more Libyans to support the rebels and likely shortened the length of the conflict.
Instead, Rumsfeld said Obama was ambiguous about what he expected would be the outcome of the intervention by the United States and its NATO allies.
Hal Bernton: 206-464-2581 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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