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join the discussion - What  do you think of Donald Rumsfeld's battle to overhaul the Defense Department  for fighting a new kind of warfare -- the  war on terrorism?    And, what's at stake for the U.S. military in Iraq


I would like to note that bias is inherent. An absolutely objective piece about such a controversial topic is impossible. We must always question the media! Always.

With that being said, I'd like to thank Frontline for another informative (yet still biased) piece. The picture painted of Rumsfeld is in a bad light, certainly, but there is not much Rumsfeld has to be proud of these days. Also, the neo-con takeover of our government is an issue that has been troubling me for some time, and I am glad to see a national media outlet giving it mention. I would like to see a Frontline piece about the Project for the new American Century.

To those who claim this piece is an unfair slandering of Rumsfeld and the Bush administration, please feel free to present a contrary argument, or some evidence that you feel needs to be brought to light. Simply complaining about liberal bias in the media gets you nowhere. Make claims, and present information backed up by evidence, and I will gladly listen to your complaints.

Connor McGinn
Fort Collins, CO


When are you going to post the video online. I know people who missed the television airing and dying to watch it online.

Sean Underwood
arlington, va

FRONTLINE's editors respond:

It's now available for viewing.


Remember during the last debate Bush said " I sat down with all of the Generals, to make sure they had what they needed"

Stacey Acton
Roseburg, Or


I commend you on perhaps the finest piece of journalism I have seen on television. The depth of the research and the completeness of the story is amazing. I would like to know how to get a copy of the program for future reference. I am a graduate student in Public History and a Vietnam combat veteran, not exactly your typical student. Congratulations on an outstanding job.

Bud Alley
Brentwood, TN


I was so enthralled with this piece as I flipped through channels on my way to the ball game. Thanks for pulling all of this together in such a thought-provoking manner. Some Bush administration mysteries were resolved but I'm still uncertain whether the failures of this administration are caused by stupidity (arrogance?) or an actual plan having the goal of neutralizing our country. Iraq is very much like 'Nam in too many ways.

Linda Dickens
Blanco, Texas


Frontline, Exceptional program. I was particularly focused on the failure of the political appointees to heed the advice of the leaders of the military in lieu of a subordinate officer who happened to agree with the program as promulgated by Rumsfeld (Attack Iraq) on the night of 9/11.

I was horrified to see and hear the evidence that some of the civilian leaders of the DOD advanced the degradation of the Geneva Convention as regards treatment of POWs. What does this tell the world of our Nation? That we expect more than we deliver and will resort to any means to achieve political ends. All in all a sad chapter in our nations history.

Luke Drake
Weare, NH


The presentation in Rumsfeld's war by and large cohered with and complemented Seymour Hersh's more detailed picture of the steps leading up to the Iraq invasion. At first I surmized that the miserable after-battle planning by the US was the fault of the military, but after your presentation and Hersch's I realize that the present chaos--the failure to control looting, the destruction of the Iraqi infrastructure, the failure to anticipate a developing resistance, and finally the inability to deal with opposing Iraqi factions (Sunni, Shia, Kurd)--are primarily the fault of Rumsfeld, Cheney, and their neo-con advisers.

Jim Gill


This piece smacks of the "Michael Moore" syndrome all over again.

For those viewers who question why the administration reps refused to be intervied have to understand that in a time of war some discussions are inappropriate and may be a security risk.

I am sure that once the war is complete, historians, politicians, and the media will fully confront the topic and find the truth.

William Rennaker
Newark, NJ


Absolutely wonderful show! From what I've read, I find Mr. Rumsfeld is a quality and decent man. He asked intelligent questions as a good managers do. But unfortunately in this case, his belief of a newer military was dead wrong. Furthermore, there are plenty of blame to go around.

First, the man most responsible is George W. Bush who set the Iraq war-planning in motion but had no clue how to control it. He let it got out of control and lacked the judgment to recognize a fraud war-plan.

Second, Tommy Frank who was supposed to "hold the line" on the civilian-control of the Pentagon and watched out for his troops. He failed his duty and put thousands of men at risks. Not to mention this was HIS war-plan.

Third, Paul Wolfowitz is such an idiot that is amazing that people like these are actually in policy making positions for our government. Not just that he was dead wrong on the number of troops required, he predicted the war would last only 2 weeks (according to "Plan of Attack"). Even amateurs know that 2 weeks are not enough time to move a sizable arm-force from Kuwait to Baghdad, not to mention they have to fight bombs and bullets and overtake a government.

This program is the first chapter for the history book of a failed war, by a failed President, on a failed policy. Hopefully, this is a valuable lesson future generation will NEVER repeat again. Thank you PBS!

V Leong
San Jose, CA


Rumsfeld's War was a great piece in a sea of sound-bites and spin analysis.

You have once again reinforced my opinion that Frontline is probably the best program on US TV. I have been a viewer for many years. You continue to present facts regarding difficult issues where a large percentage of the population seems to share some collective hypnotic crusade du jour.

Rex Allers
San Jose, CA


Great program! I found out things about the principles in the piece I didn't know before. I admire Mr. Rumsfeld's grit and convictions, however, like a lot of great men, he needs much improvement in the area of ego control. Mistakes in judgement are made by everyone, admitting to them is a very necessary part of leadership, something the whole Bush team needs to learn. Not being able to do that SHOULD cost them this election. Time will tell all!

Ben French
Long Beach, Ca.


Your program titled Rumsfeld's War was one-sided and lacked objectivity. The public and donated funds you receive deserve better, or at least some balance. Or did the Washington Post fund this as their position or infomercial?

You certainly have the capability of securing and/or presenting varied or opposing points of view and should not hide behind statements like "... declined our invitations for an on camera interview". That's a cop out and you should be ashamed of being part of what seems a biased Washington Post infomercial especially at this critical time. This smells more like an agenda than a reasonable report. So many times in the past I have enjoyed your programs, but this was certainly a sad disappointment.

Robert B
San Diego, California


Once again Frontline provides excellent insight into important issues effecting our lives. I salute PBS for possessing the courage to produce and broadcast programs that challenge the stats quo.

Reasonable people may differ regarding whether the U.S. should have deposed Hussein when it did, either as a pre-emptive measure against a terrorist safe-haven or against a misperceived imminent threat. However, the show's main thesis is unassailable; Rumsfeld usurped the military regarding troop levels necessary to secure Iraq. Recognizing this reality now will enable Americans to make informed decisions on November 2, prevent further unnecessary loss of American lives and move the U.S. toward achieving positive accomplishments in Iraq.

This program embodies responsible journalism, freedom of speech and democracy at its best!

Gregory Begg
Basking Ridge, New Jersey


I appreciate and agree that Mr. Rumsfeld has some wonderful qualities and has achieved some positive initiatives in the Defense Department. He is to be commended for his years of service to his country.

I voted for President Bush in 2000 and appreciate him as a sincere and dedicated man.

But he has to take responsibility for a series of blunders and mis-steps which have placed us in a position of being out of control in Iraq, and villified by much of the world. If, as the only world superpower, we are going to act firmly, we must do so in a manner that Rumsfeld's and Wolfowitz's total failure to understand the political landscape in Iraq and their failure to prepare for and execute an effective occupation and transition plan may prove to haunt us for decades to come. Their mismanagenment of this affair has, I think, unfairly exposed the thousands of selfless and dedicated heroes in our military to unnecessary danger.

Perhaps only a massive change in administration could provide the climate for improvement:

1 - following up on our (Bush's) commitment to Tony Blair to work to impose a dual state solution with Israel and the Palestinians -- the achievement of which would remove one of the three legs currently holding up the Al Quaida stool.
2 - Managing to persuade the currently non-participating developed world and the UN that we -- the USA -- are ready to work in partnership as a team member in a truly multi-lateral transition in Iraq.
3 - De-Americanizing the occupation in Iraq and a return to a focus of fighting world-wide terror, including restoring the level of support need for Afghanistan, which Hamid Karzai has been pleading for since we shifted resources from there to Iraq.

Alan Cantor
Los Angeles, CA


Thank you for your excellent presentation. I too was one of those who passed up the world series to watch this important program.

I think that one of the key elements being missed is that Washington is a tough town and the decisions that are made are made by tough people. You cannot survive in that enviroment by being a shrinking violet.

But being tough does not necessarily equate to being right. Secretary Rumsfeld displayed his courage with his actions at the Pentagon on 09/11 but has made some critical errors in the aftermath of the military victory in Iraq.

J. Patrick Schroeder
Elmhurst, IL


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posted oct. 26, 2004

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