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  • Originally published 03/25/2013

    Donald Rumsfeld: "What Will History Say?"

    Credit: Flickr/Thierry Ehrmann.As conditions in Iraq spiraled downward in 2005, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld prodded the Pentagon press corps to adopt the long view. Instead of focusing on short-term setbacks and daily violence, with all the “gloom and doom” this involved, “we should ask what history will say.” Fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan was admittedly “tough and ugly,” but history would reveal that “America was on freedom’s side,” and that “literally millions of people were enjoying liberty” because of the brave actions of coalition forces.Famously weak on predictions, Rumsfeld’s suggestion that history will judge the two wars a success and the harbinger of freedom for “literally millions,” seems unlikely. But having just passed the tenth anniversary of the American invasion of Iraq, the secretary’s question is worth pondering: what will history say about this war of choice? And more importantly, what should be remembered?