The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Cast of Characters

Former Rumsfeld Deputy Criticizes Gates

By Ann Scott Tyson
Larry Di Rita, a close confidant of former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, criticized President-elect Barack Obama's expected retention of Defense Secretary Robert Gates as a "safe decision" that maintains the "status quo" of those who resist broad efforts to transform the Defense Department.

In a blog posting on National Review Online, Di Rita, who served in several Pentagon jobs under Rumsfeld from 2001 to 2006, writes that Gates focused on Iraq and Afghanistan at the cost of carrying on Rumsfeld's efforts to bring about "the most rapid and profound transformation" of the defense establishment since 1947.

"Gates had little choice but to relegate much of this to the back burner," Di Rita writes. Faced with the "forces of status quo" among defense contractors and Congress, "Rumsfeld muscled his way through these forces without fear or favor," he writes. "Gates, given what he believed would be limited time and a limited mandate, mostly avoided them."

Posted at 1:40 PM ET on Nov 26, 2008  | Category:  Cast of Characters
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Why was Rumsfeld criticizing Gates earlier? When did he get respect back?

Posted by: MatthewAvitabile | November 29, 2008 5:44 PM

So a guy who helped Rumsfeld ruin our military to the extent that we aren't equipped to properly wage the two wars we're in and totally incapable of beginning to handle any separate new threat or incident and cannot recruit new soldiers of any quality successfully is criticizing the current secretary of defense?
Seems to me, when you AND your boss get fired you ought to realize that no one is seeking your advice and counsel.

Posted by: skeetchamp | November 29, 2008 11:36 AM

Mr. Di Rita, will you just please shut up? You (as an extention of your boss) have absolutely no right whatsoever to say anything, period. Go. Away.

Posted by: SGall23241 | November 28, 2008 9:47 AM

Donald Rumsfeld "abilities" are on par with his president. In short his "changes" serve only one purpose, to make the former holder of the DoD failure award (Robert Strange McNamara) look like a military genius. His underlings deserve forced retirement, not praise.

Yes, we are in a new world era. The NeoCons led us on a path to disaster with a lame-brained ideology. One can only hope that the new administration can make the changes needed to undo their bumbling incompetence.

Posted by: Marine-Vet | November 27, 2008 8:20 AM

I can't wait to hear Gonzales criticize the next atty general for not illegally wiretapping enough, or for Brown to gripe that FEMA helped people too efficiently after a natural disaster.

Posted by: Cynicor | November 27, 2008 7:22 AM

Can no one see that this is just a Rumsfeld-inspired plot to make Gates look more palatable to Obama?

Posted by: Sutter | November 27, 2008 5:31 AM

LDR, please note:

As you know, you go to war with the SecDef you have, not the SecDef you might want or wish to have at a later time.

God bless our troops and the civilian and military leadership who make life and death decisions on their behalf.

Posted by: randy_tabor | November 27, 2008 1:22 AM

I might be a little concerned if someone with credibility made this statement but with derita, 'no problemo'! I first thought it was coming from woolfie but no matter, they are equally braindead. Complete washouts, go away!

Posted by: racom | November 26, 2008 11:54 PM

I was down on a Gates reappointment, but if a Rumy Neo-con ally opposes Gates, I say go ahead, Barak, reappoint Gates.

Posted by: dcwsano | November 26, 2008 7:10 PM

Look, Obama is the first President to transition into the White House in our post 9-11 history. That is transition enough for now. You knucklehead.

After the thousands of new people take their jobs and get used to them, it may be time to revamp things. After. You knucklehead.

Oh yeah, Rumsfeld's theory of military strategy was proven WRONG. He's no hero. You knucklehead.

I'm not saying that people died because Rumsfeld was incompetent; I'm justsaying that Di Rita's comments make him appear to be a knucklehead.

Happy holidays,

Posted by: jrob822 | November 26, 2008 7:01 PM

So, Larry actually thinks that anybody really wants to hear his opinion?

Posted by: think4yourself1 | November 26, 2008 6:23 PM

Don't let the messenger muddy what might be a valid message -- Rumsfeld might've been wrong on a number of issues, but he was right to recognize that the military challenges facing the US in the future will be dramatically different from the ones it has been designed to handle. Gates might not have had time or resources to pay attention to this task, but he, or his successor, will have to bring it back to the front and center sometime in the medium term.

Posted by: prganapathy | November 26, 2008 6:17 PM

I don't know about anyone else but the fact that Rummy doesn't care for Gates makes me feel like Obama made the right choice. Why does any of the media even bother with Rumsfeld anymore? I would value Joe The Plumbers opinion more than Rumsfeld's.

Rumsfeld should be put out to pasture and not heard from again. We put up with him long enough. Rumsfeld, Palin, Bush, and Cheney to mention a few should be not seem and not heard for the rest of eternity. Enough is enough.

Posted by: racam | November 26, 2008 4:40 PM

Di Rita is just pissed off because there's someone competent working there instead of Rumsfeld and himself.
What a loser.

Posted by: chasemanlv | November 26, 2008 3:22 PM

Sweet baby jebus....

Would you take advice on how to build a cruise liner from the makers of the Titanic?

Posted by: RightDownTheMiddle | November 26, 2008 3:12 PM

If Rumsfeld's shill criticizes Obama, then Obama must be doing something right. Larry deRita complaining, that is a quality control!

Posted by: SophieAmrain | November 26, 2008 2:59 PM

OMFG, who really cares what this loser has to say?

Even though the term "bottom line" is used with great abandon by people all over Washington, there is one "bottom line" which applies to this clown: He -- along with hacks like Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Feith, and probably a dozen others -- made up one of the absolute WORST leadership teams the Department of Defense has seen in the 60 years it has been around.

Larry DeRita...please.

He should be mixing paint at Home Depot.

Posted by: Jaxxon | November 26, 2008 2:51 PM

As I recall Di Rita wasn't among Rumsfeld's smartest picks. Perhaps we can safely ignore his comments. Gates is a pretty solid man. Getting rid of Brennan is the best move.

Posted by: miilu | November 26, 2008 2:47 PM

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