- 8 Nov 06, 10:52 PM
There's a term used often in the military - "command climate".
It signifies the atmosphere that a senior leader generates through his language, his behaviour, his attitude. The command climate seeps down from the top and influences the way the entire chain of command makes its decisions.
The command climate that Donald Rumsfeld generated in the Pentagon was unforgiving. He questioned everything and everybody.
His memos - known as "Rummy's snowflakes" because they came in blizzards - would have officers at their wits' end.
Major General John Batiste, after he retired, called him "arrogant" and "abusive".
An army major I once met said bluntly: "Rumsfeld hates us, he hates the army." I think that few in the uniformed military will be sad to see him gone.
But Rumsfeld saw himself as crusading against military inertia and conservatism. He loathed what he saw as the military's addiction to outmoded, expensive weapons platforms and its desire to fight only the wars it already knew how to fight.
In common with many of President Bush's advisers, he believed that America should not respond to the world, it should transform the world. For Rumsfeld that meant transforming the military, Afghanistan, Iraq, the very environment in which America's adversaries operate worldwide.
It will be a long time before history reaches a stable verdict on Donald Rumsfeld's second tenure as Secretary of Defense.
Many of his decisions will be condemned. His inability to ensure control Baghdad immediately after US troops stormed into the city will, I imagine, be reviled.
But his understanding of the threats that America faces today, and his instincts as to how America should answer them, will be the subject of long debate.
Adam Brookes is the BBC's Pentagon correspondent.
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