“Even the Most Sanguine Optimist”

Former Navy Secretary and 9/11 Commission member John Lehman writes in the Washington Post that “even the most sanguine optimist cannot yet conclude that we are winning this war or that we can win without some significant changes in policy.” The op-ed is not all negative, since Lehman cites at least two significant achievements accomplished by the Administration—no attacks within the US since 9/11 and efforts to thwart proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to terrorists. Among his criticisms is the Bush Administration’s failure to follow through with intelligence improvements and, instead moving in the “exact opposite” direction by creating yet another bureaucracy. Lehman goes on to write that the answer to “Rumsfeld’s question—are we killing, capturing, or deterring jihadists faster than they are being produced?” is an “emphatic no.” (Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld posed this question to his four senior military and civilian advisors in an October 2003 memo.)