Rummy's Last Town Hall

A class act to the end. Look at the amusing but touching remarks Gen. Pace makes about him at the top of this transcript. And then Rummy speaks. He manages to be hilarious all the way through.
When I think about these past years, there are a number of moments that stand out.
I think of those proud Afghan girls that were sitting in the front row at President Karzai's inauguration in Kabul, when he became president -- the first president elected by the people in the 5,000- year history of that country.
They were standing there, and then they sang. And, of course, under the Taliban rule, it was against the law to sing. And the reports of the Afghan children flying kites that day. And, of course, it had been against the law to fly kites.

Given all we've heard about "snowflakes" and how much Pentagon types hate him, I found the discussion towards the end of the decision and consultation process very interesting; you can also "feel" the affection for him in the room. A few quips from the Q& A:

Q: QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, how do you want history to remember you?
RUMSFELD: My goodness.(LAUGHTER) Better than the local press.

Unloads on Congress a wee bit, in response to a question about bureaucracy:

This first conflict of the 21st century is so different, just enormously different from the World War II conflict. And yet the institutions, the committees of Congress, the subcommittee system in Congress, the turf fights over jurisdiction that exist and the micromanagement of the bureaucracy in so many instances leads to a situation where the bureaucracy can't respond.
We're well behind in Afghanistan and Iraq in terms of the development of the police in those two countries. Why? Well, because there was no line item for the Department of Defense to do anything about police. It was over in the State Department. And they didn't have the people to do it. And the Congress didn't authorize the money to do it.

And they're at least, what, two years behind -- thepolice from the military? And that's harmful. That's costly. And yet it's because the federal government has not had a Goldwater-Nichols, in a sense. They haven't decided that, in this different era, we have to have different arrangements among the various departments and agencies, and greater flexibility to move rapidly to try to avoid problems rather than to wrestle with them well after the case.

Asked about his best and worst day:
You know, clearly the worst day was Abu Ghraib and seeing what went on there and feeling so deeply sorry that that happened.
And I guess my best day, I don't know, maybe a week from Monday. [When he's out.]
Last word:
we have every chance in the world of succeeding in both those countries, but only if we have the patience and only if we have the staying power.There have been -- in every conflict in our country's history, there have been those who said, "Toss in the towel; it isn't working."The Revolutionary War, by golly, George Washington almost got fired. He didn't win a battle that I can recall for a whale of a long time. You think of the beginning of World War II and all the battles that were lost.You think of the Cold War, when Euro-communism was in fashion and millions of people -- hundreds of thousands of people were demonstrating not against the Soviet Union, against the United States, saying we were the ones in the wrong.
But, by golly, something important isn't easy. And this isn't easy. And, by golly, it's important and we better do it right.