A fascinating story in GQ magazine about the incompetence and arrogance of Donald Rumsfeld. An excerpt:
Shortly before the Iraq invasion, King Abdullah II of Jordan decreed that warplanes could not overfly his country if they had previously flown over Israel. The king’s demand meant that U.S. fighters would need to make a multiple-hour detour before proceeding to their targets. Rumsfeld had himself been a fighter pilot and presumably recognized the absurdity of the detour, and so one NSC aide approached him during a meeting in the Situation Room as the matter was being discussed.
“Excuse me, Mr. Secretary,” said the aide. “I want you to know that Dr. Rice is prepared to call the king to get that restriction removed so that our kids don’t have to fly the extra two and a half or three hours.”
Rumsfeld looked up from his coffee. “When I need your help,” he said, “I’ll ask.”
The secretary did not ask for the help, and so his soldiers went the extra distance, unnecessarily.