Recently, Donald Rumsfeld sat down for an exclusive interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer. In the first of two parts, Rumsfeld reveals he wanted to resign after Abu Ghraib, but Bush wouldn't let him.
"That was such a stain on our country," he told Sawyer. "To think that people in our custody were treated in that disgusting and perverted and ghastly way -- unacceptable way."
"There wasn't an easy target," he added. "And so I stepped up and told the president I thought I should resign. And I think probably he and the military and the Pentagon and the country would've been better off if I had."
Watch the video here (sorry, ABC doesn't like embedding YouTube video, and the video code on ABC News' Website is too big).
Predictably, though, Rumsfeld's remorse is highly selective. For instance, he has no regrets about using enhanced interrogation techniques on Mohammed al-Qahtani and other Gitmo detainees, claiming they saved lives. However, he wasn't happy that the interrogators went further than authorized.
Qahtani would be subjected to sexual humiliation and long periods of sleep deprivation and isolation while in custody at Guantanamo, and his heartbeat at one point dropped to 35 beats per minute.
Rumsfeld said he only learned the details of such treatment after the fact -- and that interrogators went further than he had authorized.
"I didn't approve any of that," Rumsfeld said in the interview. "And when I found out that they had done some of those things, the people who had done things that had not been approved were dealt with. They were stopped and prosecuted."
Good and well, until we remember what Rumsfeld found acceptable: forced stress positions, among other things. And yet, he considers this humane, according to his new book. Uh-huh.
Rumsfeld also says that Bush should have focused on fighting radical Islam, rather than a broader strategy of fighting terror. Had he done that, it would have been easier for more moderate Muslims to see "their religion was being hijacked." Amazing that Rumsfeld can say that with a straight face after approving tactics that only served to alienate Middle Easterners further, and not doing enough to combat the borderline xenophobic rhetoric from his own party. But that's to be expected from a neocon.