Television

CNN documentary profiles US Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld

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MUMBAI: CNN will air the documentary, CNN Presents: Rumsfeld: Man Of War on 7 October at 11:30 am and 7:30 pm and on 8 October at 11:30 am. The documentary takes an up-close look at US secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

CNN special correspondent Frank Sesno was given rare access to the defense secretary, his allies and critics of his stewardship of the war in Iraq. During an exclusive interview and tour of his Pentagon offices, a candid Rumsfeld admits that he did not anticipate the strength of the Iraqi insurgency – but he also challenges those who have questioned his war planning.

Sesno reports that Rumsfeld, who achieved extraordinary success in turning around two corporations as a CEO in the 1980s and 1990s, brought a business executive’s cost-cutting sensibility to the Pentagon. While supporters say he listens to ideas and is eager to hear opposing views, his critics say that once he has staked out a position, it is nearly impossible to change his mind.

Both Rumsfeld’s allies and his detractors talk plainly about his management style, his decision-making and the chronology leading up to the current state of affairs in violence-plagued Iraq. In the documentary Rumsfeld and his war planners accept a share of responsibility for the failure to adequately plan for the insurgency in Iraq.

Critics of Rumsfeld – several of whom have called for his resignation – say planning failures for Iraq resulted in a breakdown of law and order, a lack of confidence in the American presence, and, ultimately, a longer and more dangerous war.

Although Rumsfeld oversees the most technical and logistical transformation in the history of the American military, most agree that the defense secretary’s place in history will be determined by his management of U.S. forces in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

CNN Productions VP and senior executive producer Mark Nelson says, “Associates tell us that he can be brutally combative but also fair and generous. No matter what your view of the man might be, there is no doubt that his iron-fisted leadership of the Pentagon is defining the war on terrorism and will determine the shape of our military for years, even decades, to come."

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