If not for a misplaced phone number, his contentious relationships, and his stunted height, Donald Rumsfeld might have had power to start a lot more damage than his little skirmish in Iraq.
The former defense secretary—in all his irritability and incompetence—is the subject of Andrew Cockburn's scathing new biography, Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy. Among the revelations:
• Rumsfeld has a contentious relationship with his former protégé, Dick Cheney. During Rumsfeld's aborted run for president in 1988, he called up Cheney to get his endorsement. Cheney balked, saying that he was behind George Bush Sr., and Rumsfeld snapped, "Everything you are, I've made you. You owe everything to me." Cheney's reply: "I've had to make my own way since '77—I would do anything for you, but not this." They didn't speak for several years and Rumsfield even skipped the ceremony for Cheney's appointment as Bush's defense secretary. Then, asked about Cheney's potential as Bush's running mate in 2000, Rumsfield said, "He wears easily on you."