Stephen Benedict Dyson
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Rumsfeld and the invasion plan
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Considered in isolation from what came later, the invasion plan for Iraq was daring in conception, achieved its goals with stunning speed and at low cost, and represented a sparkling advertisement for Rumsfeld’s vision of a light, fast army. Planning saw close interaction between Rumsfeld and Gen. Tommy Franks, showing the positive potential of Rumsfeld’s leadership style. The secretary was insistent, questioning, and effective in shaping a plan that married Franks’ war-fighting expertise with the goals of the civilian Pentagon leadership. Instead of crumpling before Rumsfeld or ignoring him, Franks took the secretary’s incessant questioning as a positive cue, and together they fashioned an effective product. The positive impact of Rumsfeld on the invasion plan serves as a useful reminder that studies of controversial leaders should take account of the upside, as well as the downside, of each worldview and decision style.

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Leaders in conflict

Bush and Rumsfeld in Iraq

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