The Corner

Gillespie v. Latimer

On home-page here:

In the letters section of the Wall Street Journal today, Speech-less author Matt Latimer implies that he is not really very involved in writing former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s book — that he doesn’t “finally report to” Rumsfeld, and is more a proofreader for the publisher than a ghostwriter for the author. I found this statement incredible. When I was a counselor to President Bush with responsibility for his speechwriters, Latimer told us the reason he would be leaving months early, breaking his commitment to serve through the end of the term, was that Rumsfeld insisted Latimer leave the White House immediately to help write his book.

I am surprised that no reporter has yet asked either Donald Rumsfeld or Crown Publishing whether Rumsfeld hired Latimer or not, and whether Latimer has a financial stake in the sales of Rumsfeld’s memoirs — something not disclosed in his own book. It would be a revealing omission for someone purporting to be an unvarnished truth-teller, given that the author lacerates virtually everyone he ever worked with or for — except Rumsfeld.

I’m also surprised that Rumsfeld has remained silent while the man he chose to write his book presents a damning portrayal of most every member of his Pentagon inner circle, including even a snarky caricature of Rumsfeld’s personal secretary. These men and women loyally served the defense secretary, and if Rumsfeld believes his hand-picked writer is wrong about his former staff being such incompetent fools, he should come forward to defend them publicly.

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: comments.lowry@nationalreview.com. 

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