They're there at every level. We live in an enormously litigious society and the Congress contributes to that. As a result, there's practically no step that's made by anyone in the Pentagon and in the Department of Defense where they do not take into account the legal implications and consult lawyers about it....
There's a pattern in the department, at the top level, the chairman and the chief and the Joint Chiefs will recommend some rules of engagement for a certain circumstance. It will then be sent down the chain of command and it will get to the next command level, maybe the Combatant Commander, and the Combatant Commander will look at it, and then he will not want to violate it. So he might take a little tuck in it. And then it goes down to the next level. And it's got now it's in a country commander. And he looks at it and he doesn't want to break the rule so he takes a little tuck in it. You end up with four or five layers down there taking tucks and you end up with some rules of engagement that don't look like what the chairman of the Joint Chiefs or the Joint Chiefs of Staff or even the Combatant Commander intended. Now why is that? Well, it's fear. It's because of our litigious society. It's because of Congress overseeing things and having hearings.
March 3, 2011
Says Donald Rumsfeld: