Maybe it's just because I'm getting older myself, but I'm always a little disturbed when people start claiming that Rumsfeld is out of touch because of his age, early onset of senility and all that. Rummy just doesn't seem to fit in with that notion from anything I've seen. But I'm not saying Rummy is run-of-the-mill conservative either. He has consistently expressed things that have seemed out of character for a government official. I just don't buy the notion that he says these things because he's old and getting senile.
For instance, during the 9/11 hearings it was Rumsfeld who called the attack a blessing. Right after 9/11 it was Rumsfeld who expressed the urgent need for all Americans to upgrade their anti-virus software. My imagination ran wild over that one but nothing that has come out since then has contradicted what I imagined. When Abu-Ghraib came out and everybody was gushing about how bad it was that torture was happening in US controlled prisons, Rumsfeld just expressed concern that in this modern age pictures like those could spread around the world in no time at all with no control by the government.
If anything, Rumsfeld has a record of being an early predictor of future revelations about things that the government is keeping secret from us. So why should anyone be surprised that Rumsfeld has a problem with the term "war on terror" considering that the United States and its allies are and for decades have been primary sponsors of terror in the world? Rummy himself has played a central role in that. He knows the score.
Rummy may be a heartless pragmatist, but at least he's pragmatic. He assumes we are too. But maybe that's his problem. He doesn't understand why we all insist on keeping our heads so deeply buried in the sand. Frankly, neither do I.