The Abu Ghraib prison scandal is seared in the nations memory. Across the Middle East, with the sole exception of the reckless invasion of Iraq, there are few matters that US soldiers would rather forget than the pictures of a hooded Iraqi man standing with his hands outstretched and wires attached. Now comes Donald Rumsfelds memoir - a hefty 800-page autobiography, Known and Unknown, out next week in which, according to the Washington Post, Rumsfeld remains largely unapologetic. In a lengthy section on the administrations treatment of wartime detainees, Rumsfeld regrets not leaving office in May 2004 after the disclosure of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, writes reviewer Bradley Graham. Regrets not leaving office? Thats rich, but not surprising - coming from the man who said, Stuff happens about the early looting in post-war Iraq, and who also famously observed: Democracy is messy. Instead, Rumsfeld has the nerve to blame others for his many mistakes. In retrospect, there may have been times when more troops could have helped. But he insists that if senior military officers had reservations about the size of the invading force, they never informed him (according to the Post review). In reality, Rumsfeld rejected a plan presented to him by Gen Tommy Franks, the head of Central Command, and his operations director, Air Force Maj-Gen Victor Gene Renuart, that called for more troops at the time. Lets put together a group that can just think outside the box completely, ordered Rumsfeld then. Outside the box turned out to be easy: Rumsfeld outsourced the dirty, dull and dangerous stuff to Halliburton and Blackwater and paid them handsome profits. His compatriots at the State Department dispatched 11 idealistic volunteers ... in their twenties or early thirties [who] had no foreign service experience to run the country. At the same time, Rumsfeld failed to provide working equipment to the soldiers, who were facing an increasingly hostile population. Then, Iraq turned out to be a powder keg. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died in a civil war that ripped the country apart. Thousands of US soldiers, too, were killed by roadside bombs. In December 2004, when Thomas Wilson, a low-ranking soldier from the Tennessee Army National Guard, asked Rumsfeld: Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to up-armour our vehicles? Rumsfeld replied: You go to war with the army you have. In his book, Rumsfeld shifts responsibility for the failures in Iraq on to President George Bush and Paul Bremer III. Theres plenty of reason to blame them for their failures, no doubt about it. But in reality, if there is one person who was in charge of the war, it was Donald Rumsfeld - and it is he who needs to apologise for the crimes of that war. In May 2004, right after the Abu Ghraib scandal broke, the Economist - hardly a radical rag - ran an editorial titled Resign, Rumsfeld, adding responsibility for errors and indiscipline needs to be taken at the top. Nor was it just the armchair generals who reached this conclusion. In September 2006, three retired military officers - Maj-Gen John Batiste, Maj-Gen Paul Eaton and Col Thomas X Hammes, all of whom served in senior positions during the invasion and occupation of Iraq, called for Rumsfeld to resign. Today, as the crowds surge forward in Cairo in a valiant attempt to topple dictators in the Middle East, they are not quoting Donald Rumsfeld, or his boss George Bush, or recalling the removal of Saddam Hussein. Rather, in their desperate plea to be heard, they are chanting slogans against both Mubarak and the US, whom they blame for the denial of democracy as well as torture in Egypts prisons - and in Abu Ghraib. What the citizens of the US, Iraq and, indeed, the world needed from this man today was an apology, at the very least. Plain and simple. In his 1995 memoir of the US war in Vietnam, In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam, Robert McNamara, another former US secretary of defence, admitted that he and his senior colleagues were wrong, terribly wrong to pursue the war as they did. If only Donald Rumsfeld would do the same. Guardian