Posts Tagged ‘Donald Rumsfeld’

Rumsfeld Again

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

By Jeffrey Page

Donald Rumsfeld

Donald Rumsfeld

After several years out of the public eye Donald Rumsfeld – genius of all geniuses of the war in Iraq – returns.

Nowadays, Rumsfeld is being “courted” by some possible Republican presidential candidates. One such matchup is Ted Cruz’s hiring of Victoria Coates to be his foreign policy adviser. Victoria Coates? She was an aide to Rumsfeld when he ran the Pentagon for George W. Bush. Additionally, The Washington Post recently noted that several Republicans are reaching out to policy makers from past GOP administrations. Cruz, for example, has a sit-down scheduled with Rumsfeld himself.

Donald Henry Rumsfeld. As secretary of defense he gave us the misery of a war fought for dubious purposes and based on alleged evidence of Saddam Hussein’s possession of weapons of mass destruction. Thousands dead and wounded, a treasure’s worth of funds spent, and we never found those weapons.

It took a while, but Rumsfeld finally was shown the door. Between his performance at the Pentagon and some of his bizarre comments over the years, the door should have opened sooner, and you wonder why anyone would “court” him today. But, he left and did what people like him do all the time – he vanished, rose briefly with the publication of his book, and then seemed to disappear again. And now he might return – again.

Think back. Recall Rumsfeld as an alumnus of the Wiseacre School of Political Oratory with a major in condescension. In 2003 there were reports that some troops in Iraq had engaged in looting. Of course Rumsfeld was asked about this and sneeringly responded: “Freedom’s untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things.”

Got that?

There was always more when it came to Rumsfeld. Sure, his Pentagon might have misled Bush about the war and its progress. That’s one form of disrespect. But Rumsfeld dissed the troops themselves.

Do you remember this? Late in 2004, Rumsfeld paid a Christmas visit to U.S. forces in Kuwait. He praised the troops, and then took questions. Specialist Thomas Wilson of the Tennessee National Guard asked why he and his fellow soldiers had been equipped with light vehicles that lacked proper shielding. (Remember, this was a time when roadside bombings were killing and maiming troops regularly.)

Wilson also asked why, in order to protect their own lives, the troops were forced to scrounge through Kuwaiti landfills for scrap metal, fashion it into substandard shields, and attach them to their light vehicles.

Rumsfeld asked for a repeat of the question and you knew he had been snared. Wilson complied, adding, “We do not have the proper armored vehicles to carry us north.” The troops applauded.

Rumsfeld’s response will live forever as something you simply don’t say to the people who actually do your fighting. “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have,” Rumsfeld said.

Which was verbal trash.

Because if you plan a war for months before you intend to wage it – as the Bush Administration had – you use the time to supply your army with the proper equipment in big numbers. I noted in a column for The Record in 2004 that the only time you’re forced “to go to war with the army you have” is when the enemy is landing in the Bronx and time is precious.

There was more. Soon after Rumsfeld’s appearance in Kuwait, the Pentagon announced it was “aggressively” addressing Wilson’s complaint.”

But then the Associated Press reported it had interviewed another soldier who had expressed the very same complaint of substandard shielding to Rumsfeld – 15 months earlier – during the secretary’s visit with wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Hospital. The soldier who spoke with AP recalled that Rumsfeld said at the time of his visit, around September of 2003, that he was working on the problem of the missing armor shields.

Which proves the old adage that I just made up: “You go to war with the secretary of defense who stands behind for his troops, not the secretary of defense who can’t equip his army properly and who sneers when he hears complaints.”

The Iraq War’s Legacy of Lies and Alibis

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

In October 2003, my husband, Lance, and I made the trek to Washington, D.C., to participate in our first of several demonstrations against the Iraq War. Photos by Lance Theroux.

By Emily Theroux

Snippets of revisionist Iraq War lore have been popping up all over the Interwebs this week.

One long, dreadful decade since the neocons bamboozled a clueless “Commander-in-Thief” into launching America’s first preemptive war, apologists for the March 2003 invasion are offering every imaginable excuse but the real reason, the one none of them will ever admit: Dick Cheney and company lusted after the oil.

Like a pocketful of bad pennies, the architects of what was arguably the worst foreign-policy blunder in the past century are turning up again to tarnish history with their appalling mendacity. It’s a wonder none of them has been forced to spout his damned lies from a federal prison cell.

Read on for a rogue’s gallery of historic reprises, rewrites, and redactions:


Cheney’s chain of fools and tools

To hear the most manipulative veep in recent memory tell it, Dick Cheney was the hammer and Incurious George the hapless nail. In the recently released Showtime documentary, The World According to Dick Cheney, Bush 43’s overbearing “second fiddle” admits that he virtually occupied the office of his boss from the inside. When tasked with vetting possible vice-presidential candidates for Bush, Cheney set the bar impossibly high for everyone else and then appointed himself to the job, since nobody else measured up, in his estimation. Dubya bought it because Cheney carped endlessly about the danger of “ambitious” veeps, then convinced Bush that only he would be sufficiently unassuming.

Poor George. He never knew what hit him “upside the head.” As for Dickie-boy, this frighteningly unexamined individual claims to have no regrets about usurping the power of the presidency:

“I did what I did. It’s all on the public record, and I feel very good about it. If I had to do it over again, I’d do it in a minute.”


Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of Rummy!

Donald Rumsfeld infuriated the Twittersphere yesterday afternoon with the following self-serving recommendation:

“10 yrs ago began the long, difficult work of liberating 25 mil Iraqis. All who played a role in history deserve our respect & appreciation.”

Never mind those pesky WMDs  — you know, the “smoking gun” that might come in the form of Condy’s infamous “mushroom cloud” — which Rumsfeld insisted (and later denied ever having insisted) would be found expeditiously in the vicinity of Tikrit and Baghdad. “Liberating” several gazillion Kurds and Shiites was what all those nefarious neocons really meant to say, before they inexplicably “misspoke.”)

Far from anything resembling the homage Rummy expected to result from his 10th-anniversary tweet, George W. Bush’s original defense secretary found himself carpet-bombed by a Twitstorm of revulsion and abuse. “Except you & your bosses, you blood-gargling psychopath,” comedian Rob Delaney fired back (a retort that’s been retweeted 780 times so far). “War criminal,” numerous others responded.

“You horrible, delusional person,” tweeted a guy from Philly. “You’ll get yours.”


Dispensing Perles of ‘wisdom’

On National Public Radio, the Prince of Darkness himself, Richard Perle, dismissed the host’s query about whether, after causing the deaths of nearly 4,500 American soldiers and tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of Iraqis, the war was “worth it”:

“I’ve got to say, I think that is not a reasonable question. What we did at the time was done in the belief that it was necessary to protect this nation. You can’t, a decade later, go back and say, ‘Well, we shouldn’t have done that.”

In the aftermath of what most Americans consider a terrible mistake, I’d like to know why not. Relative centrists like Joe Biden, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton may have been cowed into vocally supporting neocon claims that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction” and voting in favor of authorizing the war, but many on the left weren’t fooled by Bush administration bombast, exaggeration, and fear-mongering. We may not have known yet that the Niger yellowcake claim was a deliberate scam, but we knew when we were being fed a crock of “cakewalk.”

The problem, back in 2002 when Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, and Rumsfeld were actively fomenting their longtime plan to topple Saddam Hussein (which predated Bush 43’s presidency): Congress had been seized by a wave of jingoistic fervor after the terrible events of 9/11. Anyone facing an election lived in fear of even appearing seditious. Hence, the spectacle of Democratic stalwarts falling in line behind right-leaning Republicans to approve the “USA PATRIOT Act” (a “backronym,” I am informed by Wikipedia, which stands for the “Uniting [and] Strengthening America [by] Providing Appropriate Tools Required [to] Intercept [and] Obstruct Terrorism Act” of 2001)  — not to mention disparaging “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” (the perfidious French, a la Groundskeeper Willie of The Simpsons), and spurning America’s favorite fast-food snack as “freedom fries.”

Perle was reportedly a fount of misinformation, stating days after 9/11 that Saddam had ties to Osama bin Laden, claiming that war with Iraq would be “easy” and that Iraq could finance its own reconstruction, and insisting that Saddam was “working feverishly to acquire nuclear weapons.”


Who’s afraid of the big bad Wolfy?

Paul Wolfowitz, Rummy’s comb-licking right-hand man, actually admitted, during an interview with The Sunday Times, that the U.S. bungled the overthrow of Saddam Hussein (which he was the first neocon to advocate), by purging the ruling Ba’athists and installing an American “viceroy” at the helm of an ill-advised occupation. (Disbanding the fully armed Iraqi army, I might add if anyone asked my opinion, was at least a comparable blunder.)

Wolfowitz, of course, was absolutely indignant that anyone would dare call Bush 43 a liar. The “conclusion” that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, he averred, was “the consensus judgment of the intelligence community” and of most Democratic senators.  “Hillary Clinton certainly was one of them,” said Wolfowitz, who obliquely added:

“The falsehood that the president lied, which by the way is itself a lie, is so much worse than saying we were wrong. A mistake is one thing, a lie is something else.”

Come again, Wolfy? What was it that Rummy said about “unknowable unknowns” — or was it “lies and the lying liars who tell them,” as a certain current Senate Democrat once put it?

Peg that one for the Department of Redundancy Department.