by Karen Kwiatkowski: Egypt!
U.S. Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld do the
book rounds is painful. It’s also funny, in a Portlandia kind
of you who haven’t had a chance to watch Portlandia,
it is a satirical comedy about knowns and unknowns of Portland,
Oregon, delivered in a deadpan style by characters with a guffaw-inducing
lack of self-awareness.
days – a man who very likely met the criteria of both criminal
and war criminal long before his second stint at the Pentagon –
brings to mind nothing more than a brutal and blood-thirsty version
of Portlandia. The world in which Rumsfeld operates is one of his
own creating, a fantastical place where he poses, ever so sincerely,
and weaves tales that defy the widely recorded facts. Ironically,
Rumsfeldia also defies the down-home, common-sense wisdom with which
Rumsfeld self-associates at every turn. There is a way that empires
make their wars against weak yet desirable states, and the way always
includes egotistical can-do’ers and yes-men, carefully framed and
made-up "intelligence" and a story about "why the
[easy, quick, short-term and safe] war is necessary for the continuation
of life as we know it" for the bread-eating and circus-attending
with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. Stewart was prepared,
probing and polite. It appeared that Stewart was also speechless
at times, unable to process Rumsfeldia. Rumsfeld kept his famous
tongue in check, relative to his
ungentlemanly behavior with Andrea Mitchell the day before,
who seemed to be really trying, just a short eight years
after the manufactured US invasion of Iraq, to get to the bottom
of the story.
concentrated on Rummy’s role in and knowledge about the lying run-up
to war, a war planned in late 2001, and sold the next year to the
public and to Congress as a short-term and decisive action to prevent
Saddam’s use of WMD, to disarm his government of said WMD and to
revenge Saddam’s involvement with 9/11. There were a
multitude of other falsely advertised reasons. Wild stories
pushed by the administration ranged from yellow cake buys that never
happened, to extremely dangerous and warlike aluminum tubes, to
Saddam’s alleged support of Al Qaeda training camps. It was a war
to avenge the United Nations, or perhaps, a war to punish the UN
for actually succeeding in their mission of accounting for the bio-chem
agents guys like Rumsfeld had sold them in the 80s. My goodness,
there was something for everyone!
In an era when
Ronald Reagan seems to a golden boy of American presidents, it may
be hard to recall that American high-ranking Iraq war criminals
– Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle, and Abram Shulsky, among others,
were the same creeps who were busy playing Iraq against Iran, Iran
against Iraq, and selling bio-chem and conventional weapons to a
younger Saddam. But I digress. In Rumsfeldia, history is just a
concept, or better yet, optional. Something to be shaped at will
to keep you out of trouble in the present, or at least to shift
blame to others.
I have not
and likely will not read Rumsfeld’s memoirs, preferring instead
to let the knowns and unknowns of Rumsfeldia remain just that. From
the interviews I have seen, it appears that Rumsfeld, as noted by
someone who should know, despite being a known micromanager
and control freak, was largely unaware of what may or may not be
going on under Doug Feith’s Policy shop, just a few doors down.
Far be it from Don Rumsfeld to have a clue about what an office
just one level under Feith, called the Office of Special Plans,
a.k.a. the Expanded Iraq Desk, or even the Iran/Iraq desk, as Iran
"expert" and neocon-man Larry Franklin was also emplaced
in the midst of Abe Shulsky’s lair, was doing from dusk till dawn.
Oh, the complications of it all.
We now know
that Rummy knew nothing – absolutely nothing – of this intelligence-machinating
neoconservative nest, nor of its daily communications with Cheney’s
office. He knew not
of the Special Plans’ published talking points on pending war
in Iraq, WMD, and terrorism, and its orderly and periodic distribution
throughout the policy community in the months leading up to the
invasion. That these talking points were also made available to
some selected and trusted neoconservative newspaper reporters
and interested war advocates, hopefuls and beneficiaries – my goodness,
Rumsfeld simply couldn’t imagine!
We might also
get the sense from these interviews and others that even though
Rumsfeld himself knew little, Colin Powell on the other hand, and
the CIA specifically had no doubts at all. Let me rephrase that.
Colin Powell had no doubts at all and believed every word of the
Pentagon/Cheney-pushed war rationale. While Rumsfeld calls his own
knowledge limited, apparently Powell – whose own INR (Bureau of
Intelligence and Research) dissented as much or more than any of
the other 13 known and legal intelligence producing agencies – was
both knowledgeable and confident.
the CIA was also a confident, full-fledged believers. An unprecedented
number of visits by the Vice President to the analysts at Langley
saw to that, but of course, Rumsfeld had no idea Cheney was up to
such madness. Rumsfeld reminded both Mitchell and Stewart that it
has always been his philosophy and practice, in the presence of
unknowns (apparently, between 2001 and 2003 that would be everything
going on in the Pentagon), to always remain searching and skeptical.
"You have to question the intelligence," said Rumsfeld
to Mitchell, circa 2011. There was a great "absence of certainty"
said Rumsfeld to Stewart. I must say, Rumsfeldia leaves me breathless.
I don’t know
how much Rumsfeld talks about Cheney in his memoirs of the Iraq
war years. I do know that long after Cheney
and Rumsfeld are paid for their memoirs, we the people are left
with a history of lies and a persistent occupation that makes our
own country less safe, less respected, less loved, and way more
broke. My impression in hearing Rumsfeld talk about his new book
is that this guy is still a bald-faced liar. Well, either that or
he lives in another world. Rumsfeldia.
If I want
to know what happened, I can rely on the long history of Washington’s
interference in the Middle East. I can read about the
935 lies directly told by the U.S. government regarding Iraq,
109 lies told by Rumsfeld. I can look at the strategic structures
of domestic power in this country that facilitate wars not for liberty
or survival, but for political and business interests. A hundred
years ago, Smedley Butler witnessed and served raw business interests,
before he came to understand that war
is a racket. In modern times, we pay blood and treasure for
the more refined and much larger banking/defense/industrial/congressional
interests observed and served by John Perkins. We don’t fight
for constitutional reasons, for reasons of survival or even to bring
freedom to the great global unwashed. None of that determines which
states Washington chooses to topple and invade, which foreign leaders
we prop up, and which ones we assassinate. This, I suspect, Rumsfeld
actually knows very well.
Rumsfeld hawks his book, the Bush III administration under Obama
new charges against Iraq war whistleblower Bradley Manning.
The news is abuzz that Manning, for aiding the "enemy"
by leaking information to the media, may in fact receive the death
penalty someday, if he ever gets a trial, and he’s not psychologically
or physically destroyed by his incarceration. Yet, if I am not mistaken,
leaking classified intelligence, including raw unsubstantiated information
to the media, and having that material republished by the New
York Times and the Washington Post in order to make a
difference in public opinion was precisely what Rumsfeld’s Office
of Special Plans, and Rumsfeld’s close friend Dick Cheney, were
doing, for months and years in advance of the invasion of Iraq.
it’s OK to lie to make wars you, your children and grandchildren
will never fight, but it’s not OK to tell the truth to stop a war
based on lies that you are actually fighting. Maybe this Rumsfeld
guy is on to something, after all. Too bad it isn’t the stairs to
columnist Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. [send
her mail], a
retired USAF lieutenant colonel, blogs occasionally at Liberty
and Power and The
Beacon. To receive automatic announcements of new articles,
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2011 Karen Kwiatkowski
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