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Rumsfeld Personifies Our Society

6:32 am in Uncategorized by David Swanson


More from Firedoglake: The Unknown Known: Rumsfeld Documentary on Screens Now

When Donald Rumsfeld used to hold press conferences about the Iraq war, the press corps would giggle at the clever ways in which he refused to actually say anything or answer any questions.

In a new film about Rumsfeld called The Unknown Knowns, the aging criminal is occasionally confronted with evidence that what he’s just said is false. He maintains a frozen grin and acts as if nothing has happened. The film’s director, interviewing Rumsfeld, never presses the truly uncomfortable points.

The closest the film comes to asking Rumsfeld about the wrongness of launching a war on Iraq is with the question “Wouldn’t it have been better not to go there at all?” Not “Wasn’t it illegal?” Not “Do you believe 1.4 million Iraqis were killed or only 0.5 million?” Not “When you sleep at your home at the Mt. Misery plantation where they used to beat and whip slaves like Frederick Douglass how do you rank the mass slaughter you engaged in against the crimes of past eras?” Not “Was it at least inappropriate to smirk and claim that ‘freedom is untidy’ while people were destroying a society?” And to the only question that was asked, Rumsfeld is allowed to get away with replying “I guess time will tell.”

Then Rumsfeld effectively suggests that time has already told. He says that candidate Barack Obama opposed Bush-era tactics and yet has kept them in place, including the PATRIOT Act, lawless imprisonment, etc. He might have added that President Obama has maintained the right to torture and rendition even while largely replacing torture with murder via drone. Most crucially for himself, he might have noted that Obama has violated the Convention Against Torture by barring the prosecution of those responsible for recent violations. But Rumsfeld’s point is clear when he notes that Obama’s conduct “has to validate” everything the previous gang did wrong.

I’ve long included Rumsfeld on a list of the top 50 Bush-era war criminals, with this description:

Donald Rumsfeld lives in Washington, D.C., and at former slave-beating plantation ‘Mount Misery’ on Maryland’s Eastern Shore near St. Michael’s and a home belonging to Dick Cheney, as well as at an estate outside Taos, New Mexico. He took part in White House meetings personally overseeing and approving torture by authorizing the use of specific torture techniques including waterboarding on specific people, and was in fact a leading liar in making the false case for an illegal war of aggression, and pushed for wars of aggression for years as a participant in the Project for the New American Century.

The National Lawyers Guild noted years ago:

It was recently revealed that Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, George Tenet, and John Ashcroft met in the White House and personally oversaw and approved the torture by authorizing specific torture techniques including waterboarding. President Bush admitted he knew and approved of their actions. ‘They are all liable under the War Crimes Act and the Torture Statute,’ Professor [Marjorie] Cohn testified. ‘Under the doctrine of command responsibility, commanders, all the way up the chain of command to the commander-in-chief, are liable for war crimes if they knew or should have known their subordinates would commit them, and they did nothing to stop or prevent it. The Bush officials ordered the torture after seeking legal cover from their lawyers.’

This doesn’t come up in the movie. Rumsfeld does shamelessly defend abusing and torturing prisoners, and maintains that torturing people protects “the American people,” but he passes the buck to the Department of Justice and the CIA and is never asked about the White House meetings described above. When it comes to Abu Ghraib he says he thought “something terrible happened on my watch” as if he’d had nothing to do with it, as if his casual approval of torture and scrawled notes about how he stands up all day and so can prisoners played no part. (He also claims nobody was killed and there was just a bit of nudity and sadism, despite the fact that photos of guards smiling with corpses have been made public — the movie doesn’t mention them.) Asked about abuses migrating from Guantanamo to Iraq, Rumsfeld cites a report to claim they didn’t. The director then shows Rumsfeld that the report he cited says that in fact torture techniques migrated from Guantanamo to Iraq. Rumsfeld says he thinks that’s accurate, as if he’d never said anything else. Rumsfeld also says that in the future he believes public officials won’t write so many memos.

The central lie in Rumsfeld’s mind and our society and The Unknown Knowns is probably that irrational foreigners are out to get us. Rumsfeld recounts being asked at his confirmation hearing to become Secretary of So-Called Defense “What do you go to sleep worried about?” The answer was not disease or climate change or car accidents or environmental pollution or starvation any actually significant danger. The answer was not that the United States continues antagonizing the world and creating enemies. There was no sense of urgency to halt injustices or stop arming dictators or pull back from bases that outrage local populations. Instead, Rumsfeld feared another Pearl Harbor — the same thing his Project for the New American Century had said would be needed in order to justify overthrowing governments in the Middle East.

Rumsfeld describes Pearl Harbor in the movie, lying that no one had imagined the possibility of a Japanese attack there. The facts refute that endlessly repeated lie. Then Rumsfeld tells the same lie about 9-11, calling it “a failure of imagination.” What we’re going through is a failure of memory. These words “FBI information … indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York” appeared in an August 6, 2001, briefing of President George W. Bush titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”

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Rumsfeld Overheard: “War Lies Are Cool Now”

8:56 pm in Uncategorized by David Swanson

Donald Rumsfeld began his new book tour with some frank comments, including these:

“War lies? Does anybody really give a rat’s ass now? You know what? You know what? They do. They do because war lies are actually cool now. We began the invasion of Iraq in October 2001, but the invasion of Iraq paid off.”

Rumsfeld revealed the strategy behind the revelations made in his book about the illegal secret operations he helped set in motion shortly after the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001:

“Former President Bush has not admitted to torture or fraud or aggression or the rest of it, and do you know why? You do know why, but it is an unknown known, if you know what I mean. Yes, it is funny. He hasn’t admitted to any such things because he has chosen to claim them proudly instead.

“Did I say I knew where the WMDs were? Did I say I had bullet proof evidence of ties between Iraq and al Qaeda? Of course, I did. I can’t deny it. I mean, I used to deny it, but what the hell? Spain didn’t blow up the Maine. Wise up, people. The Lusitania was full of troops and guns and that was announced before it sailed. If you think FDR didn’t see Pearl Harbor coming I’ve got some yellow cake to sell you! We don’t go to war with the drooling obedient zombies we might want or wish to have at some future time. There was no Gulf of Tonkin incident. Are you stupid? You thought the Iraqis took babies out of incubators in 1991, didn’t you? Admit it. Didn’t you?

“We say what has to be said to accomplish that which in retrospect will be understood as irreparable. I won’t deny it. I cannot deny it. What I can do is reveal that when I claimed to know where the WMDs were I had within the previous 20 minutes consumed over half a bottle of gin. I’m not defending it. I’m laughing in your sad pathetic faces, and yet I cannot even bring myself to grow annoyed at your inability to grasp that fundamental fact.

“Once we’d expended hundreds of billions of dollars killing hundreds of thousands of people and completely devastated the nation of Iraq, with the only tangible result being a dramatic rise in anti-American sentiment and violence around the world, I proposed a different strategy, and do you know what that jack-ass post-turtle two-bit moron from Crawford did? He told you all that he would keep me on after the election. After the election he gave me the old snake-skin boot in the posterior and told you that he’d had to lie to you so that you wouldn’t know the truth. And you said ‘Oh OK, well that’s all right then. Thanks for explaining it to us. Thank you, sir, may we have another? Thank you, sir, may we have another?’ You dumbasses.

“You want to learn something about the way the world works? Buy my book. Do you know why Ronald Reagan was a great president? Do you want me to tell you? Because he believed his own bull. That’s what it takes. You think we lie to you for the good of the nation. That’s not how it works. We lie to ourselves for the good of our careers, and the marketplace of ideas makes that good for the nation. Or not. That’s a known unknown.

“Let me just leave you with this, you embarrassing facsimiles of sentient animals. Let me provide you, outside of your comprehension, a little demonstration of your inability to be awakened by a five alarm fire in your jock straps. Are you ready? Here it goes. We’re making progress in Afghanistan.

“You’ve been a great audience. Jesus, what a world.”

This has been a complete fabrication which you might as well attribute to Curveball.

David Swanson is the author of “War Is A Lie.” See

Rumsfeld to Gladly Accept “Defending the Constitution” Award

9:53 am in Uncategorized by David Swanson

February 10, 2011, 4:00pm
Marriott Wardman Park Hotel
Washington, DC
That’s where you should be to help present Donald Rumsfeld with a very serious award for his noble defense of the mythical document the Tea Party refers to mysteriously as “The Constitution,” not to be confused with any document available in print.

This PDF schedule of CPAC’s upcoming festivities opens on February 10 with Michele Bachmann (everybody take three steps to your left so she can see you), and goes straight into gay bashing.

By late morning on February 10th, instead of the usual protest of the Citizens United decision that any other gathering of Americans would feature, this one will include the Citizens United group itself performing a dramatization of the dangers of a nuclear Iran. “Explosive!”

Then Andrew Breitbart types will train you in becoming big-time movie makers. “Dress provocatively!”

After lunch you can study up on how to uneducate young people, and take part in a Ronald Reagan extravaganza, including a talk about “God and Reagan” where the challenge will, of course, be identifying which is which.

But wait! There’s more! At 1 pm Congressman Steve “bombs would be better than Wikileaks” King and the National Rifle Association will overlap five other sessions, only four of which are completely insane. One, believe it or not, is about the need to cut military spending — a presentation by something called the “Committee for the Republic” with whom we should perhaps be talking.

A full 15 minutes later, at 1:15 the big immigrant-bashing session gets rolling: “Proper Englisch Spelling Will Liberiate Us!”

At 2 pm Risk Santorum is on stage with a dog (exact nature of the act is a closely guarded secret).

Then there’s government-bashing, more gay-bashing, a little theocracy promotion, and astroturf training. . . oh, and something to do with Saint Peter’s bones.

And this action-packed extravaganza has saved time to re-fight the Vietnam War before Senator Rand Paul shows up at 3:45 at the Whites Only entrance.

As many as nine or more activists are expected to attend the CPAC affair and they will each get 2 minutes to speak at 4 pm.

Then, a split second later, at – in fact – 4 pm, Rummy will roll in from Mount Misery to pick up his much deserved award for defending the Constitution from the forces of literacy and law enforcement. (Sources say he plans to secretly arrive 10 hours early and stand behind a door just to prove that standing for 10 hours is not torture, but I don’t want to spoil the surprise.)

Some of your lesser rightwingers, including Tucker Carlson and some others you may have actually heard of will also do their thing at 4 pm and they’re offering free food, so really let’s skip the Rummy ceremony.

At 4:30 the man to whom the U.S. House just gave the power to cap spending on anything other than wars, Paul Ryan, will talk about how expensive governmet paper is, while Rumsfeld signs books – STANDING! – and Dick Morris sucks on Citizen’s United’s corporate person’s toes (not to be missed!).

Then if you’ve never gotten drunk with Ron and Rand Paul and seen them play their “Who’s a bigger bullshitter” game, well here’s your chance, and it’s an OPEN BAR.

Drink up, because by 7 pm we’ll be celebrating the glorious War on Iraq! But only until 7:30 when the Presidential Banquet (with no president of course) kicks into full carnivorous fury.

I know you think I’m making this up, but I couldn’t create this ugly a website if you paid me

And that was just Day One.

So sober up and slurp some tea, because Friday, February 11th features champagne-chugging congress members, bipartisan pollsters, cutting spending, our leftwing judges, demonstrations of the cleanness of coal, IRS effigy burnings, Mitt Romney, cutting spending, Tom Price, caring for human beings if they are fetuses, immigrant bashing part 2, Marsha Blackburn, John Thune, and cutting spending.

There’s even a second bit on the scandalous notion of cutting spending at the Pentagon with Grover Norquist. So be sure you’ve tossed all your tomatoes at the stage prior to that 11 am session.

Also at 11 am Grover Norquist will simultaneously be in another room hyping the need to confront the global menace of evildoers. I recommend booing him only in that session unless he’s there by holographic trickery, in which case just unplug him.

At noon, for a change of pace, Grover Norquist will turn to the burning need to cut spending.

At 12:30 legitimately sane and decent opponent of empire Bruce Fein will sign his new and excellent book.

But, relax, because at 1 pm we’ll plot the complete elimination of healthcare. Making swift work of that, we’ll take on public schools at 1:15.

And at 1:30 you will NOT WANT TO MISS “The Awakening of the Conservative Woman” co-starring none other than our very own Michele Bachmann in another Citizens United production, followed by Phyllis Schlafly’s remarks tentatively entitled “Oh go back to sleep for fuck’s sake.”

You do have a choice, though, because Bruce Fein will also speak at 1:30, followed — through a strange space-time continuum by a 1 pm book signing called “Obama Zombies.”

This will go on in a similar manner for another day and a half. There will be labor union bashing, campaigns to get guns on college campuses, lessons in English writing from Tea Partiers, a Constitional I’m Not Making This Up Amendment to forbid spending money, Muslim bashing, and a session on prison reform that will probably be much more reassuringly lunatic than it sounds on the schedule, another awakening of the conservative woman (and her two friends!), Rick Perry, environmentalist bashing, cutting spending, Mitch Daniels, Connie Mack, and lots of ALCOHOL.

There is another sane bit on repealing the PATRIOT Act, which will be buried in a sea of spreading stupidity. And you will want to stay for the end so as not to miss Jim Woolsey on “The Sharia Challenge,” tea partiers, spending cuts, and guns, guns, guns. Plus China and North Korea are planning to nuke us! And Zalmay Khalizad will reveal that he still thinks we should keep killing Afghans!

Ann Coulter will be there! Won’t you?