In what seems to be an era of poor attempts at revisionist history, Donald Rumsfeld has just taken the cake, eaten half of it, and then denied it with frosting smeared across his lips while his pantaloons are engulfed in flames. In an interview with the Times of London over the weekend, the former Secretary of Defense had the gall to say that he disagreed with George W. Bush’s idea that a Western-style democracy could flourish in Iraq. In the interview, Rumsfeld says, “The idea that we could fashion a democracy in Iraq seemed to me unrealistic. I was concerned about it when I first heard those words.” Rumsfeld added, “I’m not one who thinks that our particular template of democracy is appropriate for other countries at every moment of their histories.” Are you kidding? Is this an Onion of London interview? Does he have any clue how much grief people like me took, fresh out of college with an International Relations degree, for pointing out the obvious? Regardless of one’s position on the justification for invading Iraq, which was also beyond misleading, nobody this side of Dick Cheney, or Jeb on certain days believes that this was the right way to go about removing a despot. The only thing is some people stood by their principles in the face of being called ‘terrist lovers’ or ‘anti-‘Murcan.’ If you really did believe then what you are spinning now, you, like Colin Powell, should have made a principled stand and you should have resigned in protest. And yes, I feel the same way, although to a lesser degree given the context, for those in Congress who feared following their consciences, Democrats and Republicans alike. But, nobody outside of the oval office is more responsible for the misguided Iraq strategy. Own it Donald!
Sorry for the rant, but this week’s issues seem to be getting personal even though I always try to be, if not non-partisan, at least coming from a centrist perspective. It is so easy to get caught up in the tit-for-tat of Left-Right politics and I believe that much more useful discussions can be had by looking at the details and motivations behind each individual story as opposed to looking at an issue top-down from an ideological foundation. But seriously Rummy, do you really expect anybody besides delusional sycophants to think you actually had the foresight in 2003 to tell President Bush what you so ‘wisely’ told the Times, “The movement for a caliphate, the movement against nation-states is central and fundamental. And no one’s talking about it. Have you ever heard anyone at the UN begin to think about the concept?” No, actually you told the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in May of 2003 in a speech, “This much is clear: we have a stake in their success. For if Iraq — with its size, capabilities, resources and its history — is able to move to the path of representative democracy, however bumpy the road, then the impact in the region and the world could be dramatic. Iraq could conceivably become a model.” By the way, the Council on Foreign Relations publishes Foreign Affairs, which at least for my college career, was the most highly respected academic journal regarding international relations. I am sure the CFR totally believed you…really.
Rumsfeld continued in his interview, telling the Times, “You begin to look at this thing not like a war, but more like the Cold War… you’re not going to win this with bullets, you’re in a competition of ideas.” So, you really think sharting this out of your mouth makes up for the conservatively estimated 216,000 people who misunderstood your true feelings on bullets after riding one into the afterlife? At least your policy on the warm treatment of prisoners didn’t spark an even stronger retaliatory force like ISIS…oh wait. Now, it could just be a case of an old man entering the noticeable stages of dementia, so maybe I should be a little nicer to him, as there is over a decade of documented evidence of him spinning a much different web. He may just be losing his faculties and I’m losing mine over nothing, as in a June 9th interview with CNN, Rummy dropped two more bombs-pun intended. First he comes to the conclusion that removing Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was a mistake, destabilizing the region. Again, I say, “yeah…sure.” It’s not like the Bush Administration didn’t threaten Gadhafi within an inch of his life, and wouldn’t have removed him in a second if he defied the administration’s desires. The most compelling evidence that the man has completely lost it is his ultimate backtrack in the CNN interview, saying that “the implication that that statement was anti-Bush is ridiculous.” Maybe his mind is just wandering its own way, carrying its owner to a well-deserved grave. More likely than not, however, he is just still one of the world’s biggest jerks ever, desperately trying to shamelessly deceive the world one last time.
Bloomberg Politics – David Knowles
CNN – Jake Tapper and Tom LoBianco