Saturday 24th of February 2024

stuffing the turkeys...


Donald Rumsfeld, much loathed and despised as a perpetrator of war and torture, has a message for the world: Don't blame me. That turns out to be the theme of his upcoming memoir, Known and Unknown, extracts of which appeared yesterday in the American press ahead of the book's publication next Tuesday.

Even the title is as misleading as the casus belli for the invasion of Iraq that the former US Secretary of Defence orchestrated for President 'Dubya' Bush. There is very little that is unknown in its 815 pages, but an awful lot of spin on what is known, and which did so much to despoil America's standing in the world.

A sprinkling of previously unknown tidbits, however, are profoundly revealing, although not in the way intended. In a book which is all about policy, they offer an insight into the man.

Rumsfeld writes that in the period just before 9/11, when the White House and security services fluffed it, he was distracted because his son, a drug addict, had relapsed and disappeared.

Later when he makes his notoriously insensitive claim that Iraqis had looted treasures from the national museum in Baghdad simply because "stuff happens", he reveals that he was under stress because his wife, Joyce, was in hospital with a ruptured appendix.

In other words, wife and son are to blame.

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Gus: all we need now is the "Memoirs" from Paul Wolfowitz and Cheney for the major set of lies and porkies about Iraq to be complete — adding to Blair, Bush and Howard's already published pickled crap. see the trilogy...

the cake of hypocrisy...

from Paul Wolfowitz...


It would be a cruel irony if, in an effort to avoid imposing democracy, the United States were to tip the scale toward dictators who impose their will on people struggling for freedom. And if we appear so desperate for negotiations that we will abandon those who support our principles, we weaken our own negotiating hand.

That does not mean that we need to pick sides in an Iranian election or claim to know its result. Obama could send a powerful message simply by placing his enormous personal prestige behind the peaceful conduct of the demonstrators and their demand for reform -- exactly the kind of peaceful, democratic change that he praised in his speech in Cairo.

Like the rest of the world, President Obama must have been surprised by the magnitude of the protests in Iran. Iranians are protesting not just election fraud but also the growing abuses of the Iranian people by a dictatorial regime. Now is not the time for the president to dig in to a neutral posture. It is time to change course.


Paul Wolfowitz, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, was deputy secretary of defense from 2001 to 2005.

a misstatement is a lie is a lie...

The former US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, admits in his memoirs that he made a mistake in claiming that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction sites round Baghdad and Tikrit, one of the main justifications for launching the Iraq invasion.

Rumsfeld says now: "I made a misstatement." What he meant to say is there were 'suspect sites'.

The incident is one of many in the 815-page autobiography, Known and Unknown, in which he seeks to revise the history of the Bush administration on issues ranging from Iraq to the Guantánamo detention centre.

Rumsfeld is one of the most controversial figures of the Bush era and his autobiography has long been awaited. The Guardian obtained an advance copy.

Gus: Ducky Rummy LIED like the others...

spruiking his new memoirs...

Donald Rumsfeld was spruiking his new memoirs on radio last week, when he was asked for his take on the revolutions in the Middle East. His response did nothing to dispel deep cynicism about United States foreign policy goals in the region.

You might have expected him to at least mention democracy. Maybe say something about the empowerment of Arab citizens? Or about the end of brutal regimes that tortured their own people? Perhaps make some reference to the role that poverty and inequity have played in bringing about the incredible transformations?

But instead the Bush administration defence secretary zeroed in on the only thing that really mattered in his eyes. That is, what the changes in the Middle East mean for US interests.

Rumsfeld: "I think what's happening is that we had good relations with many of the governments in there, in that region, and it was contributing to a stable situation with respect to the generally hostile attitude towards Israel". He singled out Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the ayatollahs in Iran. "So you could get the Muslim Brotherhood who are radical extremists over Egypt which would be terribly dangerous."

You might think Rumsfeld's views were to be expected. They reflect a pragmatic, realpolitik appraisal of the impact the dramatic changes in the Middle East will likely have on US foreign policy goals, as regimes previously accommodating of America lose their grip on power.

But they also jar.

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the nuts have it...

Kennerly emailed:

"Indeed, it is my pic, taken at a state dinner featuring Geisha, in Kyoto, November 21, 1974… Rumsfeld, then the White House Chief of Staff, participated in this Japanese parlor game that involved passing a piece of straw held between the upper lip and nose to the person next to him (a Geisha dressed in colorful attire, in this case). Rumsfeld, defying tradition as is his way, used a chopstick instead of the obligatory straw. The nose-down winner, however, was Sec[retary of State Henry] Kissinger, who invoked the ‘closer-to-the-upper-lip-with-his-schnoz’ rule, thereby defeating Rumsfeld and President Ford, who was also in the competition.

The host of the dinner, Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka, was later caught up in the Lockheed scandal, but that’s another story, and another evening altogether."

Tyrrell’s licensed Kennerly’s picture through the agency Getty Images; the image is also held in the Ford Library. The photographer finds its new deployment startling but curiously apt. “It’s a clever and funny campaign,” Kennerly writes. “The nuts are wasabi-coated. Rumsfeld, as we know, is a person whose actions have often caused people to sweat, so this is fitting.

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when torture improved al-Qahtani heart rate...


The CIA received similar advice in 2002 and 2005 from the Justice Department, whose torture memos recommended that physicians and psychologists be present for the interrogation of "high value al Qaeda detainees." These doctors, the lawyers argued, would see to it that interrogators didn't torture detainees by intentionally inflicting "serious or permanent harm."

But it was in June 2005 that the Pentagon delivered its biggest ethical bombshell, a memo that allowed doctors to participate in torture and share medical records with interrogators so long as the detainee in question wasn't officially their patient. The directive's author, physician and top Pentagon health official William Winkenwerder Jr., received a prestigious award from the AMA that year for outstanding contributions "to the betterment of the public health."

Field medics like Duffy, who were still being trained to do no harm according to the military's old ethical standards, faced a rude awakening on the ground. "You have all these codes you follow as a health care worker, but then it's, 'Now we're in Iraq, forget those,'" Duffy told me.

Plenty of doctors in uniform felt similarly but, like Duffy, did as they were told. A 2007 Red Cross report indicates that CIA medical personnel presided over hundreds of waterboardings, including those of Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. One Al Qaeda associate, an amputee named Walid bin Attash, told the Red Cross that health workers periodically measured the swelling in his remaining leg as he was shackled in a stress position at a CIA black site. Gitmo military doctors twice sent alleged 9/11 planner Mohammed al-Qahtani to the hospital after his heart rate fell to dangerously low levels, only to send him back to the torture chamber when he improved.

Aware of the breaches, Xenakis says, a few military physicians called for ethical reviews. But the Pentagon overruled them, and the protests ceased. 

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Hitler would have been proud... See toon at top.

And we cannot forget nor forgive the trilogy...

the liar is invited to bullshit some more...

In an interview with SPIEGEL, former United States Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz has called for the declassification of intelligence service reports on Russian meddling in the U.S. election. "The American people need to know the truth about Russian interference in last year's elections completely and quickly," Wolfowitz told SPIEGEL in this week's cover story. "The reports that have been the basis for various anonymous leaks should be made public as fast as possible," he said. "The relevant committees of Congress, along with the FBI, have the ability to uncover the truth and to make it public and they are the right institutions to do so."

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Wolfowitz is a born liar. He is responsible for around 50 per cent of the war on Saddam Hussein in 2003. He lied and the president lied and Tony Blair lied and John Howard lied. There were many other liar in this scheme to invade another country. Wolfowitz should be behind bars — not being interviewed by Der Speigel, a newspaper the reputation of which is going south at the rate of knots. Der Speigel stinks of Empire's smelly socks and boots.


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"we don't do" torture, CIA style...


Jessen, one of the two contract psychologists who designed the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques,” spent ten days in the secret prison near Kabul, Afghanistan in November 2002. Five days after he left, Rahman, naked from the waist down and shackled to the cold concrete floor, was discovered dead in his cell from hypothermia.

In August, Gul Rahman’s family and Mohamed Ben Soud and Suleiman Abdullah Salim, two surviving prisoners of the Afghan black site, reached an out of court settlement in their lawsuit against Jessen and James Mitchell seeking restitution for torture.

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death of a prick...

Donald Rumsfeld, Defense Secretary Under 2 Presidents, Is Dead at 88

Mr. Rumsfeld, who served under Gerald Ford and George W. Bush, was in charge of the invasion of Iraq and later said that the removal of Saddam Hussein had “created a more stable and secure world.”


Donald H. Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense for Presidents Gerald R. Ford and George W. Bush, who presided over America’s Cold War strategies in the 1970s and, in the new world of terrorism decades later, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, died on Tuesday at his home in Taos, N.M. He was 88.

The cause was multiple myeloma, said Keith Urbahn, a spokesman for the family.

Encores are hardly rare in Washington, but Mr. Rumsfeld had the distinction of being the only defense chief to serve two nonconsecutive terms: 1975 to 1977 under Mr. Ford, and 2001 to 2006 under Mr. Bush. He also was the youngest, at 43, and the oldest, at 74, to hold the post — first in an era of Soviet-American nuclear perils, then in an age of subtler menace by terrorists and rogue states.

A staunch ally of former Vice President Dick Cheney, who had been his protégé and friend for years, Mr. Rumsfeld was a combative infighter who seemed to relish conflicts as he challenged cabinet rivals, members of Congress and military orthodoxies. And he was widely regarded in his second tour as the most powerful defense secretary since Robert S. McNamara during the Vietnam War.

Like his counterpart of long ago, Mr. Rumsfeld in Iraq waged a costly and divisive war that ultimately destroyed his political life and outlived his tenure by many years. But unlike Mr. McNamara, who offered mea culpas in a 2003 documentary, “The Fog of War,” Mr. Rumsfeld acknowledged no serious failings and warned in a farewell valedictory at the Pentagon that quitting Iraq would be a terrible mistake.
“A conclusion by our enemies that the United States lacks the will or the resolve to carry out our missions that demand sacrifice and demand patience is every bit as dangerous as an imbalance of conventional military power,” he said. “It may well be comforting to some to consider graceful exits from the agonies and, indeed, the ugliness of combat. But the enemy thinks differently.”

In his 2011 memoir, “Known and Unknown,” Mr. Rumsfeld, more than four years out of office, still expressed no regrets over the decision to invade Iraq, which had cost the United States $700 billion and 4,400 American lives, insisting that the removal of President Saddam Hussein had justified the effort. “Ridding the region of Saddam’s brutal regime has created a more stable and secure world,” he wrote.

He sidestepped the issue of whether the Iraq war had diverted resources from Afghanistan, leading to a Taliban resurgence there. “It was precisely during the toughest period in the Iraq war that Afghanistan, with coalition help, took some of its most promising steps toward a free and better future,” he declared simply.

A full obituary will appear soon.


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Full Obit written by Gus Leonisky: "Rumsfeld was a prick..."



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de-polishing the turd...




It is customary, at times like these, to gloss over the failures and foibles of recently deceased officials: to paint a portrait in broad brush strokes about their achievements and qualities and public service.


In the case of the newly departed Donald Rumsfeld, the defense secretary who led the catastrophic war in Iraq, this would be a monumental dereliction of duty. And the old war criminal was a stickler for duty.

So let’s cast aside the nuanced but respectful formulations of the Washington Post (“one of history’s most consequential as well as controversial Pentagon leaders”) and the New York Times (“a combative infighter who seemed to relish conflicts”).

Somehow those quibbles didn’t make it into the overwrought words of Rumsfeld’s former boss and enabler, President George W Bush, who praised his “steady service as a wartime secretary of defense – a duty he carried out with strength, skill and honor”.


“We mourn an exemplary public servant and a very good man,” he added.

Donald Rumsfeld was not a very good man. He was the polar opposite, even on his own terms.

One of his famously pithy Rumsfeld rules, collected over a career of power in government and business, included this advice for people in the White House: “Remember the public trust. Strive to preserve and enhance the integrity of the office of the Presidency. Pledge to leave it stronger than when you came.”

By Rumsfeld’s own standards, he failed. He destroyed the public trust, the integrity of the presidency, and left America’s reputation far weaker than when he came.

How did he do all that in the fevered five years between the 9/11 attacks of 2001 and his resignation in 2006?

We could start with his disastrous decision to turn away from the hunt from Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan to pursue Saddam Hussein in Iraq: one of the most baffling, harebrained and ultimately bloody choices in the history of American national security.

We now know that Rumsfeld was contemplating this bizarre plan within days, if not hours, of the attacks. He pursued an illegal aggressive war with no link to al-Qaida but with all the dogged skills he had learned from a career inside Washington, concocting a case for war that destroyed international trust and the integrity of anyone who touched it.

He wasn’t the only one, for sure, and the buck stops with President Bush himself. But he was central to the cabal, alongside his old friend Dick Cheney, who dragged the United States and its allies – especially the UK – into an entirely avoidable quagmire that left tens and probably hundreds of thousands dead and maimed.

We are still living with the catastrophic consequences of Rumsfeld and his gang. There’s a direct line from the Iraq invasion to Syria’s civil war, along with the immense suffering of millions of civilians, and the political strain and instability caused by so many refugees to this day.

It’s not as if this chain of events was unimaginable at the time.

Rumsfeld himself was just about smart enough to flick at the lid of the Pandora’s box he was about to detonate. In one of his classically cryptic memos to his inner circle of warmongers in late 2001, Rumsfeld casually raised an eyebrow over the chaos he was unleashing on the world.

“We ought to think through what are the bad things that could happen, and what are the good things that can happen that we need to be ready for in both respects. Please give me a list of each,” he wrote. “Thanks.”

Rumsfeld might have been talking about Afghanistan, where Kabul was about to fall and Bin Laden was ready to run for the mountains at Tora Bora. Or he might have been talking about Iraq, where Rumsfeld was already planning his war. Either way, he botched them both by failing to give a damn about the messy business of rebuilding nations after war.


Nation-building was scorned by Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney and the gang because it was all so soft and cuddly and liberal. You don’t have to be a professor at the National War College to realize that macho ignorance might just be why their record in Afghanistan and Iraq was so utterly disastrous after the initial, apparently successful, military action. We are now exiting Afghanistan after two decades of failure rooted in Rumsfeld’s original plans.

It was this mixture of extreme arrogance and incompetence, along with a cavalier disregard for human suffering and integrity, that was the hallmark of Rumsfeld’s short and bloody reign. His policy chief, Doug Feith, bragged about how going to Baghdad was just a milestone on the road to Tehran.

But when Iraq fell apart, their hawkish allies in the White House turned on Rumsfeld’s team for failing to have any kind of credible plan to run a country ravaged by decades of sanctions, airstrikes and corrupt government.

Rumsfeld did have a credible plan for torture, however. It’s not the stuff of polite conversation or political debate to concede that the charismatic and quippy Washington man was, in fact, entirely comfortable with torture. But he was very comfortable with it, and couldn’t understand why anyone could feel any different.


When his team wrote up detailed torture plans for prisoners at Guantánamo Bay – including being forced to stand for hours on end – Rumsfeld made it clear they weren’t being tough enough. “I stand for eight to 10 hours a day,” he scribbled on one memo authorizing torture in 2002. “Why is standing limited to four hours?”

When he wasn’t mimicking Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, Rumsfeld was blaming everyone else for a few war crimes here and there. It was Rumsfeld who presided over the grotesque abuse of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. At the time, he offered to resign and expressed some regret, but mostly argued that he was very busy, the war was quite a big undertaking, and that bad stuff happens in prisons.

Far from growing more reflective or responsible after leaving office, Rumsfeld regretted nothing, apologized for nothing and learned nothing. In his 2011 book, he claimed that the Abu Ghraib photos were the result of “a small group of prison guards who ran amok”, and that the whole torture thing was just some political hot air.

Rumsfeld, like many hawks in those years after 9/11, liked to quote Winston Churchill. One of his famous Rumsfeld rules cites Churchill as saying: “Victory is never final. Defeat is never final. It is courage that counts.”

Rumsfeld’s victories were illusions. His defeats will outlive him. And his much-vaunted courage was a smokescreen for lies, crimes and deaths. If he was an exemplary public servant, we need to reimagine what public service actually means.


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