A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Rumsfeld in the frame

I always had a feeling that Donald Rumsfeld was a dodgy character. To men like Rumsfeld, the political skullduggery comes easily. Ken Livingstone, the defeated Labour candidate for London mayor, said that he preferred political intrigue and committee "work" to the actual managerial activity his post required. Rumsfeld's certainly no Livingstone, but in this they have a certain kinship.

Ricardo Sanchez, the commander of U.S. Forces in Iraq in 2003-2004, has written a new memoir, Wiser in Battle - A Soldier's Story, an account of his life and his service in Iraq. Sanchez basically blows the lid off Rumsfeld's rotten barrel of political poison. Remember, Rumsfeld was the man who gladhanded it with Saddam Hussein. That was before Saddam fell out with the Americans and started selling Iraqi oil in euros.

Sanchez had a run-in with the devious Rumsfeld. Interestingly, in this excerpt from Time Magazine, it is Sanchez's wife who gets the point, commenting on the "offer" Sanchez was given by Rumsfeld. "Ricardo, they are just trying to buy you off and keep you silent," said Maria Elena. "I don't think we should mess with them anymore."

But for me the telling piece is this. From that, my belief was that Rumsfeld's intent appeared to be to minimize and control further exposure within the Pentagon and to specifically keep this information from the American public. The very things I detest most in political hierarchies - spin and deception. Rumsfeld had both in bucketloads.

The Time extract ends with this -

That decision set up the United States for a failed first year in Iraq. There is no question about it. And I was supposed to believe that neither the Secretary of Defense nor anybody above him knew anything about it? Impossible! Rumsfeld knew about it. Everybody on the NSC knew about it, including Condoleezza Rice, George Tenet, and Colin Powell. Vice President Cheney knew about it. And President Bush knew about it.

There's not a doubt in my mind that they all embraced this decision to some degree. And if it had not been for the moral courage of Gen. John Abizaid to stand up to them all and reverse Franks's troop drawdown order, there's no telling how much more damage would have been done.

In the meantime, hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars were unnecessarily spent, and worse yet, too many of our most precious military resource, our American soldiers, were unnecessarily wounded, maimed, and killed as a result. In my mind, this action by the Bush administration amounts to gross incompetence and dereliction of duty.

Those that blindly follow the Bush administration and praise "our boys out there" should sit back and think that it is American soldiers being unnecessarily wounded, maimed, and killed as a result of lies and deception. Such action as described by Sanchez that the Bush administration was involved in does amount to gross incompetence and dereliction of duty. It borders on the unforgiveable!


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