Rumsfeld: Determined to be Right.

The New York Times reports Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told several thousand veterans at the American Legion’s national convention in Salt Lake City that critics of the administration are afflicted with “moral or intellectual confusion” about the real threats to our national security. Falling back on the usual distortions of the criticisms and inaccurate historical comparisons, Rumsfeld also presented the absurd idea that the press spent disproportionately more time on Abu Ghraib than a Medal of Honor given to Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith.

Citing the attacks on WTC, Madrid, Bali and London, Rumsfeld mistakenly asks:

”Can we truly afford to believe that somehow, some way, vicious extremists can be appeased?” he asked.

”Can we truly afford to return to the destructive view that America — not the enemy — is the real source of the world’s troubles?”

Personally, I think the Military Intelligence is much better than this. Rumsfeld knows quite well these are not the beliefs or arguments of the critics. It’s just that he can’t argue the real criticisms, so he has to distort them in order to defend the administration.

First the critics have not advocated appeasing the terrorists. The idea is to work more positively and constructively with the countries who harbor and sometimes fund them. It is fairly well understood that you can’t negotiate with terrorists. There is no negotiating table, literally. Then the Bush Lite defenders claim the moral ground that we should never negotiate with any leader who has stated an intent to destroy America or see it destroyed. I was reminded recently of Kruschev’s infamous line at the UN: “We will bury you.” – delivered with the punctuation of his shoe striking the table. We negotiated with the USSR. They buried themselves – because the US waged a philosophical war of information about the real differences between the countries in quality of life.

The clearly stated proposal of the alternative plan to more violence is: work with the governments and the CITIZENS of other countries to build peace. Frankly, Secretary Rumsfeld, it should be obvious that the overwhelming majority of the planet’s population want to live in peace. If they are given a reasonable hope for living in peace and prosperity, they will work and fight for peace.

This is the crux of the misquoted idea that critics are “America Haters”, or think that America is the real source of the world’s problems. Are there any questions or doubts about the clear association of poverty with crime, violence, drugs and despair? I have quoted many times the Joplin refrain: “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose”. What are life and liberty without the freedom to learn, to develop a means of sustaining yourself and having a reasonable quality of life?

America has been cast as imperialist, on an empire campaign and becoming more fascist. Since that accusation has been thrown at the Bush administration for some years, we are now hearing counter accusations such as Islamofascists and that the world, according to Rummy, faces ”a new type of fascism”. What he thinks is new about it was not reported. I think most of us who see America’s role in contributing to the problem is as a usurper. According to Roget’s 6th edition, synonyms include: take command, appropriate, arrogate, overstep. Whether it is America’s history of not even knowing, let alone acknowledging, the unique histories and traditions of other countries; or the multinational American Corporations who have created circumstances that limit the ability of other people to run their own countries. The perception of America by many in other countries, is that we only share our wealth after taking away the capacity of others to create wealth for themselves.

There are Americans who agree with that perception. Who think that contributing in any way to the failure of others to work their way out of poverty, is as bad as more obvious forms of crime. Regardless of the truth, the degree of truth and any offsetting factors, it’s a problem that many other countries have with America. In conflict resolution, the first thing that has to happen is for both sides to “own the problem”. All this basically establishes is that both acknowledge a problem and understand the perspective of the other side. From there, differences and changes in the relationship can be worked out.

The utter refusal of this administration to acknowledge the right of others to have a different perception of reality, whether American or foreign, is the root cause of it’s many failures. The Bush administration does not seem to understand that the devastation of the Gulf states by a natural disaster and the devastation of a country by an illegal invasion are not two sides of a coin. The impact on the individuals is essentially similar. Neither has any idea how long it will take for life to take on some semblance of normal again. There is a difference of perception in a devastation that is entirely related to human fault and the one that has been severely enlarged by it. War is hell – it is not inevitable. At least Mother Nature did the damage and left. American soldiers are still in Iraq, lightning rods for violence, defending themselves from enemies they can’t identify and creating victims out of innocent civilians.

The American Legion members will also hear from Condolezza Rice today, as well as Bush later in the week. Rummy and Cheney were both at the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention in Reno on Monday. I wonder if John Murtha, John Kerry, Russ Feingold or any other Progressives who have come up with other ways to handle terrorism were invited to speak. Another would be Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., a former Army officer and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who said in an interview Tuesday that ”no one has misread history more than” Rumsfeld.

Nor has anyone misread reality more than Rumsfeld.

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12 Responses to Rumsfeld: Determined to be Right.

  1. Ginny

    Righteous bitch-slapping of Rummy here! LOL! πŸ™‚

  2. Rummy has proven himself to be to the military, what Bush is to humanity. The complete failure of both those idiots, can only be outdone by the refusal to accept the truth.

  3. Ginny in CO says:

    Pamela!

    I do try so HARD not to resort to bitch-slapping – no matter how tempting. But, I’m glad you like it πŸ˜‰

  4. wfiguy says:

    The US didn’t negotiate with the USSR in order to get peace. We held a very large gun to thier head to prevent war (although fought them by proxie all over the globe), and then proceeded to force thier economy into ruin by increasing our Defense spending to a level in which they couldn’t keep up. Make no mistake, the Soviets didn’t relinquish thier hold on the Russian people because the people wanted a better life. It was simply because the Soviet’s could no longer maintain the power necessary to control them. Even in this, we had to suffer with the existance of the Soviet Union for more than 50 years. In addition, the Soviets were a rational people, they didn’t want to die any more than we did. The same can not be said of the terrorists.

    You are also comparing apples to oranges. The Soviet Union was the government, not a group that was provided safe haven by the current ruler of whatever country they were in. Hezbollah is a perfect example. The government is Lebanese, not Hezbollah. However, even if the Lebanese agree to a peace treaty the doesn’t mean that Hezbollah will quit.

    Unfortunately, we as a nation have allowed the issues in the middle east to fester far longer than the needed to. We are at a point in our society that we lack the political will as a nation to do what needs to be done. The Soviets knew that we were willing to destroy them completely to preserve ourselves, we have yet to send this message to the terrorists. Without that, we will always be seen as weak by these people, and as such subject to constant attack.

  5. Ginny in CO says:

    The US certainly did negotiate with the USSR to PREVENT war (or, keep the peace) – because they had the same gun to our heads and were even more willing to use it. Increasing our defense spending (especially the Star Wars debacle) probably didn’t do as much to them as arming the mujhadeen in Afghanistan – which then became their Vietnam. The Russian citizens who were tired of losing their children in that war became unsupportive and more difficult to control, on top of the drain on the Russian economy.

    There were many fronts on the Cold War and that has been part of the argument. We worked with nations who were being influenced by the Russians to help them avoid being taken over. We should have worked with Afghanistan after the USSR left, and spent more working with other countries than Israel. Congress would not fund those efforts – since we had spent so much building up the military and creating huge deficits. The other avenues were a lot cheaper than most of the military projects. We also spent too much on capital expenses without allowing for the maintenance expenses that would be necessary every year after.

    You also overlooked this differentiation:

    First the critics have not advocated appeasing the terrorists. The idea is to work more positively and constructively with the countries who harbor and sometimes fund them. It is fairly well understood that you can’t negotiate with terrorists. There is no negotiating table, literally. Then the Bush Lite defenders claim the moral ground that we should never negotiate with any leader who has stated an intent to destroy America or see it destroyed.

    The idea that we should not negotiate with Iran because the leader wants America destroyed, as well as Syria or any other country that has been aiding terrorists is what I was getting at. The point is to understand no matter what the leaders do or say, the vast majority of the world, including the Russian people, want to live in peace. By negotiating with their leaders, we can win more hearts and minds than using demands, economic sanctions which hurt the civilians, and bully talk.

    Hezbollah, like the PLO and the IRA before, has been included in the talks. Certainly we learned from the PLO and IRA that they will start fighting again if they decide it is their best recourse.

    The argument that the terrorists think we are weak is bunk. They are fully aware of our military power and it is our willingness to use it and flaunt it that upsets them. Most of Bin Laden’s fury is that Saudi Arabia, the home of two of the most important Muslim mosques, has maintained a US presence since the Gulf War. We have military bases there we never left – even though that was the original plan. This is against the teaching of the Koran – or at least some interpretation of it. This is where ignoring the beliefs and history of a country gets us into trouble. It shows no respect for their culture and their rights to a different perspective of the values in their lives.

    What the terrorists accurately perceive is what the Star Wars movies were about- the most powerful entity has weak points somewhere. There is no way it can be completely invulnerable. Their role is Luke Skywalker and the freedom fighters against the Empire. Find the weak point and get to them through it. The weakness of our borders, our intel, our protection of chemical plants, etc are where we are STILL vulnerable. It is that stupidity they exploit – when they want to.

    I think the critics are far more able to see the apples and oranges differences in this conflict. 4GW is a totally different strategy, requiring tactics and technology be used differently than in conventional warfare. The Iraq war is an excellent example: a civil war, a sectarian war and an insurgent war all going on at the same time.

    I am not sure what “we had to suffer with the existence of the Soviet Union for more than 50 years”. There was some anxiety wondering what they might do and the economic strain of keeping the military at high preparedness. The terrorists and the instability of the Middle East are worse to me than Russia was during my childhood, adolescence and early adulthood.

    The ultimate point is understanding the economic root of violence and the despair that feeds suicidal missions. If America would truly support the efforts and abilities of underpriviledged nations to develop their economies – instead of allowing our corporations to overwhelm them- we would be in a much better situation with the 94% of the planet’s population that are not US citizens.

    No matter how powerful we are, we are a very small minority in the real world. If we become too willing to use that power, they have ways of bringing us down – and our weakest point is now our economy.

  6. battlebob says:

    There are a lot of reasons for the collapse of the Soviet Union.
    Sure, Rambo’s attempt to spend them into dust helped bring them down. By ramping up the fear, we willingly spent trillions to pee higher up a fence post. Was it really necessary? I think so.

    Yes, their debacle in Afgan caused a lot of families to want a change.

    Don’t ignore the power of the internet. Their citisens were wired and corresponded with folks outside the iron curtain. They saw the world outside their tiny domain…and wanted to join it.

    Being of Russian decent and having relatives over there…we knew their desires to have various freedoms. There were many undergound bible groups and a flourishing black-market.
    There were a lot of forces at work changing the country.

  7. KJ says:

    Bravo, Ginny!

    Who defines what “America” means? Rumsfeld’s America is Corporate America. Corporate America’s aims are narrowly designed for the 1-2% of Americans who can afford to buy land in Patagonia.

    The rest of us are on our own.

    And by co-oping the brand “America,” BushInc has successfully driven a hard wedge between its own citizens, not to mention the rest of the world. (That is, the rest of the world that isn’t part of the 1-2% club, you know, like in Saudia Arabia.)

    We have failed time and again to get our eyes off our own airconditioners and Hummers and see how the rest of the 98%’ers live. If we Americans could do that, really do that, we might have more influence on Congress than we do.

    So yes, I agree, as a whole, Americans are weak. But not weak against terrorists, or weak against the conditions around us in the world… we’re weak because we believe we’re weak. Because we’ve forgotten the foundation upon which this country was built.

    We need an update on our mission statement. (No joke)

  8. KJ says:

    And we don’t have an institution devoted to the myth that is America… the possibilities we have as a free society… while we still ARE a free society. So it’s up to the individual to keep the flame of America alive and d@mn, that’s hard to do in BushLand. As Ginny said above, our economy is weak and we’re all concerned about the food on own tables.

    And BushInc carefully, very carefully, has managed not to call for any kind of sacrifice from Americans. It’s too important to the 1-2%’ers that Americans feel entitled… to everything, all the time, right now. That’s the new American brand. And it feeds right into our greed, and our worry, and our fear.

  9. Ginny in CO says:

    battlebob,

    Interesting they had enough exposure to the internet back then – it has definitely changed the world in ways we won’t figure out for a long time.

    I was aware of the influence from movies, tv and music, not to mention some of the clothing that would make it in.

    So, is it still necessary to try to ‘pee higher up the fence post”? πŸ˜†

  10. KJ

    The economy sucks!

  11. Ginny in CO says:

    Pamela,

    The economy is melting down. As usual, the post was more than long enough, so I didn’t go into just how much American Corporations contribute to the lack of peace in the world. Our munitions exports are higher than all other countries combined. The Remingtons, Lockheed Martins, GE, etc make a killing in the killing business.

    Whenever I see a wounded Iraq vet, I wonder first if the weapon that got to him was made from Saddam’s 320 ton cache of conventional explosives that BushCo failed to secure during the initial invasion – allowing it to be looted.
    Then I wonder if the weapon was American made and sold to someone who sold it to the terrorists.

    It could easily have been Russian made. Ultimately, the world population is going to have to tell these idiots; Too bad, so sad, your business is now limited, regulated or shut down. We will never have peace as long as they continue to prosper to their ego’s content. And our economies will continue to be unstable as long as they are based on war profiteering.