Does Rumsfeld Have A Defense?

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In a nutshell, Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld's defense as to why he tried to hide from the world and the Congress and the public, the horrid practices of interrogation being conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan was that he had no procedure or guideline to follow in reaching down into a criminal investigation of such abuses and bring forth information that would be damning in the eyes of the world, and to our efforts in our military engagements.

The media was asked to delay exposing the proof of such abusive practices and said he now wishes he had not. He said this before a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Iraqi Abuses of detainees, aired this morning on MSNBC and other TV stations. Gen. Meyers stated he wishes now he had informed Congress of the looming scandal when he learned of it in March 2004.

It is important to note, that by their own words, the Dept. of Defense (DoD) and the Pentagon were aware of such abuses early in 2003 after a specialist Darby revealed allegations of abuses on Jan. 14 or 15 of 2003. Also, CBC News reports "The international Red Cross said Friday it had warned U.S. officials of abuse of prisoners in Iraq more than a year ago." Investigations by the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) were launched at the request of Gen. Meyers in August of 2003. Now Rumsfeld and Meyers and the Joint Chiefs of Staff are in the very indelicate position of having headed organizations which were aware of such abuses for a year and more, and did nothing to end the practices, stop the abuses, and reduce our risk of exposure which damages to the core our endeavors in those countries and risk heightened dangers for our troops. All they did in their own words were to launch investigations and reviews.

But let us not forget, Donald Rumsfeld said before the press in January 2002 "I do not feel even the slightest concern about their [detainees] treatment. They are being treated vastly better than they treated anybody else." That statement and the leadership of a Secretary of Defense who managed those below him with that statement at the core of his own belief and value system, is what accounts for the abuses in Iraq. The President said about the war on terrorism that he will do "Whatever It Takes, As Long As It Takes". His number one in charge of military forces said he had no care for what happened to detainees. While the criminal responsibility for what happened in Abu Ghraib prison will fall to the lower ranks of the military supervising and directly involved with the tortures, rapes, and over 25 alleged murders of prisoners, the command responsibility for those acts can be traced in their own words to the President of the United States and his Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld.

Outside D.C. when an employee damages the image of the company they work for, they are fired. In the civilian world, when an employee commits decisions and utters words that open the door to crimes being committed on the job by subordinates, that employee is fired. Rumsfeld is President Bush's employee and he is our employee. But the sweetheart deal made between the President and Rumsfeld will likely not result in employees with command responsibility for what has happened, stepping down or being fired. That sweetheart deal is obvious. The President will not fire Rumsfeld in exchange for Rumsfeld's testimony as given today that while the abuses were mentioned to the President, the force and import of their meaning were not conveyed to the President. It is an age old deal in the Whitehouse, and while Nixon did not invent it during the Watergate scandal, he certainly established in the public that this is how it works. It is called credible deniability.

This story is not over. The abuses are not over. The cover up is not over. Even Rumsfeld admitted today there will be more unsettling information coming forward. It is clear to me however, that come November 2, 2004, this administration's hold on power over our now somewhat diminished nation, should be over. Make no mistake, while we here in America try to judge who is responsible within our government and military, the peoples of the world are judging whether the American people themselves, you and I, are also responsible. If we reelect this administration in November, there is no doubt, 100's of millions of people if not a billion or more, will hold you and I and all Americans responsible. When that occurs, Osama bin Laden will have accomplished his intended purpose. We will have handed victory to the terrorists we profess to so ardently fight against.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on May 7, 2004 4:06 PM.

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