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Man who endorsed torture and murder to speak at Ford Museum

March 3, 2011

Yesterday, MLive ran a story that former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld will be speaking at the Ford Museum on Monday, March 7.

Rumsfeld is on a tour with his book entitled, Known and Unknown. The book title is based on a comment he made during a press conference while he was in the Bush administration, a comment that has been the source of much sarcasm.

The MLive story states, “Rumsfeld’s book has provoked controversy and criticism, most notably from Washington Post editor Bob Woodward, who said Rumsfeld tries to shift blame and whitewash his own errors of judgment.” The article doesn’t clarify what these “errors in judgment” might be or how widespread the criticism of Rumsfeld is beyond Woodward.

Rumsfeld’s History

It is no surprise that Rumsfeld would be speaking at the Ford Museum, since Rumsfeld was the Secretary of Defense under Ford. It was during 1975-76 that Rumsfeld made his mark as a proponent of militarism. Rumsfeld called for a $9 billion increase in the defense budget and began regular Congressional briefings on the growing “threat” of the Soviet Union, according to Andrew Cockburn’s biography of the former Secretary of Defense.

Cockburn also notes that Rumsfeld undermined disarmament talks with the Soviets and his anti-Soviet rumblings led him to a group of far right militarists known as the Committee for the Present Danger (CPD). The CPD had been around since the 1950s, but Rumsfeld and his associates helped to revitalize the organization.

Upon leaving the Ford Administration Rumsfeld turned to the private sector and became the CEO of the pharmaceutical company G.D. Searle & Company. It was during Rumsfeld’s tenure there that the company made millions with the creation of two sweeteners, Equal and NutraSweet.

When Ronald Reagan was elected President in 1980, Rumsfeld’s politican connections would pay off and Rumsfeld was invited to be on numerous committees. However, the position that Rumsfeld most coveted during the Reagan years was his appointment as Special Envoy to the Middle East in 1983-84.

As Special Envoy to the Middle East Rumsfeld would solidify a special relationship between the US and Iraq’s leader Saddam Hussein. Rumsfeld made numerous trips to Iraq in 1983-84 to not only solidify relations with Saddam Hussein but to begin talks that would lead to a commitment by the US to provide weapons of mass destruction to the Iraqi dictator, all of which is well sourced in declassified documents by the National Security Archives. This is an important piece of history that was almost completely ignored in the build up to the US invasion of Iraq in 2002-03.

Rumsfeld and War Crimes

Shortly after George W. Bush was given the Presidency by the US Supreme Court in 2000, Donald Rumsfeld received a call to see if he wanted to have another go at being Secretary of Defense. Rumsfeld agrees and was part of the US imperial project from 2001 – 2006.

Rumsfeld was one of the proponents of going after Iraq within days of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, even though there was no evidence that Iraq had anything to do with it. Rumsfeld, like all of the high ranking Bush cabinet members, when on the offensive in 2002 to spread the propaganda that Iraq had WMDs. The Center for Public Integrity collected all of these statements in a report in 2008 to show that the WMD claims were false.

Unfortunately, the damage was done and the US invaded Iraq in March of 2003. The result of that 8-year war has left over a million Iraqis dead and the country in ruins. Rumsfeld and other high ranking officials in the Bush administration have been charged for war crimes because of the actual outcomes of the Iraqi policy from 2003 – 2008.

Numerous groups have filed lawsuits against Rumsfeld and other Bush cabinet members, lawsuits that began with Rumsfeld in 2006 when 21 Iraqi that fled to Germany charged the former Secretary of Defense with war crimes. Those charges and others like them have all made the following claims against Rumsfeld:

  • Crime against peace – planning and carrying out a war of aggression.
  • Complicity in the commission of a war crime – wanton destruction of cities and villages, devastation not justified by military necessity, ill-treatment of civilian population of or in occupied territory.
  • Complicity in the commission of a war crime – torture, ill-treatment of detainees. Planned and executed invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Wrote memo instructing use of harsh interrogation techniques at Abu Ghraib.

Rumsfeld has not been back to Germany and even fled France in 2007 for fear of arrest by people who wanted to hold him accountable for authorizing torture in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.

Now Rumsfeld is on tour with his memoirs and hoping to re-write history. The Ford Museum will host him at an invitation only event and the local police will be present not to arrest him for war crimes, but to protect him from any public dissent. Such is the madness of the world we live in.


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