Are you tired of the depressing news that permeates our network and cable news channels? Looking for some levity and comic relief to lighten the mood? Then we suggest you pick up a copy of Donald Rumsfeld’s recently published memoir Known and Unknown. This piece of revisionist history is sure to bring a chuckle to anyone who closely followed the day to day antics of the Bush administration. That is if the true facts weren’t so sad.
To be fair, we have not read Mr. Rumsfeld’s entire memoir. But the excerpts we have studied make it clear that anyone hoping for an honest, thoughtful commentary on the Bush years will be disappointed.
Rumsfeld is the latest of Bush’s inner circle to attempt to rewrite history. Bush and Cheney through one form of media or another have sought to alter the manner in which history will view their time in office. If nothing else they hope to avoid future prosecution. (Any future trips to Spain should be reconsidered.) Rumsfeld falls right in line. There is little remorse and plenty of blame but ultimately Rumsfeld stands by the decisions that he made.
This memoir is typical Rumsfeld. Self-confident, brusque and pompous he dismisses any criticism of the Bush administration as merely Monday morning quarterbacking. And unlike Bush and Chaney he has no problem throwing some of his cohorts under the bus. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell and then National Security Council Director Condoleeza Rice are not painted in a favorable light.
While Mr. Rumsfeld is entitled to provide us with his view of the events which occurred under his watch there are certain facts that are indisputable:
-The Bush administration attacked Iraq under the false accusation that they supported the terrorists who attacked America on 9/11 and that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction which could find their way onto American soil. Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks and no WMD were ever found.
-Fearful that the American people would lose their zest for retribution Rumsfeld ignored the advice of his generals and ordered the quick attack on Iraq with less than sufficient forces to take and secure the country. While successful in taking Baghdad in short order the US military did not have enough troops on the ground to secure the country. The resulting riots, looting and chaos resulted in thousands of needlessly lost lives and made the military’s job more difficult and dangerous.
-Once Hussein was overthrown the US ordered the dissolution of the Bath Party and the Republican Guard allowing tens of thousands of armed, angry Iraq’s to blend into the population only to fight US forces another day.
-In order to gather information from suspected enemies, the Bush Administration ordered operatives to conduct what they referred to as “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” including among other things the water boarding of detainees. The US was informed that these tactics were in violation of the Geneva Accords for the treatment of prisoners; and the conducting of the activities made the perpetrators in effect, war criminals.
The result of the Bush administration’s actions based on a lack of, misinterpretation of, or faulty intelligence was the longest war in US history. It cost over 4,000 US dead, tens of thousands US wounded and injured and over $750 billion dollars. There is no accounting for the number of dead and wounded Iraqis but experts put the figure in the millions.
Mr. Rumsfeld says he isn’t “much into hand-wringing” in defending his decisions about the Iraq war. The families of the dead and wounded might take a different view.