Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Memories of Rummy

Fosco suspects that, when history fully apportions the blame for all of the global evil done by the Bush Administration, the second-largest share (after Cheney's heapin' helpin') will go to Don Rumsfeld. Not that Rumsfeld was as diabolically evil as Cheney; rather, as far as I can tell, he mostly didn't give a fuck. No body armor for the troops? Fuck it. Torture at Abu Ghraib? Whatever. Too-small US troop presence on the ground? Meh. Looting? *Shrug*. And here's some proof, from Fosco's continuing series of excerpts from Vanity Fair's "An Oral History of the Bush White House":

Kenneth Adelman, a member of Donald Rumsfeld’s advisory Defense Policy Board: So [Rumsfeld] says, It might be best if you got off the Defense Policy Board. You’re very negative. I said, I am negative, Don. You’re absolutely right. I’m not negative about our friendship. But I think your decisions have been abysmal when it really counted.

Start out with, you know, when you stood up there and said things—“Stuff happens.” I said, That’s your entry in Bartlett’s. The only thing people will remember about you is “Stuff happens.” I mean, how could you say that? “This is what free people do.” This is not what free people do. This is what barbarians do. And I said, Do you realize what the looting did to us? It legitimized the idea that liberation comes with chaos rather than with freedom and a better life. And it demystified the potency of American forces. Plus, destroying, what, 30 percent of the infrastructure.

I said, You have 140,000 troops there, and they didn’t do jack shit. I said, There was no order to stop the looting. And he says, There was an order. I said, Well, did you give the order? He says, I didn’t give the order, but someone around here gave the order. I said, Who gave the order?

So he takes out his yellow pad of paper and he writes down—he says, I’m going to tell you. I’ll get back to you and tell you. And I said, I’d like to know who gave the order, and write down the second question on your yellow pad there. Tell me why 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq disobeyed the order. Write that down, too.

And so that was not a successful conversation.
While it's always nice to hear of someone within the Administration who was willing to criticize Rumsfeld, Kenneth Adelman is no prize pig. After all, he's the one who wrote the 2002 Washington Post editorial entitled "Cakewalk in Iraq," which not only promised a quick and easy victory in Iraq but also raised the troops' expectations of a warzone filled with delicious cakes. I don't have to tell you that those expectations have been horribly shattered. In fact, there is little evidence of any cake-related activity in Iraq (nor has there ever been).

(However, Adelman did endorse Obama in 2008, so I guess that's pretty good.)

No comments: