Tuesday/Wednesday, June 28-29, 2005
On Sunday, June 26, U.S. Secretary of Defense, Don Rumsfeld, made the rounds of the U.S. national talk shows. This is obligatory for administration officials to get their message to the American people. It is also convenient that the talk shows are milquetoast, non-confrontational programs that do not challenge what has been said by the guests.
The one truthful aspect that came out of Rumsfeld’s discussion was his assessment of the current situation in Iraq. He told Meet the Press, "I would anticipate you’re going to see an escalation of violence between now and the December elections. And after then, it will take a long time to drive out the insurgents."
On Fox News Sunday, Rumsfeld stated, "Insurgencies tend to go on five, six, eight, 10, 12 years." He later affixed the year 2017 as a possible end to the Iraqi resistance.
However, Rumsfeld reverted to his usual stupidity. When asked about the horrific events now occurring in Iraq, he tried to put a positive slant on the issue. Rumsfeld told the host that he gave George Bush a list of 15 things that could go wrong prior to the illegal invasion of Iraq in March 2003: oil wells being set on fire; mass refugees and relocations; blown-up bridges; and a moat of oil around Baghdad. He then said, "So a great many of the bad things that could have happened did not happen." Genius.
To use Rumsfeld’s logic, one could point out that the people in the area of the devastating tsunami that killed hundreds of thousands of people about six months ago could be upbeat because they did not suffer a nuclear bomb attack at the same time.
Rumsfeld not only contradicts himself about issues every time he speaks, but he does it with style. Why sound only like an idiot when you can sound like a fool and a buffoon as well?
On March 30, 2003, Rumsfeld was a guest on This Week with George Stephanopoulis. The U.S. had invaded Iraq 10 days prior, yet no weapons of mass destruction had been found. Rumsfeld had the answer:
The area … that our forces control … happens not to be the area where weapons of mass destruction were dispersed. We know where they are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhere.
After a few weeks, the questions about weapons of mass destruction became louder. On May 4, 2003, Rumsfeld told Fox News Sunday:
We never believed we’d just tumble over weapons of mass destruction in that country. We’re going to find what we find as a result of talking to people, I believe, not simply by going to some site and hoping to discover it.
Then, on Septmber 10, 2003, in a speech to the National Press Club, Rumsfeld said:
I said, "We know they’re in that area." I should have said, "I believe they’re in that area." Our intelligence tells us they’re in that area, and that was our best judgement.
Shortly before the invasion, however, Rumsfeld was not ambiguous about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. In a speech on January 20, 2003, he stated:
Saddam Hussein possesses chemical and biological weapons His regime is paying a high price to pursue weapons of mass destruction — giving up billions of dollars in oil revenue. His regime has large, unaccounted for stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons — including VX, sarin, cyclosarin and mustard gas; anthrax, botulism, and possibly smallpox — and he has an active program to acquire and develop nuclear weapons.
In the space of nine months, Rumsfeld changed his story many times and he went from declaring an inventory list of Iraqi’s weapons of mass destruction to saying he "believed" they were north, south, east or west of Tikrit.
On February 4, 2003, Saddam Hussein was interviewed by British politico Tony Benn. The interview was shown on British television. Here’s what Saddam had to say about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction:
Every fair-minded person knows that as far as United Nations Resolution 1441 is concerned, the Iraqis have been fulfilling their obligations under the resolution. If the purpose (of the inspections) was to make sure that Iraq is free of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, then they can do that. We have said many times before and we say it again today that Iraq is free of such weapons.
Saddam made it very clear that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. No ambiguities or lies. Just the facts.
Rumsfeld, along with the entire administration and much of the Democratic so-called opposition, lied about Iraq in a blatant manner. Saddam in one paragraph told the precise truth. In other words, Rumsfeld was the liar and the guy with the moustache told the truth. However, today Rumsfeld appears on talk shows and speaks in broken English and Saddam is in prison.
Rumsfeld has come up with some not-so-brilliant statements during his tenure as Secretary of Defense. On October 7, 2002, he told the New Republic, "Osama bin Laden is either alive and well or alive and not too well or not alive."
He predicted a heroic welcome for U.S. troops to Iraq. On February 20, 2002, speaking on The News Hour With Jim Lehrer, Rumsfeld stated:
There is no question but that they would be welcomed. Go back to Afghanistan, the people were in the streets playing music, cheering, flying kites, and doing all the things that the Taliban and al-Qaeda would not let them do.
At the same time that Rumsfeld predicted a heroes welcome for U.S. troops, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister, Tariq Aziz, differed. He said
We will welcome the U.S. troops. Unfortunately, we ran out of candy so we will hove to substitute bullets.
Speaking of statements that have been challenged, the Iraqi Information Minister, Muhammad Sahaff’s (Baghdad Bob) last public statement occurred when a reporter pointed out that U.S. troops were already in Baghdad. He stated, "We’ve got them right where we want them." America laughed at him. Nobody is laughing today at that statement, however.
Here’s another accurate statement that Sahaff made — one that even the most vile warmonger could not refute: "I speak better English than Bush."
The title of this article may confuse U.S. citizens because of the use of a word that is used in Britain and Australia, but few Americans know of its meaning. Before I moved to Britain in 1975, I never heard it either.
I will end this article with an excerpt from my book Strike Four: Adventures in European Baseball. The background for this concerns a cheating umpire in a baseball game in 1975 in which I was the coach of the Crawley Giants. Here is how I learned about the word "wanker:"
Despite the fiasco occurring on the field, something positive happened in that game. I learned a new word. In the seventh inning, I noticed a veteran player reprimanding a rookie. I asked him, "Why are you chewing him out, Neil?" and he answered, "He called the ump a wanker." "What’s a wanker?" I queried. He then took me aside and whispered so that no one could hear him, "Someone who plays with himself." I was quiet for a moment, then I turned toward the field and shouted, "Hey Ump! You’re a wanker."
U.S. Secretary of Defense, Don Rumsfeld, is definitely a wanker.