Iraq War

Goodbye, Rummy


Cjones07092021

Sometimes when a famous person dies, like a political or government figure like Donald Rumsfeld, we forget their bad qualities. What isn’t mentioned enough at times, is what a piece of crap they were. Condoleeza Rice called him a “remarkable and committed public servant.” Mitch McConnell said he was one of the “nation’s fiercest defenders.”

Donald Rumsfeld was Secretary of Defense twice. It was in his second tenure where he was his worst. Gaslighting is claiming Rumsfeld was one of our nation’s “fiercest defenders” when Rumsfeld never defended our nation. The Iraq war had nothing to do with defending America.

Donald Rumsfeld, along with the entire Bush administration, used 9/11 to argue to attack Iraq and begin nation building. The thing is, Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were actually ideological opponents. We attacked the wrong country.

Sure, Saddam was a bad guy. He was the sort of dictator Donald Trump longed to become. He named big buildings and other projects after himself, like airports. He suppressed political dissent. He silenced the media. He murdered dissidents. Saddam, like Trump, gassed people. Saddam hated ethnic groups and had them murdered. But, Saddam never did attack the United States. Saddam was never a threat to our country. Donald Trump was a greater threat to the United States than either Saddam or bin Laden. Out of the three, Trump, Saddam, or bin Laden, which one’s followers was able to penetrate the United States Capitol Complex?

But we’re talking about the other Donald. Donald Rumsfeld who died last week at the age of 88. Because of Donald Rumsfeld, over 3,000 U.S. service members will never have the chance to live to the ripe old age of 88. Because of Donald Rumsfeld, over 200,000 Iraqis will never live to 88. To be fair, that war probably also killed a lot of Iraqis who were over 88. But you get my point.

Thousands of young men and women who died in Rumsfeld’s war are buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Rumsfeld should be buried in Iraq.

When Rumsfeld was the envoy to the Middle East in the Reagan administration, he shook Saddam’s hand while promising to help him defeat Iran. Rumsfeld had zero issues with Saddam’s human rights abuses or the fact he was a dictator. At that time, he was our dictator. Rumsfeld proved the war with Iraq that he helped initiate and implement decades later had nothing to do with freedom, democracy, human rights, or any principles. It was just geopolitics. If Iraq didn’t have oil, we never would have gone there. We wouldn’t have even cared in the early 90s when Iraq invaded Kuwait. In that instance, we were saving a dictatorship from a dictatorship.

It’s been reported that Rumsfeld was building an argument to attack Iraq within six hours of the planes flying into the World Trade Center. He later argued there was an alliance between Iraq and al Qaida. There was not.

Rumsfeld argued Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. They did not. He said, “Simply because you do not have evidence that something exists does not mean that you have evidence that it doesn’t exist.” We did not invade to find evidence it didn’t exist. We did not invade to prove a negative.

Rumsfeld said he even knew where those weapons were. Since they didn’t exist, he did not. January 20, 2003, Rumsfeld said, “His regime has large, unaccounted for stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, including VX, sarin, mustard gas, anthrax, botulism and possibly smallpox. And he has an active program to acquire and develop nuclear weapons.” But we never found those weapons and Saddam NEVER had a program to acquire or develop nuclear weapons that anyone could take seriously.

When U.N. inspectors, which the U.S. demanded and Iraq allowed, failed to find such weapons, Rumsfeld invaded anyway, probably because not having proof didn’t mean there wasn’t proof…or some Rumsfeldian shit like that.

Rumsfeld was also a huge advocate for our interrogation program that he and Dick Cheney liked to call, “Enhanced interrogation techniques.” Another word for that is torture. It was torture.

On November 14, 2002, Rumsfeld said, “The Gulf War in the 1990s lasted five days on the ground. I can’t tell you if the use of force in Iraq today would last five days, or five weeks or five months. But it certainly isn’t going to last any longer than that.” It lasted over a decade. Cheney said we’d be greeted a liberators. Instead, Iraq gave American-hating insurgents a place to kill Americans. It was very convenient for them.

After the invasion in April, 2003, when asked about the lawlessness running rampant through Baghdad after U.S. troops captured the Iraqi capital, Rumsfeld said, “Stuff happens.” He went on to Rumsplain it as, “It’s untidy, and freedom’s untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things.” Wait. Free people are free to commit crimes? What exactly were we fighting for? Based on that logic, free people are free to hijack and fly airplanes into tall buildings.

Arguing for the war in 2002, Rumsfeld said, “As we know, there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.” What is known now is our invasion was based on a word salad.

Rumsfeld also said, “I don’t do quagmires,” which is ironic because the quagmire that was Iraq is his legacy.

When asked about the deaths from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Rumsfeld said, “Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war.” Yeah, why can’t we talk about wars without focusing on all the dead people? Can’t we talk about World War II without bringing up the Holocaust? Sheesh! So depressing.

Looking back at all those unfortunate, and unnecessary, deaths from a war Rumsfeld started based on total lies and bullshit can be very depressing.

But the one death that does not depress me is Rumsfeld’s.

On another note: Rumsfeld loved political cartoons. Mike Luckovich, the Pulitzer-Prize winning cartoonist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, visited the Pentagon and was challenged to a push-up contest by Rumsfeld, which Luckovich lost. After Rumsfeld’s death, other cartoonists reported incidents, with great fondness, about Rumsfeld requesting cartoons from them…and that they obliged.

I don’t play with politicians and I’m disappointed so many of my colleagues played with Rumsfeld. We cover those people. We don’t patronize them. If Rumsfeld requested a cartoon from you, that is a very notable achievement that he took note of your cartoon…but what I would have been prouder of would be telling Rumsfeld to stick it up his ass. I’m sorry so many missed that opportunity.

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A Sinking Argument


cjones06182019

In 1898, the USS Maine was sunk in Havana Harbor (if you’re a conservative, Havana is in Cuba). It was sunk in February of that year. By April, we were at war with Spain. At that time, Spain was a world power whose strength was dwindling. But, they still held territories from their days of conquest. When the war was over, Spanish Empire was no more and the United States was a world power taking possession of Cuba, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. The war only lasted ten weeks and none of the fighting was in the U.S. or Spain.

The sinking of the Maine was a contributing factor for the U.S. to go to war with Spain. The public wasn’t enthusiastic about war until the Maine was sunk. Newspapers at the time, operating with less journalistic integrity than they do now, published on front pages the rallying cry, “Remember the Maine! To Hell with Spain!” And to this day, we don’t know what sunk the ship. But quite frankly, wouldn’t Spain had rather sunk a ship that didn’t rhyme with “Spain?”

There has never been any proof the Spaniards sunk The Maine. In 1974, a U.S. naval investigation agreed with the theory that the sinking happened because the ship’s magazines had been ignited by a spontaneous fire in a coal bunker. Spain never even got a “my bad.”

In 1915 during World War I (which nobody was calling “World War I” at the time), the ocean liner Lusitania was sunk by Germany off the coast of Ireland. Germany was waging submarine warfare against the United Kingdom which had initiated a naval blockade of Germany. Propaganda was spread by both sides, but the tide of public opinion internationally went against Germany, which was easy because they’re German. While the ship was carrying civilian passengers, including many Americans, Germany argued that it was also carrying ammunition for the war. The sinking helped instigate America’s entry into World War I (in case you’re a Trump cultist, we entered on the side of the British, not the Germans), which before had been very unpopular in the U.S. Most Americans couldn’t see how the fight in Europe was any business of the United States. Most historians still can’t find any genuine reason for the U.S. to have been in World War I.

The UK denied that the ship carried ammunition but decades later, issued a warning to divers stating the equivalent of, “hey, be careful. There are ammunitions down there.”

In 1964, the U.S. Navy and North Vietnamese Navy had one or two skirmishes in the Gulf of Tonkin. One or two? Yes, because to this day, we’re not sure. But whatever happened in the Gulf led the U.S. to become way more involved in the Vietnam War.

Three North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked the destroyer, USS Maddox. Four North Vietnamese sailors were killed, six wounded, with damages to each torpedo boat. One American aircraft was damaged and a single bullet hole was discovered in the ship. The U.S. later claimed there was a second attack but the only evidence found have been ghost radar images. The U.S. Navy described ghost images as a naval battle.

What happened next was Congress giving President Lyndon Johnson authority to assist any Southeast Asian nation who was being threatened by communist aggression. Lyndon later used this to justify escalating the war. Full details of the Tonkin incident were kept from the public and later, many involved claimed the Maddox was used to instigate North Vietnam to attack it in order to justify the U.S. going to war.

In 2003, the U.S. led an international coalition in an invasion of Iraq based on the lie that they had weapons of mass destruction and a nuclear program. In case you’re a Republican, No. They did not have weapons of mass destruction and their nuclear program was about as advanced as my microwave oven. I have to state that because people like John Bolton, our current National Security Adviser, still argues the case for invading Iraq.

There were also lies that Iraq was involved in 9/11 with a majority of Americans holding that belief. What was ignored by American politicians and the public was that Iraq never attacked the United States.

Ultimately, over 4,000 American soldiers were killed with an estimated 100,000 plus Iraqi civilian deaths. We overthrew Saddam Hussein and Iraq became a “democracy.” Iraq also became a nation full of insurgents. And even though the Iraqi Army was demolished, the government destroyed, and George W. Bush declaring “mission accomplished,” the war continued for nearly nine years. We created a power vacuum in Iraq and created ISIS. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney made a terrorist rock star out of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Are you ready to do it again?

Be Complicit

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