Welcome to the Matrix: Bush praises Rumsfeld


President Bush issued a strong endorsement of embattled Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld on Monday, telling him after a meeting at the Pentagon, “You are doing a superb job.”

On Capitol Hill, meanwhile, senators scheduled another hearing on the prisoner abuse issue that has prompted calls for Rumsfeld’s resignation. Witnesses at the Tuesday hearing include Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, author of the report that found numerous “sadistic, blatant and wanton criminal abuses” at the prison near Baghdad.

Bush’s comments at the Pentagon appeared designed to head off rising speculation that Rumsfeld would resign as both men braced for the anticipated release of more pictures and video images showing Iraqi prisoners being abused by American soldiers.

Seriously now, what reality is Dubya currently in?

This is the most insane single moment of the Iraq war. Does this make sense to anyone? Even Rumsfeld himself must be astonished. The arrogance, stupidity, and corrupt nature of this administration just boggles the mind.

In my weekend reading I came upon an impressive “out of the box” idea for an Iraq exit strategy. The source was a “How to Get Out of Iraq” panel hosted by The Nation. Check this out:

The most intriguing plan…comes from John Brady Kiesling, the diplomat who resigned last February to protest Bush’s foreign policy. He suggests that America essentially stage its own defeat, allowing a designated Iraqi to reap the glory of driving the occupation from the country.

“A victorious Secretary Rumsfeld could not impose Ahmad Chalabi. However, a retreating US military can designate Iraq’s liberator,” writes Kiesling. “We must select the competent Iraqi patriot to whom we yield ground while bleeding his competitors. There will be casualties and disorder, no matter how brilliantly we orchestrate our withdrawal. But the overwhelming majority of Iraqis will rally around any man who claims to drive us out, and elections would validate his relatively bloodless victory.”

Now that’s a strategist.

What is bush supposed to do? Either cut him or give him a raise, thats the two options.

One odd note, Rumsfeld and Powell were both for treating the captives in Cuba under the Geneva Convention, Ashcroft and Cheney were not.

Hmmm… where else did Cheney show up? What company is still paying him and hiring and training civilian contractors in Iraq to interrogate the prisoners? Yeah, unlike early assertions by the administration, they are doing more than delivering food to the poor Iraqis.

I am beginning to feel this dog and pony show is being done to avert any shots to the man pulling the strings - Cheney. I would like to know - when did he know about the abuses? If Rumsfeld didn’t know what company was in control of the Civilian contractors in the prison, who did? Did Cheney? Who are the Civilian contractors reporting to?

The whole idea the administration puts forward for civilian contractors makes no sense. Why pay someone $1,000 a day to do a job an $18,000/year soldier used to do. How is that saving us money?


Maybe they think the soldiers will only be needed for 17 days?

Haven’t you figured it out yet? There is a significant portion of the US that will simply believe, desperately have to believe, that whatever their commander in chief says is true, no matter what allegations come forth. Despite every scandal that has come forth in the last four years, you have a large number of people who will immediately take the word of Bush as coming straight from god.

We’ve seen it over and over during the last year, no matter what comes up, a few words from the President and for a significant number of people, the issue becomes a non-issue, just something all those anti-Bush people who hate america continue to press despite the President saying it’s not true.

At this point, the reality for a good number of the people you live and work with is whatever the hell the President says it is. So why not praise Rumsfield and turn all those calling for his resignation into the real evildoers in the signs of his faithful?

Off the top of my head, we’re probably using all theose contractors because:

  1. More money for defense contracters.
  2. You can pay for them with supplemental “temporary” authorizations, rather than increase the size of the military and put up with all of the congressional debate that’ll entail.

Haven’t you figured it out yet? There is a significant portion of the US that will simply believe, desperately have to believe, that whatever their commander in chief says is true, no matter what allegations come forth. Despite every scandal that has come forth in the last four years, you have a large number of people who will immediately take the word of Bush as coming straight from god.


Although i don’t know if its that extreme, it is certainly a reflection/condemnation of the Republican Party’s intellectual base, and who really at the end of the day pushes the Republican agendas; ie,. ideologue thinktanks and rabble rousing hacks.

The real tragedy is the absence of individual duty and ethics among the lower level administration officials and popularized conservative journalists and theorists.

If Republicanism is something more than angry, bible thumping, ruralized reactionaries, you should be having mass defections across the specturm. Every major respected pundit should be putting his career on the line against Bush, and every major administration official should be resigning in protest.

But because conservative commentators are in a lucrative buisness where political identification means everything, and because unscupulous wagging heads will eagerly act as apologist and flag-bearer without batting an eye, few seem to have the self respect to stand up and say clearly and unambigously how Bush is wrong; instead vetting everything with exceptions and pronunciations of their authentic conservative values, so to not alienate their base audience and lose profitable jobs with major publications.

If Powell were to resign now, in good British tradition, his memory and possibly career will be saved. If he soldiers on he becomes like the lower level officers of MacBeth’s army. Without resigning, whatever other protests his supports make on his behalf, it shows that he lacks the courage or intelligence to stand on his own beliefs. Lower level officials, though less important, also have the power collectively to demonstrate their disapproval and resign.

If none of these things happen, if nothing within the Republican party wants fundamental change, either out of fear or stupidity, Bush wins in November. That imo is the decisive point in this election - whether enough of the old guard turns its back on Bush, and if there is any remaining principle in the Republican party other than “megadittos”.

I wouldn’t think that little of them; it took Democrats a damn long while to turn against LBJ.

They have 7 months.

Also, contractors are not under supervision of military officers and don’t have any funny ideas about being “citizens in uniform”, making them better suited to illegal actions.

There’s a fascinating parallel in the rise of kings who’d hire expensive but obedient mercenaries to complement their cheap but unreliable feudal vassals. It’s also a logical consequence of the general move away from conscripted armies. How is an army of volunteers that join for the material benefits different from an army of mercenaries, anyway?

Well, I can think of a couple big differences. You’re not going to get rich as a military man. You’re sworn to serve the United States as well. There are rich traditions of honor and duty as well as a (surprisingly) effective internal legal system - have you seen the JAGs coming out to do battle with the Bush administration over unlawful detentions, constitutional violations and prisoner treatment in Camp X-Ray, Afghanistan and Iraq? I have to admit it surprised me a bit. They’ve even gone so far as to take complaints to international human rights organizations and the media when the brass tried to hush it up.

Compare that with what we’ve got in private contractor land. Unsworn, for pay, unregulated. Do we really need a military Enron out there? Is that really a great idea? I’m not sure which concept bothers me more, the ‘Walter Mitty’ American yahoos playing soldier, the South American ex-pats avoiding prosecution for criminal acts in their native countries, the soldiers from poor countries like Bangladesh seeking to support their families the only way they can, or the ex-SAS/SEAL/Special Forces teams with tip top discipline and skill kitted out with the best personal weaponry in the world working for hire. They make 10 times as much in the private sector as they did for the government. Retention’s become such a concern for the SAS that it’s a real scandal in England. We’re just starting to see the reporting on it over here.

This big problem I have with contractors is that they are usually ex-military. Meaning we pay to get them trained in a specific skill, they leave the military and then we pay them more to come back and to do the job we paid to train them to do!


If only I had a link to the Dilbert comic where the guy is happy about being laid off because they’re giving him a generous severance package and will only end up hiring him back as a consultant at higher pay.