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Thread: Donald Rumsfeld
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  1. TopTop #1
    Sara S's Avatar
    Sara S
    Auntie Wacco

    Donald Rumsfeld

    Jon Carroll in the Chronicle

    • 09/25/2007
    As you may have heard, Donald Rumsfeld has been offered a one- year appointment as the Special Distinguished Visiting Something at the Hoover Institution, a right-wing think tank affiliated with Stanford University in a way not clear to me or, apparently, anyone else.

    The online petition opposing his appointment has been signed by more than 2,600 "members of the Stanford community," another fuzzy designation. The reaction of the Hoover Institution to the online petition has been a hearty laugh and another round for the table. It has never cared about the opinions of the Stanford community in the past, and it is not about to start now. A nicer way to say this is that the Hoover Institution is an independent and resolute sanctuary for beleaguered scholars.

    This latest controversy is being played as yet another silly "political correctness" controversy. The usual Fox News-ready conservative commentators have trotted out the arguments about how colleges celebrate diversity but really demand strict intellectual conformity. Liberals? They're in control. Conservatives can do nothing except withhold endowments, join think tanks and work for lobbying firms, whereas powerful liberals can be tenured English professors.

    Think of the children.
    Which is not to say that silly stuff is absent from the halls of academe. Academic politics are fierce, and cliques scheme to take over departments and impose one or another loony world view on their colleagues. But universities exist to protect silly ideas and to experiment with new ways of teaching. A lot of silly ideas are just ridiculous extensions of smart and useful concepts.
    It may be that teaching world history from the Inuit point of view leaves out some important events. On the other hand, 50 years ago the existence of the Inuits was not even noted except in certain obscure anthropology seminars. So colleges do course corrections (unintentional pun, but I like it) and the learning experience is enriched thereby.

    But all of this is beside the point. Donald Rumsfeld is not some guy who opposes sex education in schools, or believes that abortion should be illegal, or thinks that women should just stay home and make babies. He's a guy who ordered bombing runs on helpless civilians. He's a guy who sent American soldiers to their death. He's a guy who displaced 2 million Iraqi citizens. If the phrase "war criminal" means anything any more, then Donald Rumsfeld is a war criminal.

    All war involves senseless slaughter, but that slaughter is often in defense of a comprehensible goal. If someone attacks you, you attack back. That's why the initial war in Afghanistan was a good idea. (Now the war in Afghanistan is underfunded and ignored - another Rumsfeld legacy.) But the war in Iraq had no comprehensible rationale. The rationales presented turned out to be exaggerations or lies. The prosecution of the war was carried out according to Rumsfeld theories about the utility of small armies, and those theories were not changed even as the death toll mounted.

    Rumsfeld never let the facts interfere with his grand visions. Even when he resigned, he exhibited no remorse. Now other people, better people, will be left to sort out the grotesque mess he left, and America will carry the burden of his stupid invasion for the next 50 years. If he's not the worst person in the world, he's in the top 10.

    The only comparable example in recent days is Columbia University's decision to invite Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak on campus. I hold no brief for Ahmadinejad, but he is the ruler of a strategically important nation and it might be useful to hear what he has to say. It might be useful to tell him a little bit about what we think. It might even be useful to try to reach an accommodation with him, in the same way that we are trying to reach an accommodation with Kim Jong Il.
    Besides, if he hadn't been allowed to speak, we would never have learned that there are no gay people in Iran.

    Donald Rumsfeld is no longer the leader of anything. Of the abundant evidence, he will neither say anything interesting nor listen to opposing opinions. There is no necessity to be polite to Donald Rumsfeld.
    Indeed, I think that Donald Rumsfeld should be shunned. I think people should turn their faces away from him when he comes near. I think people should avoid him on the street. I think people who come into accidental contact with him should say, "I shun thee." He deserves social discomfort; he deserves to realize that actions have consequences, and that the hermetic world inside the Bush administration is not the only world in the world.

    It is amusing to think of the United States as the "winning side" in Iraq, but we are still writing the histories, or trying too, and the whole truth should be told.
    Last edited by Barry; 09-27-2007 at 07:30 PM.
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  2. TopTop #2
    Dixon's Avatar

    Re: Donald Rumsfeld

    Quote Posted in reply to the post by Sara S: View Post
    "...If someone attacks you, you attack back. That's why the initial war in Afghanistan was a good idea."
    Sara, I appreciate your sharing this Jon Carroll column, which I agree with...

    EXCEPT, for the record, I must mention one important disagreement. The above quote from the column is pernicious baloney.

    With few if any exceptions, the Afghanis we're killing never attacked us. Most of the religious fanatics who flew planes into buildings on 9/11 were Saudis. Even if they'd been Afghanis, that wouldn't make it right to invade Afghanistan, kill thousands of innocents and set up a puppet government. It should have been addressed as a criminal matter, but was used as an excuse for an invasion that "our" government had already been planning. Before 9-11 ever happened, our government had threatened Afghanistan with bombing because the Taliban were refusing to cut an oil pipeline deal with the USA. Our government wanted to build a pipeline from the Caspian Sea through Afghanistan to the ocean, thus to gain substantial control of Central Asia's oil, a necessity for world domination plans. 9-11 "conveniently" furnished the excuse for the already-planned invasion, and the last I heard, we were indeed building the pipeline. So our invasion of Afghanistan is just another slimy war of aggression--imperial business as usual.

    If we really want to attack the perpetrators of 9-11, I think a swift surgical strike on Washigton D.C. would get most of the bastards.


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