Revolution #69, November 19, 2006
Bad Week for Old Chums…
Donald Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein in 1983, at a time when the U.S. was backing its Iraqi ally with arms and intelligence in Iraq’s brutal border war with Iran.
Saddam Hussein sentenced to death.
Saddam Hussein’s Baath party seized power in Iraq in a 1963 coup publicly praised by the U.S. The Baath government consolidated power by eliminating opponents, including by using a CIA-provided hit list of Iraqi leftists. In 1979, Saddam Hussein personally seized control over the Baathist regime, and for the following 12 years, the U.S., Britain, Germany, and France, all considered Saddam their favorite Arab leader. They provided him arms, high-tech intelligence and heavy financing for waging a brutal eight-year war against Iran—and provided him with the components of chemical weapons that were used against Iranian soldiers and Kurdish civilians.
Most of Saddam Hussein’s atrocities were committed at the instigation of the U.S. or with its complicity. And both Donald Rumsfeld (the most recent U.S. Secretary of Defense) and Robert Gates (the CIA operative picked to replace Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense) worked as top level representatives of the U.S. to Saddam Hussein. Now the U.S., through its lackey regime in Baghdad, has sentenced Hussein to death. The U.S. has no more right to judge and hand down a death sentence to Hussein than Tony Soprano had a right to “whack” his hired hirelings like Ralph Cifaretto.
In his trial, Hussein was accused and convicted of a 1982 massacre of 148 Shiite men and boys in Dujail. That particular crime was chosen as the main focus of the trial (and not far larger massacres and war crimes), because what the U.S. occupiers in Iraq did not want to come out—and what Saddam didn’t want to reveal either—is that he was a hired killer for the U.S. for most of his career. During this trial, according to British journalist Robert Fisk, Saddam "was formally forbidden from describing his relationship with Donald Rumsfeld... Nor, of course, was he permitted to talk about the support he received from George Bush Sr., the current U.S. President's father."
Bush tells Donald Rumsfeld to step down from the office of Secretary of Defense
With the presidential election of George W. Bush in 2000, Donald Rumsfeld became a major architect of this regime’s aggressive attempt to impose the U.S. as the single, dominant imperialist power all over the globe. The crimes he has organized, justified, and covered up in the following years, from his post as Secretary of Defense, head of U.S. military forces, have been truly monstrous.
Rumsfeld oversaw the U.S. invasion and conquest of Afghanistan in 2001. During that war he personally issued orders for a covert special operations program able to capture, assassinate, and torture people targeted by the U.S. government around the world. He oversaw the expansion of that program into a whole system of U.S. interrogation and torture—including the special detention camps at Guantánamo Bay and within Baghram airforce base in Afghanistan. In August 2003, orders from high levels pressured interrogators at Abu Ghraib prison to intensify the torture of prisoners. A month later Rumsfeld personally toured the prison and approved its operations. Former Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who was the overall commander of all the U.S. military prisons in Iraq, has written, “It was clear the knowledge and responsibility [for what happened at Abu Ghraib] goes all the way to the top of the chain of command to the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.”
Meanwhile, Rumsfeld played a key role in the U.S. government’s campaign of lies —- falsely insisting that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction” and was threatening the U.S.
On March 30, 2001, Donald Rumsfeld blatantly lied: “We know where [the WMD] are,” he said. “They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.”
And when Iraq was attacked—Rumsfeld played a key role leading the horrific “shock and awe” bombardment, the invasion itself, and then brutal U.S. moves to suppress any resistance—including repeated attacks on Fallujah. It is now estimated that as many as 650,000 Iraqi people may have died as a result of this invasion and occupation.
Rumsfeld is now being made to take the fall—not because of his true crimes, but because powerful forces at the top think he did not carry out his criminal activities efficiently or successfully enough.
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