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Beast of the Month - April 2003
Donald "Redrum" Rumsfeld, Overtly Psychopathic Defense Secretary
"I yam an anti-Christ..."
John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) of The Sex Pistols, "Anarchy in the UK"
Redrum Rumsfeld, using his favorite word in numerous speeches.
It's official: Gulf War II has started. And as any film buff will tell you, sequels are almost always worse than the original.
In defiance of both world and US opinion, the US began an unprovoked and unilateral war against Iraq last month, the culmination of an arrogant and contemptuous foreign policy. This followed a massive failure in the UN Security Council to get approval for even the most miniscule sanction for the war. In face of this failure, right-wing forces tried to pin the blame of this failure on those dastardly French and their threat of Security Council veto. The scapegoating of the quiche-eating French (who, despite their general snooty behavior, their bizarre fixation on Jerry Lewis, and their greater resistance to Mickey Mouse than Hitler, are right for once) ignores the fact that Russia had also threatened to veto, that China had remained firmly at best an abstaining vote, and that there was no chance in hell of getting the necessary votes for approval, even with the massive enticement of bribes and blackmail. (The UK Observer uncovered that the NSA was spying on Security Council diplomats during the time leading up to a potential vote.) To label the UN debacle a failure of diplomacy would be charitable: after all, to call the ham-fisted attempts to pressure the rest of the world into approving the Iraq invasion as "diplomacy" is a betrayal of the term.
Still, to focus on the failures of diplomacy by the Shrub Team would be focusing on the freedom fries rather than the Big Mac at the center of the plate. After all, Colin Powell (who, for all his faults, is the solitary figure in the Dubya regime to show any remote sense of decency since the presidential theft) is not the man who has earned the wrath of the world. It is instead our $400 billion a year Pentagon that has both offended and frightened them. Indeed, France, Germany and Russia (three countries whose own sordid history of colonialism is hardly a virtuous record even compared to the US and UK) seem less concerned with the potential plight of the Iraqi people than with the increasing threat of Team USA, running amok and power drunk in glory, harming their own national interests. And with all due respect for the smirking chimp-in-thief, it is Donald "Redrum" Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense and The Konformist Beast of the Month, who is the best representative of their logical fears.
Two things should be quickly evident from any viewing of Redrum Rummy in one of his press conferences: one, that, like John Ashcroft, this is a man seriously in a need of a enema, and two, that, like Shrub, the man is an overt psychopath. Indeed, what makes Rumsfeld stand out in comparison to other heads of the DOD is the disturbing glee he enjoys pointing out the purpose of his office is to murder people. In one press briefing during the Afghanistan operation, he used the word "kill" nine times.
On one hand, there is something admirable about a guy who states without euphemism that his purpose is to be a ruthless killer. It is because of this unusually blunt style that Redrum has earned admirers even among political opponents, and a bizarre cult of personality has developed around him. (So much so that People Magazine made him one of the ten runner-ups - along with Simon Cowell - to Mr. Jennifer Lopez as the Sexiest Man Alive.)
His style has given him some cultural comparisons - most notably to General Jack D. Ripper of Dr. Strangelove and Darth Vader of the Star Wars Trilogy. Yet, while Ripper and Vader seem to have some truth to it, a better comparison would be to Hannibal Lecter. Lecter, like Rumsfeld, is a very intelligent and charismatic psychopath, who seems like the perfect dinner guest - provided, that is, he doesn't attack and eat his dining companions. As portrayed by Anthony Hopkins in an Oscar-winning turn in Silence of the Lambs (as well as two sequels) it is little surprise that Lecter, like Rumsfeld, has developed a devoted following of admirers.
Of course, there are a couple major differences between Lecter and Rumsfeld, besides the obvious one that Lecter is a man of very refined tastes:
A) Hannibal Lecter, unlike Redrum, is a fictional character; and:
B) Hannibal Lecter, unlike Redrum, isn't the Secretary of Defense.
But all this is merely an aside: what is notable about Rummy's overt psychopathic behavior is that, unlike Dubya, Redrum is no idiot. When Shrub shows it in full force (for example, when he mocked the execution of Karla Faye Tucker) it can merely be explained as a dim bulb too unaware that his twisted behavior is completely inappropriate. When someone as intelligent as Rumsfeld brashly gloats about death, it must be assumed to be a calculated decision. It is very telling then, that Rumsfeld calculated the public would reward him for an open display of pathological behavior, and even more telling that, to his credit, he was clearly right.
More to his credit, Redrum can claim something few of the hawks on the right can: actual service in the US military. True, he never actually faced combat, but that was due to the fortune of serving as a Naval aviator in the years between Korea and Vietnam. Less can be said of the following pro-war Republicans: Shrub (who evaded Vietnam thanks to a fortunate opening in the National Guard, from which he quickly became AWOL without punishment), Donkey Dick (who, on the issue of Nam, said that he "had other priorities"), John Ashcroft, Trent Lott, Dan Quayle (who, like Shrub, got a lucky slot in the National Guard while his father was a resolutely pro-war Republican), Mr. Moral Virtue William Bennett, Pat Robertson, Tom DeLay, Saxby Chambliss (who got out of Vietnam with supposed bad knees, then attacked - in a successful Georgia Senate campaign this November - his incumbent opponent Max Cleland, a war hero who lost three limbs in a grenade explosion, on his supposed lack of patriotism) and Rush Limbaugh (who, most amusingly, received a medical deferment due to "anal cysts.") Indeed, the fact that the vast majority of supposedly patriotic pro-war right-wing Republicans ducked their opportunity to sacrifice their lives for their country has earned the entire class of armchair warriors the dubious nickname of "Chickenhawks" for their noted bravery.
(And it is interesting to note that the solitary veteran of war in the Shrub echelon is Powell, which probably explains why he is so ambivalent about war. After all, Powell, unlike the rest, knows the tragedy of seeing your friends die in battle and the misery which war causes firsthand.)
Chickenhawk he may be not, but a curious career he has had nonetheless. A key Nixon and Ford appointee, he served a term as Defense Secretary for fourteen months before Jimmy Carter took office. Then, in 1977, he became president and CEO of G. D. Searle for eight years, the pharmaceutical giant that later was swallowed up by the Monsanto empire. (One wonders what a chemical manufacturer would see in the benefits of hiring a former Defense Secretary to head their firm.) The most noted achievement of his reign at Searle was the successful push and approval for Aspartame, the toxic sugar substitute (it was originally classified as a biochemical warfare weapon by the Pentagon) whose critics rightfully call "Nutrapoison" for its negative effects. His other noted accomplishment during the Searle years: between November 1983 and May 1984, he was Ronald Reagan's special ambassador to the Middle East. During that period, Rummy personally met with Saddam Hussein, and was instrumental in the return of diplomatic relations between Iraq and the US. He did this while evidence was presented both in the UN and mainstream news sources that Iraq had used chemical weapons in its war with Iran (no word if Nutrasweet was among the weapons used.) Despite this unseemly fact, it didn't stop Redrum - or the entire Reagan-Bush team - from becoming friendly and supportive to a ruthless dictatorship it would only drop when it became expendable.
(Incredibly, Rummy and his cohorts now dare accuse people who oppose the attack on the Iraqi people, whose subjugation was promoted by the Reagan-Bush squad, as "lacking patriotism.")
After his years as the head of a chemical manufacturer, Rumsfeld became a regular shill for various korporations, but he mainly ducked the limelight like a vampire, aside from a 1998 open letter to Klinton he co-signed urging Slick Willie to "provide the leadership necessary to save ourselves and the world from the scourge of Saddam and the weapons of mass destruction that he refuses to relinquish," something which he and the Reagan-Bush Team specifically didn't do. Then, in September 2000, The Project for the New American Century published a manifesto, titled Rebuilding America's Defenses. Among the key pieces of the PNAC platform:
* Massive increases in defense spending, of at least $48 billion a year.
* Prolific increases in expensive weapon systems, including Star Wars and "bunker-buster" nuclear weapons.
* Rejection of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty.
* North Korea, Iran, Iraq (the future "Axis of Evil") were all specifically named as the top three threats to the US.
* On the plans of attacking Iraq, stated, "the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein
The founders of the PNAC include Donkey Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Rummy's Deputy Defense Secretary, Richard Perle, a major Shrub military advisor, I. Lewis Libby, Cheney's chief of staff, William Bennett (who took time off from his Virtue sermonizing to right a book titled Why We Fight after 9-11 - amusing, since in Vietnam, that's precisely what he didn't do) and Zalmay Khalilzad, the current US Ambassador to Afghanistan. And, of course, Rummy.
Perhaps the most telling statement in the whole bold manifesto was that, in order to achieve their stated goals, "the process of transformation is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor." Before 9-11, their entire agenda was not even in the ballpark of debate: now, it is conventional policy. In other words, thanks to what at best could be interpreted as the worst breakdown of intelligence and military defense in US history (one they publicly stated would be needed for their agenda), the entire team behind the breakdown was rewarded with their entire wish list as punishment. Which leads to the question: was it another Pearl Harbor, or another Reichstag?
Reichstag or no, the overtly militaristic agenda of the Redrum Pentagon is highly evident. Wolfowitz and Perle are two leading thinkers of the neo-con agenda, a hawkish group of primarily American Jews who desire a greater presence in the Middle East that would coincidentally help Israel's interest. Not so surprisingly, both Wolfowitz and Perle are Chickenhawks themselves.
So far, the war on Iraq hasn't gone as planned, and it has already failed to live up to the hype of a quick and painless war. And even if the war is eventually won (which presumes that neither Russia and China intervene for geopolitical reasons, that the Arab world doesn't unite against Great Satan, or that Saddam doesn't use any of those chemical and biological warfare weapons we insist he still has on American - oh, excuse me, "Coalition of the Willing" - troops) that is only part one of the adventure. More troublesome will be an occupation that would follow, an occupation that likely will mirror the story behind Black Hawk Down. And all this despite a shock-and-awe campaign that included massive destruction from what is referred to as MOAB (Mother Of All Bombs) explosions.
Already the war has had a particularly disturbing image for families with loved ones in the US military: images broadcast worldwide (courtesy of Al Jazeera) of American POWs being interrogated and of dead American soldiers, the victims captured and killed by Iraqi forces.
When the images were broadcast, Redrum quickly had a hissy fit, and whined that the images were a violation of the Geneva Convention. For once, Rumsfeld wasn't lying: indeed, the images were, point blank, a blatant violation. What was left unsaid by him was that the violations paled in comparison to the absolute contempt to the Geneva Convention showed by Rummy and forces under his command in Afghanistan. 300 POWs were shown airlifted out of Kabul, chained and with bags over their heads, a far greater visual humiliation than what took place by the forces of Saddam. 400 to 800 POWs were slaughtered in Mazar-i-Sharif in a gruesome display of callous mass murder. (Close to one thousand other prisoners were reportedly killed while cruelly being transported in air-tight containers.) And, in perhaps the most twisted display of contempt for the Geneva Convention, to date there are still numerous alleged Taliban and Al Qaeda captives (the labels switch around whenever they become convenient) held at Guantanamo, Cuba in Camp X-Ray, regularly dressed up in kinky gear that would be more fitting for a gay-porn S&M fantasy than a military camp. Besides the humiliation of being photographed in the get-up (exactly what Redrum was bitching about in the first place) they have been regularly beaten by teams of Army, FBI and CIA agents, with the constant threat of being shipped to countries with no silly laws prohibiting torture. All of which is something that would be expected from, say, Hannibal Lecter.
How will this all end? Rummy, if nothing else, desires being a winner, and no doubt he'll go to any cruel depth to achieve victory. Indeed, we suspect that the depth of his Beasthood has only begun to be hinted at.
In this case, however, Redrum and Shrub may win the battle but lose the bigger fight. After all, even with the possible takeover of Iraqi oil - whoops, we mean "the liberation of the Iraqi people" - this still could trigger into something worse. By not working with old allies like France and Germany or new ones like Russia, we have effectively blown all the goodwill we'd earn in the international community after another Pearl Harbor.
In the end, it should be no surprise that France, Germany and Russia are wary of our increasingly hostile warmongering. They've all seen it before, sixty years ago, when a guy named Hitler exploited tragedy and wrapped himself up in patriotism to lead the world head-first into a pit of bloodshed. That it is the forces under Dubya and Redrum (and not Saddam Hussein) who seem most like The Third Reich is pretty disturbing: the parallels between the pre-WWII years and now suggest that WWIII could indeed result. And as we already pointed out, sequels usually suck.
In any case, we salute Donald "Redrum" Rumsfeld as Beast of the Month. Congratulations, and keep up the great work, Donnie!!!
Prisoners of Hypocrisy
March 25, 2003
The Saddam in Rumsfeld's Closet
August 2, 2002
Bay of Pigs Meets Black Hawk Down
March 30, 2003
Various Articles, Dave McGowan
Davesweb ( http://cnchost.davesweb.com )
The Men Who Stole the Show
The New Hampshire Gazette Chickenhawk Database
Rebuilding America's Defenses
The Project for the New American Century
Hypocrites Of Washington Crying Foul
Paul Routledge The UK Mirror
March 24, 2003
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