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Yes, Virginia, There is a Rumsfeld


On a trip to Fairbanks to participate in a ceremony for a memorial of the Alaska-Siberia Lend Lease program, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld spoke with families of the 172nd Striker Brigade, a unit of 3,800 troops. About 300 American soldiers from the unit have already returned home. The others remain in Iraq, serving a one-year tour which was supposed to end soon. Those still in Iraq will see their tours extended by at least 120 days and many of the troops already home will redeploy to Iraq. They are needed to quell the violence in Baghdad.

During the flight to Alaska, the secretary of defense was questioned by reporters about the effect of this action on the troops. The arrogant Rumsfeld responded, “These people are all volunteers. They signed up. They all are there doing what they’re doing because they want to do it.”

Rumsfeld would make no promises that the brigade will be home for the holidays. “I’d love to be Santa Claus. I’m not,” he told the reporters.

But he is.

Rumsfeld represents a lie as big as the one that makes children all over the world behave during the month of December. He, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and George Bush sold to the American public a Christmas-size whopper after the attacks of 9/11, propaganda that allowed the Bush Administration to invade and occupy a country that had no ties to al-Qaeda.

To our troops Donald Rumsfeld might as well be singing:

You should’ve known
You volunteered
Suck it up. Be a man
What’s another couple of years?
Rummy Claus is coming to town
Your spouse will be fine
And buy the children a pup
You’re doing what you want
Or you wouldn’t have signed up
Rummy Claus is coming to town

Rumsfeld is sending a musical message from the White House: “You better watch out!”

“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. Don’t sit on his lap though. You might find that you’ve enlisted and will soon be on an airplane headed to Iraq.”

Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She’s written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she’s a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,’05, she has been writing political articles. She can be reached at:



Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail:

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