FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Rumsfeld Spills the Ink

by PATRICK IRELAN

Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution took a slight hit as a result of the December 2, 2007, constitutional referendum. The measures proposed by President Hugo Chávez would have ended term limits for the office of president, provided pensions for service workers such as maids and cab drivers, and given other benefits to poor and working-class people. Chávez expressed his regrets, but graciously acknowledged the 1.4 percent margin of defeat.

But former Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld may have suffered the biggest loss. Fearing certain defeat for his wealthy Venezuelan friends, Rumsfeld stayed up all night to bang out a piece for the op-ed page of the Washington Post, December 2, 2007. The headline writer called the composition “The Smart Way to Beat Tyrants Like Chávez.” The article really wasn’t needed, though, because the referendum failed to collect a majority of “Si” votes. Rummy and one of his friends like Wolfie or Condi could have turned off the computer and played another game of eight ball.

Rumsfeld’s unneeded op-ed spectacle goes straight to work in the first sentence. A victory for the constitutional referendum could “obliterate the few remaining vestiges of Venezuelan democracy.” Dropping active verbs like smart bombs, Rummy predicts that Chávez and his referendum will “dismantle” the constitution, “silence” opposing media, and, worst of all, “confiscate” private property.

Not content with all that, according to Rumsfeld, Chávez has threatened drug-ridden Columbia by offering to mediate with “Marxist terrorists.” Your average South American country doesn’t have a sufficient number of Islamic terrorists to warrant a surge, but Bogotá grows enough Marxist terrorists to keep Rummy, Wolfie, Condi, and Rove embedded with the Marines for as long as they want.

At this point, the effects of Rummy’s long night without sleep begin to obliterate the article. The twin-thrill of confiscation and Marxist terrorism gets forgotten in “institutions designed for a different era.” We have “too few tools” in the neoconservative workshop. And Congress has gone to sleep with the Colombian free trade agreement in its fat lap, although Rummy, Wolfie, Condi, etc., don’t make a very good case, or any case at all, for how free trade would satisfy both the cab drivers in Caracas and the Marxist terrorists in Bogotá.

And you can’t even begin to get your waterboard into the surf before Rummy’s article goes off on a continental tangent with the Truman administration’s still-extant “institutional framework,” which includes NATO, the United Nations, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, all of which have brought us heaven on earth, although some people in Venezuela don’t seem to know it. Then, just when you’re about to catch your breath, both Rummy and Truman give you still more “institutional framework” with the CIA, the Defense Department, the National Security Council, and (holy crap) the Voice of America.

All that, in one paragraph, has not kept the article from drifting off southward from Tierra del Fuego until it makes icefall along the Bellingshausen Sea, where all the penguins in Antarctica couldn’t prevent Rummy from going where he goes next. He’s only a third of the way into his article, and he’s forgot all about Hugo Chávez.

But you can’t stop a Rumsfeld once he gets his stick on the ice, although it might occur to the concerned reader at this point that the guy may need professional help, because his article is suddenly off and skating with weapons of mass destruction, “entrenched bureaucracies,” Afghanistan, Iraq, al-Qaeda, the Soviet Union, the information age, blogs, cellphones, and the “endemic inertia and corruption” and other evils that threaten to melt both the United Nations and the entire “free world” (what a quaint term in the age of Rummy, Wolfie, Condi, and Rove).

After leaving the first one-third of the article and heading off across the Southern Ocean, Rummy’s plodding dirge mentions the alleged subject of the piece only one more time. Without slowing down for whales or anything else, Captain Ahab Rumsfeld orders Queequeg to unload a quiver of harpoons at “aspiring despots such as Chávez.”

By this point, the reader has noticed how Rumsfeld strings neocon clichés together in a way that reveals both his stupidity and his criminality. He has no idea what a caricature he presents. He’ll roll on forever without regard for anyone but himself, and maybe occasionally his fellow hit men.

Then off he sails toward Antarctica, where, according to recent reports, the white whale is waiting.

PATRICK IRELAN is a retired high-school teacher. He is the author of A Firefly in the Night (Ice Cube Press) and Central Standard: A Time, a Place, a Family (University of Iowa Press).

 

 

More articles by:
June 27, 2016
Robin Hahnel
Brexit: Establishment Freak Out
James Bradley
Omar’s Motive
Gregory Wilpert – Michael Hudson
How Western Military Interventions Shaped the Brexit Vote
Leonard Peltier
41 Years Since Jumping Bull, 500 Years of Trauma
Rev. William Alberts
Orlando: the Latest Victim of Radicalizing American Imperialism
Patrick Cockburn
Brexiteers Have Much in Common With Arab Spring Protesters
Franklin Lamb
How 100 Syrians, 200 Russians and 11 Dogs Out-Witted ISIS and Saved Palmyra
John Grant
Omar Mateen: The Answers are All Around Us
Dean Baker
In the Wake of Brexit Will the EU Finally Turn Away From Austerity?
Ralph Nader
The IRS and the Self-Minimization of Congressman Jason Chaffetz
Gordon Smith
Goodbye UK, Goodbye Great Britain: What Next?
Martha Pskowski
Detained in Dilley: Deportation and Asylum in Texas
stclair
Headaches of Empire: Brexit’s Effect on the United States
Dave Lindorff
Honest Election System Needed to Defeat Ruling Elite
Louisa Willcox
Delisting Grizzly Bears to Save the Endangered Species Act?
Jason Holland
The Tragedy of Nothing
Jeffrey St. Clair
Revolution Reconsidered, Guest Starring Bernard Sanders in the Role of Robespierre
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
A Blow for Peace and Democracy: Why the British Said No to Europe
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lines Written on the Occasion of Bernie Sanders’ Announcement of His Intention to Vote for Hillary Clinton
Norman Pollack
Fissures in World Capitalism: the British Vote
Paul Bentley
Mercenary Logic: 12 Dead in Kabul
Binoy Kampmark
Parting Is Such Sweet Joy: Brexit Prevails!
Elliot Sperber
Show Me Your Papers: Supreme Court Legalizes Arbitrary Searches
Jan Oberg
The Brexit Shock: Now It’s All Up in the Air
Nauman Sadiq
Brexit: a Victory for Britain’s Working Class
Brian Cloughley
Murder by Drone: Killing Taxi Drivers in the Name of Freedom
Ramzy Baroud
How Israel Uses Water as a Weapon of War
Brad Evans – Henry Giroux
The Violence of Forgetting
Ben Debney
Homophobia and the Conservative Victim Complex
Margaret Kimberley
The Orlando Massacre and US Foreign Policy
David Rosen
Americans Work Too Long for Too Little
Murray Dobbin
Do We Really Want a War With Russia?
Kathy Kelly
What’s at Stake
Louis Yako
I Have Nothing “Newsworthy” to Report this Week
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail