They say that history is written by the winners. But what if you wage a war that nobody wins?
That’s the Iraq War (also the Afghan war). Everybody lost (except maybe Iran and Israel) and continues to lose, 20 years later, as a defeated America fitfully attempts an ignominious, dangerous, but better-late-than-never withdrawal.
One of the chief architects of both of these forever-losing Perma Wars, as well as the post-9/11 War on Terror and Worldwide Web of Torture surrounding them, passed away on June 29th, 2021, and on the occasion of former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s death, I am mourning the victims of his war crimes.
As for him: Good riddance to Bad Rummy.
While he departed this life in peace, at the ripe, old, unrepentant age of 88, surrounded by loved ones and luxuries, his hundreds of thousands of innocent victims were often blown apart or fried alive in a state of war that he helped create, fan and maniacally micro-manage.
At the turn of the 21st century, Rumsfeld was one of America’s leading “chickenhawks”—draft dodgers and battle-duckers who later in life advocate for pointless wars—such as Donald Trump, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, Paul Wolfowitz, Mitch McConnell, Bill Clinton, Joe Biden and the list goes on. I have nothing against draft dodgers—some of my favorite people have refused to serve the Military-Industrial Complex (MIC)—unless you dodge the draft when you’re young, only to actively support a war when you’re old. That’s one of the worst sorts of warmongers, and that’s the sort of warmonger Rummy was, though he wasn’t even brave enough to be a draft dodger; he was a battle-ducker, serving three years in the U.S. Navy between wars, nattily sporting the uniform but neatly avoiding the combat into which he would later send thousands of troops.
We peaceniks tried to stop those wars, especially the Iraq invasion. Back in 2003—after spending over a year busting up beautiful Afghanistan while failing to find Osama—Rummy, Bush, Dick and the other ammosexual neocons amped up their threats to “preemptively” invade Iraq. It was a ridiculous, reprehensible idea, and there was a long bombastic build-up, so we antiwar activists had time to roll out the biggest pre-war international peace protest ever. Like most rational humans at the time, we knew Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11 and figured he didn’t have any Weapons of Mass Destruction either. After all, the Braggart of Baghdad was as dishonest as Rummy, the kind of dude who crows he has 10 inches, when he only has two. Besides, various inspectors had concluded that Saddam’s much ballyhooed WMD just didn’t exist.
But Donald Rumsfeld insisted they did. On March 30th, 2003, the wily Secretary famously assured the American people, “We know where they are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.”
Turns out he was “somewhat” full of shit.
He always was. As a U.S. special envoy sent to Baghdad by Ronald Reagan during the Iraq/Iran conflict, a middle-aged Rumsfeld shook hands with Saddam Hussein to reassure him that America was his ally. Then America bombed him and his country. A decade of crippling sanctions later, we bombed them again and again.
You don’t have to have liked Saddam—and no, although the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto nicknamed me “Saddam’s Sex Therapist” for daring to call the invasion “The Rape of Iraq,” I never *liked* Saddam—to see that the U.S. dramatically betrayed him and the people of Iraq.
Of course, the U.S. often betrays our allies; just ask the Kurds, the Chinese, the Russians, all the Native American tribes whose treaties we broke, and the list goes on. However, our betrayal of Iraq was remarkably blatant, and Chummy Rummy was at the center of it, the glad-handing symbol of America’s shameless mendacity, square-jawed stupidity and massively destructive betrayal.
Rumsfeld was also the Torture King of the “Theater of Cruelty” (with a beret tip to Antonin Artaud) playing daily and nightly at the Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib prison multiplexes, among other lesser known venues.
I don’t know if Rumsfeld was into consensual BDSM in his personal life. Somehow I doubt it as he didn’t seem to have had the patience to negotiate consent. Besides, he was too busy fulfilling his prodigious, nonconsensual, sadistic desires via his very own government-sponsored torture program.
Sure, Bush and Dick also endorsed and seemed to relish the sadistic (and largely ineffective) torture techniques supervised by the American Psychological Association (APA), including the notorious POW Porn. As Delta Kappa Epsilon President at Yale, Bush presided over hazing new pledges with red-hot coat hanger brandings that would make NXIVM hold his beer.
However, Rummy loved torture as much as any in the Frat House White House. Always the attentive apparatchik, he took charge of the tiniest details, obviously savoring this part of his job. He even signed a torture memo approving four-hour stress positions, boastfully scrawling, “However, I stand for 8-12 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours?”
I’m sure Mr. Torture King’s “8-12” would have included plenty of “known” and “unknown” breaks never granted to those hapless detainees. Nevertheless, for the slippery Secretary, lying came as easily as breathing. Maybe that’s why he thought waterboarding might work (it didn’t).
The ease with which the dashing Don Juan of the Pentagon lied about the wars, the terror(!) and the torture laid the groundwork for Don the Con of the Trump Crime Family to ascend to the top spot of U.S. Liar-in-Chief.
What is it about these arrogant, dishonest, narcissistic, sadistic creeps named “Donald”? Of course, Donald Trumpty Dumpty isn’t smooth like the debonair Donald Rumsfeld. That was the problem. While the mainstream media (MSM) does pump up the tRump, it can also be fairly critical of him. But rakish Rummy wrapped those so-called journalists around his lying little pinkie.
That was his all-important unassigned task in Dubya and Dick’s Frat House White House. While the Prez was a faith-based C-student and the Veep was a snarling misanthrope, the suave Secretary of Defense could schmooze the MSM like Casanova seducing a panting novice.
Poised between one humongous military flop in Afghanistan and another about to happen in Iraq, that rascal Rummy spouted distracting ditties about “known knowns… known unknowns [and] unknown unknowns,” and the besotted MSM slurped it all up like the spunk-swallowing hookers-for-the-rich that they are.
They just couldn’t get enough of their honey Rummy; they bought his deadly bullshit and then force-fed it to us, the American people… similar to the way Rummy’s merry band of torturers subjected (and are still subjecting) detainees to anal food rape. Though on the MSM menu were Rumsfeld’s half-baked lies, mixed with Dubya’s privileged malapropisms and Cheney’s icy evil, pureed into strained toxic baloney and force-fed to the American people directly through our war-traumatized ears and eyeballs.
It was then that it dawned on me: the MSM really loves war. Oh, I’d heard that old maxim, “if it bleeds, it leads,” but I couldn’t imagine how readily the venerable fourth estate would parrot proven falsehoods to sell papers—until Dubya, Dick and Rummy’s Wild Afghan and Iraqi Adventures.
It was often the Defense Secretary’s catchy, convoluted quotes making those headlines, stoking two awful wars and keeping them going for the great financial benefit of the MSM and the MIC, and to hell with those fake WMD. Who cared about them anyway? It wasn’t about truth or even winning those wars. All that mattered was that all the piggies were feeding at the war trough… except the American people.
Not to mention the Iraqi people whose hundreds of thousands (at least) of needless casualties, aka “collateral damage,” often go unmentioned in counting the dead for this monstrous war crime.
One of Rumsfeld’s malevolent skills was in making the abject horrors of imperialist invasion, occupation and torture “sexy,” as Tony Blair might say. As a bonoboësque, make-love–not-war sexologist, I see all of that as the opposite of sexy. But for sadists, military romance buffs or reactionaries longing for a lost swashbuckling white supremacist patriarchy, it’s the stuff of wet dreams, a hot wartime fling featuring raffish Rummy as the gracefully aging leading man. Indeed, People Magazine named this foul war criminal the “Sexiest Man Alive.” Fox dubbed him a “Beltway Babe Magnet.” But the most lovesick loo-loo was CNN’s Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr, breathlessly calling Yummy Rummy Honey a “big flirty pussycat… who exercises absolutely raw ruthless power and enjoys it.”
Thanks in part to his talent for flirting with sexually repressed Pentagon correspondents, the big flirty pussycat’s war crimes ballooned, wasting billions of dollars and crushing millions of lives.
In 2006, after Rummy the Dummy was finally hounded out of office, the disgraced but unindicted former Secretary acquired a vacation home on Maryland’s Eastern shore called Mount Misery. How could anyone call their home “Misery,” much less purchase a property with that name? Apparently, Mount Misery was the plantation of notorious “slave breaker,” Edward Covey, who took on the most rebellious slaves from other plantations and then “broke” them (or tried to) by inflicting the worst possible tortures. One of those slaves happened to be a strong-willed young man that even Covey couldn’t break. His name was Frederick Douglass and, after surviving Mount Misery, he escaped to freedom and became one of America’s greatest abolitionists, orators and statesmen, pretty much the opposite of the miserable creature that died on June 29th.
It’s just a tiny thread in the sticky web of twisted evil that was Donald Rumsfield. Nevertheless, it’s notable that one of the masterminds of the U.S. War on Terror torture program bought himself a vacation house—a place where he could feel at home—so identified with torture, it has pain in its name.
Rot in Piss, Rummy.