Should Donald Rumsfeld be formally charged for his lie confirming WMD in Iraq, or does he simply owe the USA an apology?
In case anyone was wondering why Bush and Cheney only do Fox News interviews, observe Rumsfeld's book tour. Obviously, there were no signings for protesters to attend, but a raft of talk show hosts confronted Rumsfeld with direct challenges about pre-war lies and the new ones in his book.
Why Donald Rumsfeld went on shows like the Opie & Anthony Show is beyond me - he was ridiculed live on satellite radio by NY comic Louis C.K. who asked
repeatedly if Rumsfeld was an alien lizard that eats Mexican babies.
But beyond the yuks, Rumsfeld's image rehab took him to The View where Barbara Walters asked him twice to apologize for some 4,400 unnecessary deaths in the Iraq War. When NBC's Andrea Mitchell accused him of selectively "stovepiping" intel, he pretended not to know what the term meant, and was subsequently caught on tape saying it himself.
At The Daily Show
, Jon Stewart told Rumsfeld
his level of arrogance in being wrong made it particularly difficult to swallow the debt and economic losses of this war. The somber, reflective moments between the nervous joking were awkward and I saw young viewers groan, learning how many facts Rumsfeld now casually acknowledges after selling us on the opposite. Tellingly, right wing bloggers thought the morose, awkward pauses meant Rumsfeld schooled everyone so badly they fell silent.
In his defense, Rumsfeld again leaned heavily on Colin Powell, as if he hadn't just heard Powell call for an investigation last week
, with others in the State Department affirming they were set up by Cheney, Scooter Libby and the OVP.
Powell's Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson recently told
MSNBC viewers for the first time of a WINPAC faction "deep within the bowels" of the CIA who, according to agency documentation, witnesses and published accounts, withheld admonitions about Curveball being unreliable from Powell and his staff.
Jon Stewart asked Rumsfeld how he could today just shrug and blame Powell and the intelligence community after they has pled Bush excise Curveball from his State of the Union speech. Rumsfeld claimed Congress also believed, though they were already held accountable and summarily voted out in 2006, primarily for this reason.
Rumsfeld's website offers today documents that were never shared before, but none of which prove any imminent threat or WMD. There is however, a lot of slippery language, for example saying Saddam "had the capability" to create chemical weapons (as does any pharmacist).
He's not fooling anyone - there were coordinated protests all over the country. The press, our international allies and UN weapons inspectors all publicly doubted the stated reasons for the war. So it was hard to stomach Rumsfeld playing cute.
Candy Crowley asked
Rumsfeld point blank why the "Curveball is unreliable" part of the intel was taken out of the case for war. Rumsfeld evaded answering like an old pro, saying there were "other reasons" for the war in the US authorization and UN resolutions. Crowley made Rumsfeld acknowledge WMD was the main reason, and was "flat wrong", but Rumsfeld said he still felt they would find WMD for months and months -- without explaining why in the world he believed that. He says today the real mistake was using the threat of WMD to justify the war. No duh.
Sadly, the network whitewash of the most damning allegations leaked about Rumsfeld were not even raised, notably Sy Hersh's source who claimed covert "Operation Copper Green" came off the desk of Rumsfeld's Undersecretary Stephen Cambone, greenlighting torture and sexual humiliation by black ops.
Going back to a widely missed PBS-TV interview with Colonel Wilkerson, we heard how Cheney and the OVP were pressuring CIA agents to redo reports till they justified invasion. Years later, the same principals would crap all over the intelligence community, commissioning the Silbermann-Robb report which surmised lower-level intelligence agencies were somehow to blame for the war. This prompted several to release memoirs showing how they were right from the start but were suppressed in the halls of power and helped by propaganda
broadcasts by richly rewarded "friendlies" at Fox News like Sean Hannity.
Piecing together the memoirs from CIA European Division director Tyler Drumheller and August Helland, the head of the German BND, we now know George Tenet and his Deputy John McLoughlin were the firewall for the high-profile members of the White House Iraq Group who "never got the memo" that Curveball was wholly unreliable.
This today provides the pathetic excuses we see offered by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice, yet none of them are calling for further probes like Powell.
Bush has said the Iraq War intel was his greatest regret, but has never been asked publicly about a a briefing delivered to him in the Oval Office, prepared by Drumheller, whose undercover asset Naji Sabri
witnessed first hand the disarray of Saddam's weapons labs. For gathering reliable intelligence on WMD, Drumheller was discredited and blamed.
Ever civil, Jon Stewart reminded Rumsfeld that he was wrong, he was accountable, and that today "taken as a whole" saying he wasn't "CC'd" is a simply unacceptable excuse. Rumsfeld is not apologizing or admitting anything, most likely becuase the legal doctrine of "command responsibility" holds a superior liable for crimes committed by subordinates when they knew or should have known that they were being committed but fails to take reasonable measures to stop them.
Rumsfeld's Biggest Lie
But it is an appearance on the Alan Colmes radio program in which perhaps the most crucial media crime happened, in which Rumsfeld tries to be slick with language in hiding his direct culpability.
Right out of the gate, Colmes asked about the Obama administration refusing to defend Rumsfeld any longer in the torture case of Jose Padilla which seems headed for the Supreme Court. Obama's support of what was done to Padilla seems to be be waning, yet taxpayers will still be paying thousands per day for Rumsfeld's private lawyers Lee Casey and David Rivkin (who believes detainees welcome waterboarding because it breaks the "oppressive monotony" of the prison cell).
Rumsfeld shrugged off the Padilla question, saying he doesn't worry about these type of bothersome court proceedings.
Colmes next asked about botched pre-war intel and Rumsfeld cited "hundreds" and "thousands" of sources of information that we never originally saw, now posted on his website where a wholly different case is made to paint Saddam Hussein as a genocidal dictator instead of an "imminent threat" or al Qaeda collaborator.
But then, Colmes, also remaining polite to the former Secretary of Defense, asked about a specific TV interview on the 11th day of the war with George Stephanopoulos in which Rumsfeld said of alleged WMD: "We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat."
About six months later, he said publicly "I should have said, 'I believe they're in that area", but still did not share why he even would "believe" this.
Rumsfeld admitted these sites were "suspected" as reported to him but confirmed as he related to us. Therein lies the lie, about halfway through this audio clip you can hear it yourself.
Frustrated by the skeptical press, he put his word on the line, his credibility, using his power and position to ram the decision through, forcing us to trust him despite his inability to analyze the intel. But like Powell, like Bush, like Libby, the lies were based on evidence that we have learned was impeached at the time.
Even Megyn Kelly of Fox News acknowledged how many believe the Bush Iraq team deliberately lied which, if established, constitute domestic or international war crimes. Since 2006, Rumsfeld had been named in torture indictments in German courts but they were quashed by the Bush administration.
Since that, legal proceedings for criminal prosecution of Bush war crimes has come from London, Italy, and Switzerland with Rumsfeld specifically accused by name in Spain and France. It was Reagan himself that signed the US into international anti-torture treaties, providing other countries the power to prosecute signatory states whose home governments refuse.
Here in the US, we see a continuing whitewash in media that will not confront or report on members of Bush's cabinet suspected of war crimes, despite testimony given by Army officials like brigadier general Janis Karpinski who claims first hand knowledge that Rumsfeld approved harsh methods involving "dogs, food deprivation and sleep deprivation".
Bob Woodward called Rumsfeld's book a "blame everyone else" cop out, but it will probably take years before Rumsfeld admits the truth. Following the tradition of Robert MacNamara who admitted the first shots in the Vietnam War were faked, we might have to wait till Rumsfeld is in his 80s before he confesses he lied. Meanwhile, his story is ironic and sad - it was everyone else's fault - for trusting him at his word!