By David Swanson
Ray McGovern wasn't aiming to make Donald Rumsfeld stutter and stammer like a kid caught cheating on a test when he asked him last week why he'd lied us into a war. That was just a side benefit. Ray wants answers, and he's taking his demand to Donald Rumsfeld's house in Washington, D.C.
On Thursday, May 18, a large coalition of groups is planning to deliver to the White House all the signatures and comments posted on a petition at http://www.DontAttackIran.org As the name of the site suggests, the petition simply asks the President and Vice President not to launch another aggressive attack on foreign soil an attack that would necessarily be promoted with lies, lies that are already being spread by the Bush administration.
Numerous peace groups that have promoted the petition will join together with a "Pray-In" in Lafayette Square Park, in front of the White House, an event being held by the Network of Spiritual Progressives. Remarks made by various leaders between 1 and 3 p.m., possibly including Members of Congress, will focus on a positive vision of how our nation might promote peace and justice rather than the destruction and suffering our policies currently generate.
Toward the end of the event, at approximately 2:30 p.m., Cindy Sheehan will lead us in delivering the petition and signatures and comments to the White House. And at 3 p.m. we will head off on a march to Donald Rumsfeld's house, with Ray McGovern leading the way.
Our demand to Rumsfeld: Why did you lie?
This is where the focus on Rumsfeld should be. He must be driven out of office, but not because he's an unpleasant micromanager, not because he didn't use enough young Americans to kill more Iraqis faster.
No, he needs to go for the same reasons Bush and Cheney need to go: he helped to launch an illegal war based on lies, has committed a wide variety of war crimes during the war, and has sanctioned detentions without charge and torture.
Here are some of Rumsfeld's most memorable statements for which he must answer. (These are taken from "Oil, Power, and Empire" by Larry Everest. http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/bodyguard )
"Of course, this conjures up Winston Churchill's famous phrase when he said --don't quote me on this, okay? I don't want to be quoted on this, so don't quote me. He said 'sometimes the truth is so precious it must be accompanied by a bodyguard of lies.'"
--Donald Rumsfeld, US Department of Defense Briefing, September 25, 2001
The New York Times, on September 27, 2002, wrote:
"Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said today that American intelligence had 'bulletproof' evidence of links between Al Qaeda and the government of President Saddam Hussein of Iraq. Mr. Rumsfeld said that recently declassified intelligence reports about suspected ties between Al Qaeda and the Iraqi government, including the presence of senior members of Al Qaeda in Baghdad in 'recent periods,' were 'factual' and 'exactly accurate.'
The Los Angeles Times, on April 20, 2003, wrote of Iraqi scientists' claims that there were no WMD to be found: "In fact the scientists' denials come despite the pressure that the U.S is putting on them. Rumsfeld announced that the US will pay a reward to anyone providing evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and he has threatened Iraqi scientists that if they don't cooperate they would be taken to a detention facility for interrogation and ultimately could be charged with war crimes."
Congressman Henry Waxman has created a database of Bush Administration lies. It includes 52 misleading statements by Donald Rumsfeld, searchable by topic, and documented with both their source and an explanation of why they are misleading. Some highlights are below, and the database is here: http://democrats.reform.house.gov/IraqOnTheRecord/
"We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat."
Source: This Week with George Stephanopolous, ABC (3/30/2003).
"We said they had a nuclear program. That was never any debate."
Source: This Week with George Stephanopoulos, ABC (7/13/2003).
"Now people are saying, "Well, why haven't we found anything?" And I would respond by saying, A, it's going take some time, and B, we have found things. The CIA very recently, I believe, issued a declassified document on their website, where someone can actually go and find photographs and data that discusses these mobile laboratories, which are precisely what Secretary Powell talked about to the United Nations."
Source: Town Hall Meeting with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Infinity-CBS Radio (5/29/2003).