Death of a war criminal, but not of the war

Debra Sweet | July 1, 2021

rumsfeldDonald Rumsfeld was a cunning unapologetic political/military operative in the US government's global machine of aggressive war-making. His death is no loss to humanity.

But it should cause an evaluation of the role he and his partners in war crimes - members of the Bush regime - played in launching the on-going war of terror on people in the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan/Pakistan and beyond, and of the on-going efforts to stop these crimes.

As Bush’s “Defense” Secretary, Rumsfeld led in spreading the lies that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and was responsible for 9/11. He said the US war on Iraq would be over in 5 months. He said the destruction of Fallujah would not “stop without being completed," and that "Innocent civilians in that city have all the guidance they need as to how they can avoid getting into trouble.”

More than 100 prisoners were killed via torture on his watch, including at Bagram AFB in Afghanistan and Abu Ghraib in Iraq.  He signed a memo on Dec. 2, 2002 authorizing 20-hour interrogations, removal of clothing, the use of phobias, and stress positions for up to four hours. Note his handwriting at bottom: "However, I stand for 8-10 hours A day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours?"

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A good memory: In 2006, Ray McGovern confronted Rumsfeld in this memorable incident.

But... what happens when war criminals are not driven from office or even charged with crimes? They keep it up.

This week, Biden became the sixth U.S. president to bomb Iraq. (GHW Bush, Clinton, GW Bush, Obama, Trump, Biden). Biden sent F-16 bombers to strike facilities in Iraq used by so-called "Iranian backed" militia who were part of the US/Iraq coalition to stop ISIS in Iraq. The militias are funded now by the government of Iraq, and reportedly have been using drones to attack US convoys in Iraq. They have been trying to force the US leave Iraq, which is what the last four US presidents said was the plan.

A complicated situation we can lay at the feet of the US aggression against Iraq beginning in 1990. Next week, we'll talk about the US "withdrawal" from Afghanistan.