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Pluto's Been Demoted.....Why Not Rumsfeld?

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Mistletoe Angel
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0 posted 08-30-2006 12:30 AM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel


Rumsfeld Lashes Out at Bush's Critics
Tuesday August 29, 2006 9:31 PM

AP Military Writer

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (AP) - Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Tuesday the world faces ``a new type of fascism'' and likened critics of the U.S. war strategy to those who tried to appease the Nazis.

In unusually explicit terms, Rumsfeld portrayed the Bush administration's critics as suffering from ``moral or intellectual confusion'' about what threatens the nation's security. His remarks amounted to one of his most pointed defenses of President Bush' war policies and was among his toughest attacks on the president's critics.

Speaking to several thousand veterans at the American Legion's national convention, Rumsfeld recited what he called the lessons of history, including the failure to confront Hitler in the 1930s. He quoted Winston Churchill as observing that trying to accommodate Hitler was ``a bit like feeding a crocodile, hoping it would eat you last.''

``I recount this history because once again we face similar challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism,'' he said.

``Can we truly afford to believe that somehow, some way, vicious extremists can be appeased?'' he asked.

``Can we truly afford to return to the destructive view that America - not the enemy - is the real source of the world's troubles?''

Rumsfeld spoke to the American Legion as part of a coordinated White House strategy, in advance of the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, to take the offensive against administration critics at a time of doubt about the future of Iraq and growing calls to withdraw U.S. troops.

Rumsfeld recalled a string of recent terrorist attacks, from 9/11 to deadly bombings in Bali, London and Madrid, and said it should be obvious to anyone that terrorists must be confronted, not appeased.

``But some seem not to have learned history's lessons,'' he said, adding that part of the problem is that the American news media have tended to emphasize the negative rather than the positive.

He said, for example, that more media attention was given to U.S. soldiers' abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib than to the fact that Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith received the Medal of Honor.

He did acknowledge that the U.S. military has its own ``bad actors - the ones who dominate the headlines today - who don't live up to the standards of the oath and of our country.'' But he added that they are a small percentage of the hundreds of thousands of troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

``Those who know the truth need to speak out against these kinds of myths and lies and distortions being told about our troops and about our country,'' he said.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was addressing the American Legion convention later Tuesday, and Bush is scheduled to speak here later in the week. On Monday, Vice President Dick Cheney and Rumsfeld made separate addresses to the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Reno, Nev.

Rumsfeld made similar arguments in Reno about doubters of the administration's approach to fighting terrorism, saying too many in this country want to ``blame America first'' and ignore the enemy.

Rumsfeld's remarks ignited angry rebukes from Democrats.

``It's a political rant to cover up his incompetence,'' said Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., a former Army officer and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Reed said he took particular exception to the implication that critics of Pentagon policies are unpatriotic, citing ``scores of patriotic Americans of both parties who are highly critical of his handling of the Department of Defense.''

Rep. John Murtha, the hawkish Pennsylvania Democrat who voted in favor of the war but recently called for troops to withdraw, said in a statement: ``It's interesting to me that they generalize the support for the war. They're not realistic with the fact that there's no progress.''

Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., chimed in that Rumsfeld's remarks were trying to ``shoot the messenger'' rather than examine failed policy.

Rumsfeld defended the war in Iraq, saying that while U.S. military tactics have changed as conditions on the ground have changed, the administration's war strategy has remained constant: ``to empower the Iraqi people to defend, govern and rebuild their own country.''

In arguing against giving up in Iraq, he said people should know from history that wars are never easy.

``You know from experience that in every war - personally - there have been mistakes and setbacks and casualties,'' he said. ``War is,'' as Clemenceau said, `A series of catastrophes that results in victory.''



Firstly, in response to him suggesting that war critics don't value history, I realize wide awake that we're less than three months away from another grim milestone; the moment where the war in Iraq is about to go on longer than World War II. That alone should tell you something. The historical comparison he draws up lacks so much credibility it almost seems to suggest that if he were Secretary of Defense during the Roosevelt Era, he would have recommended invading China in response to the Pearl Harbor bombings.

Secondly, this administration has continuously re-branded the war in Iraq with new, evolving excuses, where each one is so lame it has its own expiration date and is then stamped with a whole new re-written one. First it was about weapons of mass destruction, yet none were found. Secondly it all a sudden became about establishing elections (though it was initially opposed until Grand Ayatollah Sistani demanded them). Then it was about spreading freedom throughout the Middle East, and now it appears it's about stopping a new wave of fascism.

The bottom line regarding my second point is thatthis whole war, especially at the initial stage of the occupation, has been driven immensely by neoconservative ideology, not careful preparation and a clear understanding of the issues these people face each day of their lives. Perle, Wolfowitz and other neoconservatives have been blueprinting this "long war" in the Middle East since even before Clinton's time, and that's precisely why the "Axis of Evil" label is no accident, as they aspire to expand the pre-emptive military strike campaign, nor why Colin Powell was portrayed as out of place to the administration and why Condoleeza Rice may be moving toward that fate as well after her pushes for a ceasefire that put her at odds with other administration officials.

And finally, yes, I do absolutely agree with Rumsfeld on one point; that there are always acts of kindness and good that happen on the most local and community levels in every military conflict that do absolutely deserve and should get reported along with the negative in the general sense. I actually read a most touching story last Thursday about an Army special forces doctor by the name of Colonel Warner Anderson, who had been in Iraq in 2003 with the 352nd Civil Affairs Command, and his wife, Ruth Macias de Anderson, a registered nurse, finding a 3-year old deaf Iraqi girl named Amina, and then arranging to have her flown to the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine, where they gave her this cochlear implant that allows her to hear because it turns sound into electrical impulses that activate the hearing nerve. That story made me cry and touched me so because it is moving and inspirational, and when I produced the KBOO News last Friday, I ran that story, and some were criticizing me of running it because they thought it was taking the war lightly, but I 100% defend running it because I believe 99.9% of our troops do wonderful things that deserve to be honored and applauded, such as helping re-open schools and hospitals, despite the terrible things war does overall to humanity, and both sides should be reported in my opinion.

But the bottom line is, in the general and larger sense, this war is a disaster, costing the American tax-payer over $1,075 per person and growing, diverting our attention away from the basic American necessities such as health care, education and flood and hurricane management, and frankly, with the nation in the mild beginning stages of a civil war, Iran has more influence in Iraq than ever before, probably more than we currently do.

Rumsfeld is an absolute embarrassment, and his words are an insult to the 60% of Americans who disapprove of the handling of this war, which include both pragmatist pacifists like myself, as well as conservatives who are quite the opposite of pacifist such as William Buckley, George Will and Chuck Hagel who have been criticizing as well.

Our troops have been working very hard down there, and now they're virtually on their guard at all times alone down there, without any assurance of when that light at the end of the tunnel for this mission is due. They deserve more than that. The first-ever ground poll conducted in Iraq made up entirely of servicemen and servicewomen from Zogby International on February 28th of this year revealed that 72% of them polled believe we must leave either now or within the next 6-12 months. Six months have passed, still no response.

They deserve better, and we deserve better than this calculated dissent-bashing from Rumsfeld and others. Frankly, I feel that with Cheney, Tony Snow and others doing likewise recently almost strikes me as though they actually believe anti-war protesters and Democrats are just as bad as the terrorists sometimes, and I find that most heartbreaking.

As far as I see it, the troops have already done what they were told to do and have done their job. They were asked to take out Hussein's loyalists, and they did so in two weeks with minimal casualties. Then we asked them to help build the foundation for an election process, and they did that. And now this administration has left our troops vulnerable out there, often in the middle of 120 degree heat, stuck tirelessly at great risk.

The best thing we can continue to do at this point, and also advance freedom and democracy in the Middle East, is to redeploy, and let democracy take its course, for I believe believing wholeheartedly in freedom and democracy means accepting the results when people vote, and when you're continuing to interfere with the will of the very people you are trying to give that freedom to, it only backfires eventually and generates greater distrust and heated conflict.

Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa
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1 posted 08-30-2006 09:29 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Hey, Noah, you quote three Democrats condemning the administration....that's significant - or even surprising? There may be a bigger idiot than Murtha on this planet but I doubt it. (I can send you videos of his town hall meetings if you like to show you exactly what soldiers say to him )

I definitely agree that in many respects, Iraq has not gone well and I fault the administration for their lack of planning after the takeover. Personally, I would not have thought that terrorists would spring up and kill Iraqi civilians in the name of freedom for Iraq after Hussein had been toppled, but the government should have taken something like that into the realm of possibility, I suppose.

Yes, 60% of the Americans here who have never been there condemn our being there. It's interesting, though, that the overwhelming majority of soldiers - both over there and also returned - have very supportive things to say and approve of what is being done there. True, you won't find much of that on tv or in the newspapers but it does exist if you care to look for it.

You are using Pluto as a lead-in to Rumsfeld?? LOL....well, why not?

We agree in many ways, old friend. I wish they were all home tomorrow. I'm not ready, though, to abandon a new government not ready to assume control. Why knock out a dictator to turn control over to terrorist groups, mainly controlled by  other countries? Five minutes after the Iraqi govenment says,"We can handle it now. Get lost..", I would have every soldier back home - but not until that time comes.

Besides, if you demote Rumsfeld and promote someone else do you feel the Iraqi policy would change?
Mistletoe Angel
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2 posted 08-30-2006 02:10 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

No, realistically, I don't expect everything to automatically or even eventually change should Rumsfeld be demoted or removed from his position.

But we need a Secretary of Defense who is both strong, resolute and professional in defending this country, while also willing to accept criticism and do more than stubbornly just "stay the course" by accepting questions and analyzing where the operation has went wrong and such and agreeing together on some new solutions. Replacing Rumsfeld won't change the strategic mess we're in, but doing so would be a significant on a moral and professional level I believe. Anyway, he's not helping the administration as it is on the war's credibility, being a lightning rod of criticism from so many circles besides just anti-war protestors and such.

I absolutely believe that ultimately, it's the Iraqi people themselves that are going to determine the future of Iraq. Absolutely I believe we can, and should, still play a civil and humanitarian role in the re-construction of the country, and offer assistance in training their police and infantry forces and such. But I believe from a militaristic standpoint, and putting more American troops down there is not going to do any good at this phase of the operation. The nation is closer to civil war than ever I believe, and having 135,000 Americans wedged in the middle of a developing situation such as this can't be expected to hold off something like that.

So I believe the best way in both playing this more civil role, while finding a light at the end of the tunnel of this mission, is accepting a phased withdrawal, so we show the citizens of Iraq both that the future is indeed theirs AND that we can still always offer them a helping, diplomatic hand when they need it; that their future will not be pre-determined by others.


And THAT'S what the problem with Rumsfeld is to me; he appears more interested in dodging questions and demonizing the questioners, rather than look at what's wrong with the big picture and see where this operation first went wrong and sticks with the same old "stay the course" mantra. It's just this sort of behavior that lowers the morale of both our troops, their families, and millions of Americans who are tired of seeing headlines in their newspapers of the latest victims of the violence down there.

Unfortunately Rumsfeld and others appear more interested in submitting themselves to these Rovian tactics once again like they used in 2004; deflecting the blame from themselves and their own mistakes, and throwing out all their saliva on anyone who disagrees with them, even if it means assassinating their character.

They may have succeeded in 2004, but these Rovian tactics are not going to work this time, and they're only going to hurt the GOP this fall in general, and it's unfortunate because many in both parties recognize that war shouldn't be held to a political agenda, because people of all backgrounds serve in war, die in war, and they are vulnerable too just because they happen to be in a party that has all in all staunchly remained in favor of the occupation.

Now, the "security moms" are now reversed in the polls, the Independent voters swing heavily in disenchantment with the mission, and while the Democrats also absolutely still have no clue for an alternative vision, with all they say simplistically being a "new direction" which they never elaborate on, many are deciding, "Perhaps having no vision at this point, and making up the rules as they go, is better than sticking with a struggling vision!"

Personally, I think even for Bush, removing Rumsfeld would help him from a political standpoint.

Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa

Mistletoe Angel
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3 posted 09-02-2006 06:57 PM       View Profile for Mistletoe Angel   Email Mistletoe Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Mistletoe Angel's Home Page   View IP for Mistletoe Angel

Though Giuliani will all but certainly not get my vote in that I disagree with him on a number of other things, I applaud Rudy for coming out to reject this seemingly "New McCarthyism" that certain Republicans like Karl Rove and Dick Cheney seem to have been adopting in response to war criticism:


Rudy Hits the Campaign Trail

Is Giuliani vicious enough to win the Republican nomination?
By John Dickerson

Posted Thursday, Aug. 31, 2006, at 5:32 PM ET

With the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaching, I thought it would be a good idea to check up on Rudy Giuliani. He is the last remaining political action figure from that tragedy, having left office at the top of his game, before anything like the Iraq war could tarnish him. After years of private-sector buck-raking, the mayor is back in campaign mode, traveling across the country to help Republican candidates and thinking about running for president.

But is he ready for the brutality of a presidential race? This would be the week for him to practice savaging Democrats. The GOP effort to caricature Iraq war opponents has become both more coordinated and more creative. Would the nation's mayor talk about appeasing terrorists as Defense Secretary Rumsfeld did? Or would he use Vice President Cheney's line about self-defeating pessimism? Would he at least dish out a little "cut and run?"

I drove Wednesday night through rush hour to see Giuliani in Potomac, Md., a wealthy Washington suburb and sanctuary for bad architecture. He was visiting a local restaurant with Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, who's running for Senate. Steele recently has been on the defensive about critical remarks he made about the Iraq war and Republican Congress. You couldn't tell that from the candidate's raucous supporters. (The event was hosted by the Women of Steele, an organization that sounds dangerously like a USW pinup calendar.) The cell phones and Treos went up like periscopes to photograph the two men as they struggled to wade through the packed room. Giuliani already looked like a presidential candidate, surrounded by thick-necked security guards, signing copies of his book, and listening politely as voters gushed about the Yankees or explained how they spent time once in New York.

When Giuliani started to speak, I was expecting a Lifetime vignette: A story about a fallen firefighter or a 9/11 widow bearing up under unspeakable pain, or perhaps a riff about how he looks out his office window toward lower Manhattan and never forgets. Every other politician is misusing the 9/11 anniversary, why wouldn't he? But he did none of that, showing tasteful restraint he'll have to give up if he actually runs for president.

Instead, Giuliani's remarks about 9/11 were general. "Sept. 11 is not over. It's not just a piece of our history. Sept. 11 is still going on. There are still people like that who want to attack us today. They're trying to do an attack that's even bigger than Sept. 11 to kill more Americans. That's just the reality of the world we live in. To deal with it, you have to be on offense." And the mayor didn't even mention Iraq as the central front of the war on terror.

Yes, but what about the Democratic appeasers? Disappointed that the mayor didn't rustle up a stirring anecdote about his experiences with 9/11, I hoped he wouldn't miss an opportunity to compete with Cheney and Rumsfeld by whacking the opposition party.

I asked him in the brief question session afterward if he thought there was a move toward appeasement anywhere in America. "Some of the history of the war on terror was that it wasn't taken seriously enough," he said before recounting the reactions to the killing of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics and other weak responses to historical acts of terrorism. But even old mistakes were just mistakes: "I don't know if you would call it appeasement," he said.

At least one person in the audience seemed disappointed that Giuliani was being so stingy right in the middle of half-priced red-meat week. As the mayor answered the last of the three questions from reporters, he talked about the root causes of terrorism: "oppressive governments that demagogue and blame and project their problems other places and do nothing to solve the problems of their own people."

"Sounds like the Democrats," shouted a man.

The crowd roared.

It was the kind of stupid remark candidates usually ignore. They either agree but can't show that they do, or they don't want to cause a stir by contradicting one of the partisans they've come to court. Giuliani's aides were already preparing to move him to his waiting SUV. He could have just left.

"Time out," he said bringing his hands together to make a T. "Time out." The crowd quieted down. "The other thing we have to learn is that we can't get into this partisan bickering. The fact is that Republicans and Democrats have the same objectives. Democrats are loyal Americans. Republicans are loyal Americans. I think we have better answers, but we have to respect each other."

This guy is never getting the nomination.



I also admire many other Republicans, most notably Chuck Hagel (who has repeatedly insisted that war shouldn't be held captive to a political agenda, especially in that citizens of all backgrounds die in war), John Warner, William Buckley, Pat Buchanan and George Will, for rejecting the notion Rumsfeld seems to suggest that it is dangerous for the sake of this free world for anyone to question what this administration is doing, and that the only validity in the world rests with him and his colleagues.

Noah Eaton

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"

Mother Teresa

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