Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Rummy’s Reverie: “The Media made me lose the War,” by Mike Whitney


Don Rumsfeld may be a lousy Secretary of Defense, but he’s the best buck-passer this country’s ever had.

Nothing is ever his fault. Not Guantanamo, not Abu Ghraib, not Falluja, not Haditha, not de-Baathification, not the insurgency; nothing. Ever.

Of course, ever since Saddam’s bronze torso hit the pavement in Fidros Square, the occupation has steadily unraveled and turned into a quagmire. But that’s not Rummy’s fault either. Like President Bush said, “He’s doin’ a heck-uva job”.

Sec-Def Houdini put his excuse-making talents on full-display yesterday in a speech at Fallon Naval Air Station in Nevada. He accused terrorist groups of “manipulating the media” to erode support for the war on terror.

“What bothers me the most,” he opined, “is the way they are actively manipulating the media in this country. They can lie with impunity…That’s the thing that keeps me up at night.”

Some of us were hoping that Iraq was keeping Rummy “up at night”…or maybe that niggling issue of torture and abuse that keeps popping up in the newspapers. But, noooo; it’s the looming specter of Zarqawi at his keyboard e mailing his hypnotic prose to unwitting Americans who are seduced by his vile propaganda.


What exactly is Rumsfeld talking about? Or are these just the early signs of delirium praecox?

“The enemy is so much better at communicating,” he moaned. “I wish we were better at countering that because the constant drumbeat of the things they say—all of which are not true—is harmful.”

“Better at communicating”? Better than FOX News, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and the whole alphabet-soup of cable stations that pitch Rumsfeld’s flag-waving jingoism ad nauseum? Are Bin Laden’s scratchy video-tapes really that much of a threat?

How can the press corps (some of America’s best and brightest) sit through this rubbish? Isn’t there anyone in the crowd who’s plucky enough to put a stop to Rumsfeld’s ruminations by saying,

“No offense, Mr. Secretary, but you’re losing the goddamn war and you’re blaming it on some fictitious Islamic media which only exists in your fevered imagination.”

Rumsfeld’s precipitous decline into senility is painful to watch. At one time the square-jawed Rumsfeld embodied the swaggering self-confidence and élan of the Bush administration. His friendly banter with the adoring Washington press corps made him a darling among conservatives and elevated him to rock star status.

No one could lay a glove on old Rummy; he was too smart and too quick on his feet.

And, now this; an embattled old man, trying to cover his failures with one absurd diversion after the other?

Rumsfeld should be on the front porch shooing kids off the lawn not steering the world’s most powerful military towards an impending catastrophe.

We need new leadership; pronto. Rumsfeld can swap his stories about Bin Laden Media with his fellows at the Senior Center, not from the podium at the Pentagon.

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