News Rumsfeld Memo
posted by December 2 at 22:57 PMon
I’ll leave it to the learned and concerned to weigh in on the political ramifications of Rumsfeld’s final memo, printed in tomorrow’s NY Times (i’m linking even though you have to pay to read it; I’m sure it’s already up on every goddamn blog in the world). But let me just say this about its emotional impact (which, I know, is not super useful when talking about the Bush War anymore): I always had a hard time hating Rumsfeld, even as I recognized the degree to which his leadership was largely to blame for making the ineluctably terrible situation in Iraq far worse than it might have been. I don’t know why—possibly because he betrayed some hint of wit during his press conferences, unlike every single other member of Bush’s administration, who reveal only venality, mendacity, and meretriciousness every time they open their foul little mouths. I had this strange idea that among all the Ashcrofts, Rices, Fleischers, Bushes, and (especially) Cheneys, Donald Rumsfeld had a glimmer of humanity that might be able to influence his work one day. Despite everything, I just couldn’t hate him, the way I reflexively hated his confreres on an almost cellular level. I didn’t approve of his actions any more than I approved of any of the others’, but he always seemed like a person to me.
Then I read the memo.
I assume the memo will be read as a snidey vindication by some faction of the anti-war contingent (“even Rumsfeld admits Iraq is a mess!”), and a too-little-too-late by most people. Though I wanted to give the document (and its author) some credit for revealing that someone important was finally paying attention to reality, I found it to be all the more infuriating for its reversals. Things aren’t going well in Iraq after all these years. Here are some ideas I have to fix it. FUCK YOU. Where were you when anybody needed you? Not one item on the list of “above the line” suggestions for improving the situation wouldn’t have been more useful YEARS AGO, WHEN OTHERS WERE BEGGING FOR THEM TO BE IMPLEMENTED—except of course, for those ones that reveal BLATANT COWARDICE. One hates to use the term (because if you object to them using it, you really can’t go using it yourself and still be moral), but jesus: FLIP-FLOPPER!
All that is obvious enough, and has been or will be said better by smarter people than I, however, the suggestion that really got to me was this:
“Begin modest withdrawals of U.S. and Coalition forces (start “taking our hand off the bicycle seatâ€ť), so Iraqis know they have to pull up their socks, step up and take responsibility for their country.”
PULL UP THEIR SOCKS! TAKING OUR HAND OFF THE BICYCLE SEAT! With QUOTE MARKS! Just like a Republican mastermind to use the most asinine, just folks, middlebrow, all-American metaphors to backpedal from responsibility. Anyone who can even make the leap of analogy from U.S. forces shunting “democracy” into a country they just decimated to a dad teaching his kid to ride a bike is a moral idiot, and a defiler of language. Sure, these people are about to get abandoned, right before they get slaughtered, and it’s basically because of our poor planning… But maybe not if they pull up their socks and get at ‘er! Hey, buck up! Get some sticktuitiveness! Gotta grow up sometime! Fuck you forever, Rumsfeld. This memo doesn’t redeem you. It just shows what a deceitful, myopic turd you always were. Shame on me for imagining there was something moral in you. You just got demoted to Cheney’s sub-basement in hell.