THE POWER AND THE GLORY: A VIEW OF RUMSFELD BY ROGER MORRIS

Rumsfeld: (He began) a stint in 1983-1984 as special presidential envoy to the Middle East.

He worked to shower on Saddam (in a manner as unnoticed as possible) an infamous flow of intelligence, financial credits, and sensitive materials and technology that would come to underpin Iraqi chemical and bacteriological warfare programs, leading to hideous gas attacks on Shia dissidents and Kurds as well as the Iranian forces. In general, Rumsfeld put his shoulder to the wheel to shore up the war-worn Ba’athist regime that had attacked Iran in 1980.

As Secretary of Defense to George Bush: As no other cabinet officer in history, he turned over crucial, self-sustaining functions of his department to privateers and private armies. He surrendered vital supply and commissariat services for the American military to profit-plundering contractors for whom U.S. forces were neither fellow warriors, nor even share-holders, but captive “customers” to be treated with the offhandedness afforded by guaranteed contracts. He ceded security and combat functions essential to the national mission to a corps of thousands of hired guns whose qualifications, standards of conduct and ultimate loyalty — all integral to the safety and success of American forces — were beyond effective governmental control or measure.

As no other cabinet officer in history, he squandered the integrity of his department and the unique, indispensable code of honor of its services. He joined, and often led, the rest of an intellectually degraded administration, heedless of Constitutional and human rights, in violating the very heart of their ostensibly conservative convictions. With the ready sanctioning, and then de facto cover-up of torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, and the less noticed but equally gruesome prisons at Bagram Air Base and elsewhere in Afghanistan, he changed, for untold millions, the symbol of America and its once-proud military from freedom and the rule of law to the unforgettable prisoner’s hood and shackles. Rumsfeld’s impact would not vanish with terms of office or elections

….Weeks after Rumsfeld’s departure, history — the little ever really known or understood — was already being waved off, forgotten. The past was too complicated and troublesome, too guilt-ridden and close to home, too filled with chilling consequences.

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