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Itís not about Rummy, dummy!
by Ben Tanosborn    Online Journal
Entered into the database on Tuesday, April 25th, 2006 @ 16:05:22 MST


Untitled Document

Enough said already! The corporate media have been milking the issue of Rumsfeld’s incumbency, squeezing every drop of Rummy to the dryness of Chile’s Atacama Desert. Perhaps that’s something to be expected domestically. What does come as a surprise, however, is the amount of coverage and level of speculation in the foreign press; most particularly, the press chronicling to the peoples in the Middle East.

And what comes as an even larger surprise, it’s the importance attached to the possible exit, or stay, of the Pentagon’s chief. Donald Rumsfeld is a colorful character, yes . . . but even if he is Cruella’s favorite devil-son, he’s politically irrelevant to the well-entrenched American foreign policy. Doesn’t the international press corps know that?

Hasn’t it dawn on these journalists and political commentators that Rumsfeld’s stay-in, or exit-from, the DOD (Department of Defense) is totally inconsequential? The damage has already been done: from the launching of an unjust and criminal invasion to a rosary of repetitive misdeeds, now becoming an unending litany of events that Rumsfeld can neither influence, nor control.

Those retired generals who have come forward to critique or criticize Rumsfeld’s edicts, gross mistakes, and ineptness in how the Pentagon prepared for and conducted the war, have the right to do so; not only on their own behalf but that of other active duty staff and field officers of like mind. Just like Rep. Jack Murtha and other hawkish politicians have done. What’s sad to watch is how the small antiwar movement in America, activists and passivists alike, make these critics the rallying heroes when they are in fact only critics of their brethren-in-war. It’s not the music that is being criticized, just how it’s played. And Rumsfeld is simply the conductor of this evening’s event.

Bush simply cannot dismiss Rumsfeld; it wouldn’t make any sense. The two men clearly represent the two sides of the same coin, carrying almost identical numbers for acceptance or rejection when it comes to polling Americans’ sentiment: upwards of 80 percent favorable job performance just after 9/11, and less than half that figure nowadays. For both gents!

By hook or by crook, this ideological marriage is likely to stay together to the bitter end. In fact, this is not a monogamous relationship, but a polygamous one, involving several other high profile neocons, and also high priests of christianity (yes, with a very small c). And there is no evidence that the GOP is considering cleansing itself of these cancerous groups, preferring instead to make use of its 30 silver coins in tax breaks.

Let’s be real! Rumsfeld needs to be available for a possible “October Surprise,” for if things continue looking dim for GOP legislators before the mid-term election, a proven loyalist needs to be in charge at the Pentagon to bomb the hell out of Iran, and rally the nation around the flag.

And who better for that task than this articulate master of deceit?

Truth be said, America is in Iraq, or its balkanized remnants, for the long haul -- long after Rumsfeld. Make no mistake about that. Perhaps restricted to a fortified mega-embassy and a few well-staffed military bases. But Babylonia and its environs will remain de facto in American hands; or at least its oil will, and the freedom to operate as an international free-state. That’s American policy, for now and the foreseeable future, regardless whether power remains with these neocons, or passes on to the right of center Democrats (Hillary, Kerry et al).

During the past three weeks I must have come across 70 to 80 articles in the Arab (and Muslim) press, both mainstream and alternative -- from Egypt to Pakistan and all points in the Diaspora -- which dissected this personage in microscopic detail. His criminality, association with Abu Ghraib/Guantanamo, and general incompetence were massaged in these essays to great lengths. Perhaps the lack of perspective in much of this erudite writing was the result of having used a microscope instead of a telescope. Rumsfeld is but a soldier himself, perhaps an articulate and inept soldier, but a soldier nonetheless. To see the problem in clear focus, you cannot resort to looking at Rumsfeld through a microscope; instead one must look to the stars with a telescope. There, in front of us, is the culprit of it all. Not a man who’s 50 percent quipster and 50 percent ruthless. Not Rumsfeld. The culprit lit by the stars: American foreign policy and its readiness to wage war, including preemptive war, to impose its will or vision on the world.

Bush's low favorable numbers, particularly on the quagmire that Iraq has become, have absolutely nothing to do with how Americans feel about war . . . only the conduct of this particular war. And that in a nutshell is the problem. Americans are not any more antiwar today than they were four years ago. It’s not so much that we despise wars; it’s just that we hate not winning them . . . and quickly. That’s what all the criticism is about: from Murtha, from the six generals, from the disgruntled man in the street. And what better villain, or scapegoat, than Rumsfeld!

But no one will dare take a poll as to how antiwar we really are. Afraid to see for ourselves, or to show the world, what our priorities are.

Why all the noise about Rumsfeld? He is just an arrogant so-and-so who acts on our behalf. Why is it so difficult for the international press corps to see that?

Ben Tanosborn, columnist, poet and writer, resides in Vancouver, Washington (USA), where he is principal of a business consulting firm. Contact him at ben@tanosborn.com.