Donald Rumsfeld is back and Fox News has not just forgotten how he resigned in disgrace as Secretary of Defense in the last Bush administration but is actively rehabilitating him as some kind of sage with standing to criticize President Obama’s Syria policy.
If that’s not jaw-dropping enough to any and everybody who remembers anything about how Rumsfeld mishandled the Iraq war, you might want to prop your chin up before you hear how he criticized Obama for not going for regime change in Syria.
Rumsfeld appeared at least twice on Fox today. Once on Fox & Friends, where the Curvy Couch Crew “forgot” how the Bush administration never captured Osama Bin Laden in its seven years post 9/11 - and Steve Doocy complained that Obama had delayed his (successful) operation. Then Brian “Allahu akbar” Kilmeade “forgot” how Rumsfeld had once cozied up to Saddam Hussein - even when it was already known that he had used chemical weapons, which the Bush administration later used to justify the Iraq war – and asked whether the Obama administration had sent mixed signals by threatening military force against Syria when we had previously extended a hand of friendship.
Tonight, on (Republicans) On The Record, host Greta Van Susteren “forgot” all about Rumsfeld’s miserable record on regime change and offered no challenge as he lectured Obama for not trying to execute the same mission in Syria:
Put yourself in the other fella’s shoes. Imagine yourself as a Syrian. And you are, you want a better life, you don’t favor Assad. And the fact that they’ve killed, I don’t know, something in excess now of 100,000 people in that conflict. …And you’ve got to decide where are you on this as a citizen of Syria. And the President of the United States says, ‘Well, we’re not gonna have any regime change’ and tells the world that Assad’s gonna be there when it’s over. Well, you worry about your family. You worry about your life and it keeps people from being supportive of those that are opposing Assad. …The essence of leadership is clarity.
…It seems to me you either have to decide that there should be regime change and make a conscious effort to help those opposing the Assad regime and killing the 100,000 people that have died or you don’t do something.
OK, that’s bad enough. But wait, it gets worse. Rumsfeld later blamed President Obama for weakening the standing of the U.S. in the world:
…(T)he role of the United States is seen as ineffective, weak and… our country is in decline and …that message goes out to the people in Iran, for example.
…The credibility of the United States has already been damaged (by Obama) and it would probably be further damaged if we did, quote, a shot across the bow and that’s it. We’re better off not doing that, it seems to me. The absence of leadership is a signal to the world that the United States is withdrawing, that the United States is not gonna be a factor for contributing to peace and stability in the world.
As I wrote last week when Rumsfeld made a similar (and similarly unchallenged) accusation on the show, it’s hard to imagine how we could look less credible and weaker than invading a country under false pretenses, suggesting the conflict would not last six months, promising that we’d be welcomed (as Rumsfeld did) – and then getting stuck there for nine years - until President Obama ended the war.
Yet, despite avoiding responsibility for his own mess, Rumsfeld actually had the nerve to castigate President Obama on the subject:
This president has tried to find a way to blame everybody or anybody for everything. And leadership requires that you stand up, take a position, provide clarity and take responsibility.
Last night, Jon Stewart discussed Syria on The Daily Show (second video below). He played clips of several Iraq-war cheerleaders, including Rumsfeld, now acting as experts on TV about Syria, and called it “The Idiot Parade.” Donning a parade hat and waving a baton, Stewart sang, “Shut the f*** up! Shut the f*** up! Shut the f*** up! Shut the f*** up! Shut the f*** up! Shut the f*** up! Shut the f*** up! Shut the f*** up!”
How in the world Rumsfeld thinks he can get away with making these comments, and how in the world Fox News thinks it can rewrite history this brazenly is completely beyond me. A man who was forced to resign in disgrace, who worked for an administration that wound up being loathed throughout the world and at home, and who promoted the most disastrous foreign policy I’ve seen in my lifetime has absolutely no place lecturing anyone on these matters. This is frankly akin to putting Bernie Madoff on a business show to advise against people he thinks are frauds.
Some say that Rummy was worse at his job than Dumbya was at his.
With all due respect and, quoting your compadre from Wyoming, “Go fuck yourself”.