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Donald Rumsfeld dies at 88. The former defense secretary oversaw Iraq, Afghanistan wars

daftandbarmy

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The passing of an era....

  • Donald Rumsfeld served twice as Defense secretary, for Gerald Ford and George W. Bush.
  • After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Rumsfeld let the Pentagon's attacks on al-Qaida in Afghanistan.
  • In 2003, he and Vice President Dick Cheney shifted to Iraq's Saddam Hussein, whom the US ousted.
  • The abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison was among the controversies that dogged him.

"It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of Donald Rumsfeld, an American statesman and devoted husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. At 88, he was surrounded by family in his beloved Taos, New Mexico," the family said in a statement released Wednesday. "History may remember him for his extraordinary accomplishments over six decades of public service, but for those who knew him best and whose lives were forever changed as a result, we will remember his unwavering love for his wife Joyce, his family and friends and the integrity he brought to a life dedicated to country."

The cause of Rumsfeld's death was multiple myeloma, according to his spokesman, Keith Urbahn.

President George W. Bush selected Rumsfeld for his second stint as Pentagon chief in 2001. Rumsfeld vowed to shake up the military bureaucracy, seeking to make it leaner and more agile.

The Sept. 11 terror attacks changed everything.

Rumsfeld oversaw the Pentagon’s response and its initial attack on al-Qaida bases in Afghanistan. With stunning speed, U.S. commandos and airstrikes toppled the Taliban from power, and a democratically elected government was established.

 

Colin Parkinson

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Good I toast is departure as the architect of the worst possible strategy for occupying a country since the end of the 2nd World War. I used to blame Paul Bremer, but a friend of mine who was on his protection detail says that Bremer was taking orders from Washington, so I pretty sure i know where to place the blame for debaathisfication and the disbanding of the Iraqi army. Funny reading about Iraqi political history, pretty much every coup was followed by looting, so anyone who had done their homework should have known of the possibility.
 

dapaterson

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The Beaverton begs to disagree.

 

brihard

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I will rarely celebrate a death, but I certainly won’t pretend that Rumsfeld got more than a shrug from me. Were he not American, and thus insulated by raw power from accountability, he likely would have been in front of the ICC or some sort of international tribunal for war crimes, alongside other members of the Bush administration.
 

Weinie

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I will rarely celebrate a death, but I certainly won’t pretend that Rumsfeld got more than a shrug from me. Were he not American, and thus insulated by raw power from accountability, he likely would have been in front of the ICC or some sort of international tribunal for war crimes, alongside other members of the Bush administration.
Ummm ......... either back that up with data, or retract it.
 

brihard

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Ummm ......... either back that up with data, or retract it.
I retract nothing. They invaded a sovereign state (however shitty it and it’s government were) on a phony pretext without legal justification, and hundreds of thousands of civilians died. As international law goes, this isn’t rocket surgery. The invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a war of aggression. Those military and political figures who exercise command authority in such cases are potentially culpable under international law. You don’t get to just up and invade sovereign states because you want to. The US is functionally untouchable, so in this case they got away with it.

Obviously beyond this aspect of it there’s also just how bloody awful and misguided the whole venture was; the diversion of resources from Afghanistan; the total destruction of Iraq as a functioning state; the rise of Daesh out of the ashes etc... But my opinion does not rest on those consequences.
 

Weinie

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I retract nothing. They invaded a sovereign state (however shitty it and it’s government were) on a phony pretext without legal justification, and hundreds of thousands of civilians died. As international law goes, this isn’t rocket surgery. The invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a war of aggression. Those military and political figures who exercise command authority in such cases are potentially culpable under international law. You don’t get to just up and invade sovereign states because you want to. The US is functionally untouchable, so in this case they got away with it.

Obviously beyond this aspect of it there’s also just how bloody awful and misguided the whole venture was; the diversion of resources from Afghanistan; the total destruction of Iraq as a functioning state; the rise of Daesh out of the ashes etc... But my opinion does not rest on those consequences.
Your quote was "Were he not American, and thus insulated by raw power from accountability, he likely would have been in front of the ICC or some sort of international tribunal for war crimes, alongside other members of the Bush administration."

You can skate around it all you want, based on your thoughts/opinions. But you can not offer a verdict.
 

OldSolduer

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He's gone - a footnote in history.

The one I felt was tossed under the bus was Colin Powell. The information/intelligence was pretty much made up, and he had to present it to The UN IIRC.

Much fuckery was at the behest of Mr. Rumsfeld.
 

brihard

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Your quote was "Were he not American, and thus insulated by raw power from accountability, he likely would have been in front of the ICC or some sort of international tribunal for war crimes, alongside other members of the Bush administration."

You can skate around it all you want, based on your thoughts/opinions. But you can not offer a verdict.
...which is why I said he would likely be “in front of the ICC or some sort of international tribunal”. That would be judicial proceedings. Verdicts would be their gig, not mine. Looking at what happened in Iraq, with my knowledge and understanding of international law, and with nearly two decades of material published on the matter by people much more educated in the field than I, I believe crimes were committed and that political and military leadership could have faced jeopardy for same. I’m not skating around anything, so you can wind your neck in. I’ve stated my thoughts quite directly. As I implied, I will not mourn Rumsfeld.
 
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Weinie

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...which is why I said he would likely be “in front of the ICC or some sort of international tribunal”. That would be judicial proceedings. Verdicts would be their gig, not mine. Looking at what happened in Iraq, with my knowledge and understanding of international law, and with nearly two decades of material published on the matter by people much more educated in the field than I, I believe crimes were committed and that political and military from the leadership could have faced jeopardy for same. I’m not skating around anything, so you can wind your neck in. I’ve stated my thoughts quite directly. As I implied, I will not mourn Rumsfeld.
And I respect your opinion.

But, that and two bucks gets you a double double at Timmies.


You can't accuse some one of war crimes , or potentially being in contravention of the ICC, without some sort of evidence that will stand scrutiny.

Good luck with that.
 

brihard

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And I respect your opinion.

But, that and two bucks gets you a double double at Timmies.


You can't accuse some one of war crimes , or potentially being in contravention of the ICC, without some sort of evidence that will stand scrutiny.

Good luck with that.
Well, for one there was literally an invasion. The onus is on any state initiating military conflict to demonstrate legal justification for same that is in accordance with international laws and norms. I do not believe the US did so. They relied on a phony WMD pretext that has long been discredited, and they never sought UN Security Council authorization to invade. That by definition is a war of aggression. UNSCR 1441 cannot be tried on to justify the invasion, as it was explicitly stated that violation of that resolution would require further UNSC consideration of the matter.

Again, one state does not get to simply invade another at will and be legally in the clear. The broader community of nations decided that in 1945, with the US and UK as founding members.

Rumsfeld was a primary architect of that invasion and everything that followed. If there is legal culpability - which I personally believe there was - he’s right up in the top tier of that. Or was.
 

Weinie

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Well, for one there was literally an invasion. The onus is on any state initiating military conflict to demonstrate legal justification for same that is in accordance with international laws and norms. I do not believe the US did so. They relied on a phony WMD pretext that has long been discredited, and they never sought UN Security Council authorization to invade. That by definition is a war of aggression. UNSCR 1441 cannot be tried on to justify the invasion, as it was explicitly stated that violation of that resolution would require further UNSC consideration of the matter.

Again, one state does not get to simply invade another at will and be legally in the clear. The broader community of nations decided that in 1945, with the US and UK as founding members.

Rumsfeld was a primary architect of that invasion and everything that followed. If there is legal culpability - which I personally believe there was - he’s right up in the top tier of that. Or was.
Well, we will see. Bold statements.
 

Pelorus

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You can't accuse some one of war crimes , or potentially being in contravention of the ICC, without some sort of evidence that will stand scrutiny.

Can't he? I agree that evidence is always beneficial (and this forum is generally better than many spaces on the internet), but all sorts of unsubstantiated and/or controversial claims are regularly levied here against public figures, and Brihard's statements re: Rumsfeld hardly seem especially libelous. For example, I seem to recall that there's a certain journalist who cannot be mentioned here by name due to previous threats of litigation.

There's also the fact that multiple lawsuits accusing Rumsfeld of human rights abuses and war crimes have been filed internationally over the years.

Regarding the ICC specifically, there's the matter of the Bush-era law which was designed "to protect United States military personnel and other elected and appointed officials of the United States government against criminal prosecution by an international criminal court to which the United States is not party.", more popularly known as the "Hague Invasion Act".

Edit: I didn't really want to weigh in on this topic, but I guess since I'm here I'll share the quote that for some reason immediately came to mind when I heard the news today:

"I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction." - Clarence Darrow (1932)
 

Weinie

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Well, no, we won’t. That was a key part of my first post. Through raw power the US is immune from direct accountability on this, and Rumsfeld is dead.
Ok. So we agree to disagree. Raw power and death.
 

brihard

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Ok. So you win. Raw power and death. I, apparently ,need to step aside.
I believe the more academic term is “American Exceptionalism”. They have the power to exclude their people from international accountability, and they exercise that power to do so. Are you going to suggest that I’m wrong on that assertion?
 

Weinie

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I believe the more academic term is “American Exceptionalism”. They have the power to exclude their people from international accountability, and they exercise that power to do so. Are you going to suggest that I’m wrong on that assertion?
Thanks for the "education"

I'm going to suggest that American Exceptionalism is judiciously exercised when they need to do so, Iraq was a shithole, and I don't believe that any Strat Planners thought otherwise. But given the strat sit at that time, what would have been a more viable option. The Middle East was on edge, an American ally was in potential crisis, the Russians and Chinese were either disinterested or impotent. So,and in an effort to demonstrate US leadership
 

Colin Parkinson

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Let me see, "Invasion of another country without provocation" Hmmm Iran-Iraq war, invasion of Kuwait? Attacking KSA, Israel, Cultural genocide of the Marsh Arabs, attempted genocide of the Kurds, volition of UN weapons of mass destruction (thanks to his brotherinlaw defecting) Two of the largest environmental disasters in the region. Multiple human rights abuses. He was a really dangerous whackjob that they should have deposed of in 1991.
 

brihard

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Let me see, "Invasion of another country without provocation" Hmmm Iran-Iraq war, invasion of Kuwait? Attacking KSA, Israel, Cultural genocide of the Marsh Arabs, attempted genocide of the Kurds, volition of UN weapons of mass destruction (thanks to his brotherinlaw defecting) Two of the largest environmental disasters in the region. Multiple human rights abuses. He was a really dangerous whackjob that they should have deposed of in 1991.
I agree he should have been deposed in 1991, but he wasn’t. 2003 wasn’t 1991. I also didn’t say “without provocation”, I said “on a phony pretext [WMDs] without legal justification”. Much of what you listed would have justified a drive to Baghdad in 1991, but they chose not to. You don’t get to bank that for later.

I’m talking about international law. Law that America helped to establish and cajole others into becoming signatories to. America is a linchpin of the system that applies that law. And America, in this case, ignored it, invaded Iraq, and brought about all the horrendous stuff that came of that. It was a war of aggression, and the leaders of a less powerful state would face accountability for that. Rumsfeld never did because America’s might shields them from that.


Thanks for the "education"

I'm going to suggest that American Exceptionalism is judiciously exercised when they need to do so, Iraq was a shithole, and I don't believe that any Strat Planners thought otherwise. But given the strat sit at that time, what would have been a more viable option. The Middle East was on edge, an American ally was in potential crisis, the Russians and Chinese were either disinterested or impotent. So,and in an effort to demonstrate US leadership
What would have been a more viable option would have been not invading and focusing on the war they already had.
 
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