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Rumsfeld in the Hot Seat

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U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld testified today to the Senate Armed Services committee on Capitol Hill. He appeared before congressional committees in back-to-back hearings on the scandal, which came to light last week with the release of photographs showing the humiliation of Iraqi prisoners in a U.S.-run jail outside Baghdad.

Rumsfeld, in his opening remarks said, ‘I feel terrible about what happened to these Iraqi detainees. They are human beings. They were in U.S. custody. Our country had an obligation to treat them right. We didn’t, and that was wrong. So to those Iraqis who were mistreated by members of the U.S. armed forces, I offer my deepest apology.’ REUTERS/Gary Hershorn

“To those Iraqis who were mistreated by members of the armed forces, I offer my deepest apology. It was inconsistent with the values of our nation,” Rumsfeld said in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Rumsfeld took full responsibility saying “it’s my failure …”, but also went on to say that he only saw the pictures last evening and admitted the system needs improving. He defended the President’s innocence and refused to heed calls for his resignation by those whom he accused of playing politics… CNN.

Rumsfeld’s testimony appeared heartfelt and forthright, though perhaps spiced with a dash of acrimony. Nevertheless he did what was required of him to save face for the Bush administration. Will it be enough to avoid his resignation? Only time will tell.

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  • Eric Olsen

    Thanks BB, very good information!

  • Shark

    BB: “Nevertheless he [Rumsfeld] did what was required of him to save face for the Bush administration. Will it be enough to avoid his resignation? Only time will tell.”

    Yeah. Saving face. That’s real important.

    Holding onto his office; yeah, that’s real important.

    Meanwhile, a few hundred million Arabs are trying to figure out how to kill as many infidel Americans as possible. Long lines are forming at terrorist recruiting centers around the globe.

    Way to go, Rummy! Now go do something about THAT.

    (I’m guessing that his solution might have something to do more troops, more invasions, more wars, and killin’ somethin’. Liberation, ain’t it GRAND?!)

  • Shark

    NOTE: Rumsfeld’s “Hot Seat” did not have any wires attached to it.

    Is there no justice?

  • I think Rummy is finished. Either he’ll be forced out soon due to political pressure, or Bush will replace him shortly after the election (if Bush wins), or Kerry will be elected and will rather obviously replace him. In any event, Rummy’s days are numbered.

    But this was not his fault. He’s just going to take the fall for it.

  • BB

    I don’t know RJ. I understand Shark’s anger, but politics aside I believe it has been blown somewhat out of proportion. If he pulled it off like I think he did (i.e. the sincerity factor) it could blow over.

    Yes he is ultimately responsible but this is not unlike the Canadian Airborn fracas in Somalia. Should Rummy be canned for the soldiers’ indiscretions? He didn’t condone it and they are being prosecuted. Besides the timeliness of the flow of information, what is he really guilty of?

  • BB:

    The question isn’t necessarily should Rummy be canned for the soldiers’ “indiscretions” (or “war crimes”, if the reports are true). I’d like to think the question is “should Rummy be canned for putting American personnel and interests and policy objectives at risk by fielding an under-strength, poorly-led force that was ill-trained for the mission it was given, not adequately supervising them, supplementing their forces with unaccountable civilian contractors, failing to act on reports of misconduct for most of a year, and failing to represent the actual situation to the president?”

    Rummy shouldn’t be fired for the actions of the criminal soldiers, but for getting the US into a situation where our soldiers acted like criminals. Especially in light of his warning that there are worse pictures that have not been seen by the public.

    From the right side of the political spectrum, the pragmatic question should be “can Rumsfeld be an effective member of the administration, or will his continued presence diminish the ability of the administration to achieve their goals, both domestic ally and internationally?” If his continued presence is considered an implicit administration approval of the current state of affairs and if the heat doesn’t cool down, we could see him go sooner rather than later.

    While I think he failed the president and the country in a serious way, I’m not confident that replacing him won’t just put a fresh face on the policies that led to those failures.

  • Shark


    like millions of Americans and talking video heads, you’re more interested in how the players handle the media and not THE OUTCOME OF THE “GAME”.

    It’s the bottom of the ninth, our team is down by 700 runs, and you’re discussing whether our coach made a good dugout speech during the 7th inning stretch.

    It’s not about Rummy and his PR, it’s not about apologies or “saying the right thing” to a C-SPAN audience.

    Our Army was photographed torturing and humiliating IRAQI citizens.

    It almost can’t get any worse for the strategic goals of the US in the Middle East.

    For a long, long time.

    We need to think about the implications of THAT, not whether or not some soon-to-be-forgotten American official sings the right song and does the right dance moves in a Congressional Music Video.

    BTW: Rummy will probably ‘retire’ and leave your progeny and mine to clean up this massive fuck-up. Our kids and grandkids will be taking hits from terrorists carrying photos from an Iraqi prison in 2004 — Rummy will be golfing with Ken Lay and Bernie Ebbers on some Caribbean island.

    And we’ll be so busy dodging terrorist attacks that we won’t even remember who got us into this mess.

    (hint: initials = GWB)

  • Eric Olsen

    The situation is very grim – the only way to handle it is to be as transparent as possible about investigating and prosecuting the guilty parties and those who should have known about it and stopped it. If that includes Rumsfeld then he must go.

  • Sandra Smallson

    Rumsfeld is lying. Simple as that. I agree with him that amount of troops, training and all that shit has nothing to do with it. Boy scouts and girl scouts know that behaviour is unethical.

    Only the representative for California seemed to hit the nail on the head. It’s all well and good bringing a chart to pretend like you did things in order.

    The point was put to him, in January, one of the Generals saw the pictures, this General speaks to Rumsfeld 5 times a day. In January Rumsfeld knew there were reports, he says he sees the President everyday..and until now, at no point did any of them inform Dubya that such pictures existed? Is that what we are supposed to believe? Rumsfeld claims to have only seen the pics a few days ago? Yet he knew of their existense as early as January. People who believe that nonsense are just allowing themselves to be misled.

    The truth of the matter is that they all knew about this problem but thought they had covered their tracks because they were in possession of the two discs. Like one of the Generals said “We thought we had it all”. They clearly did not. They all knew about it. ALL, Including Dubya. They did not really care. What’s the big deal? These are prisoners. Besides, we’ve got the pics and we’ve made a so-so announcement at Centcom, so we’ll just say we are carrying out investigations. If thoe two discs were the only evidence we would never have seen these pics and we would never have known in detail the atrocities carried out on these prisoners.

    The whole defence panel yesterday were covering the President’s tracks. This is exactly why Rumsfeld has got Dubya’s backing so publicly and even before he sat at the Senate.

    Another strange thing is that the Chairman treated Rumsfeld like his son. It was like a testimonial. Extoling his supposed virtues all over the place. You would think he was there to receive an award. He even stood “shoulder to shoulder”:) with Donald at the interview afterwards and spoke on his behalf. The whole thing is a sham.

    I don’t think it makes a diff whether he resigns or not but if the American people actually believe that the powers that be knew nothing about these pics until recently, then I think an outbreak of whatever it was that happened in 2000 when Dubya was voted President is in the air again.

  • Sandra Smallson

    However, I would like to add that atleast you guys are discussing your palava. Over here, they are still arguing whether the pictures of our own military abusing the prisoners are authentic pictures. This is because, the pics show the soldiers with shoe laces wrongly laced up, the rifles are not the model issued to that regiment and the uniforms are suspect:) LOL. Well, Well!

    It’s understandable cos the paper that printed it is a dowm market, red top rag and they will and can doctor anything just to get headlines. They lie everyday. However, these excuses that supposedly reveal the pics are fake get funnier and funnier each day.

  • BB

    Shark, I’ve been accused of being a pin-head, a sock-puppet, and now a talking video head. My motto is if it looks good then why not???

    Mr. Croft et al, I can’t argue with your anti-war assertions, BUT it seems that are talking mostly politics here and not the facts. The fact is all the facts have NOT yet come out. The fact is SHRUB is ultimately responsibility because it was his and HIS decision alone to commit to war. The rest are mere advisors and beaurocrats, and we are not privy to their oval room meetings.

    BUT perhaps that is THE problem because Shrub was not even privy to the information before we the public were, and THAT is the only good thing that can come from this investigation. The Commander-in-Chief MUST get this information quicker.

    The fact is all of this is really about getting Bush, and the Democrats are using Rummy to get to the top dog. If Rummy must go then can you spell P A T S Y ? The partisans are committing a pre-emptive strike to take over the White House without an election, and given that there is a war going on two fronts – that is not a good thing. Talk about terrorism.

    Perhaps however that is fitting given that the Supreme Court handed the keys to the kingdom to Bush. It’s pay-back time, heh.

  • The fact is all of this is really about getting Bush, and the Democrats are using Rummy to get to the top dog.

    According to Robert Novak, that’s not the case.

    According to him (yesterday or the day before), Republican Congressmen started muttering about Rummy resigning earlier, but then didn’t go public with it after the Dems did because it makes the Dems look bad.

    They were right, but they still want Rummy gone.

  • Here’s a follow-up, BB, with neocons calling for Rummy’s resignation in April:

    Neocons Robert Kagan and William Kristol make the “too few troops” argument in the April 26 Weekly Standard and call on Rumsfeld to resign.

    From Slate, and the whole article (“Dump Cheney”) is pretty interesting .

  • BB

    Yes, granted he is a popular guy (ugh). The war is the ruse, but the ultimate prize is Bush and the White House.

  • Maybe, BB, it is about getting Bush, but Republicans and neoconservatives are doing it, too.

    Note that the neocons obviously have a different, ulterior motive – they’re trying to lay the blame for their screwed-up invasion of Iraq any place except on their own doorstep. There was a smidgen of this last fall, a bit more in January, and now this.

    We should hold the neocons accountable, too, rather than let them get away with clean skirts.

  • BB

    You make a point Hal. Loyalty is admirable, but in the end it’s all about saving your own skin.

    I still believe the entire escapade is overkill. It makes great news headlines especially with an election around the corner. The soldiers who committed the crimes must pay. The beaurocrats can only do damage control.

    If heads have to roll then let the patsies stand in line. Anybody got a samurai sword?

  • BB

    I would like to qualify my last statement “the entire escapade is overkill.

    I do NOT condone the crimes committed. I am as disgusted about this as anyone else. I am just saying that no matter how much you may hate Rumsfeld, I believe attempts to have him impeached, castrated or whatever (at this time) is premature.

  • I am just saying that no matter how much you may hate Rumsfeld, I believe attempts to have him impeached, castrated or whatever (at this time) is premature.

    I certainly don’t hate Rumsefeld, and frankly don’t think he’s the problem. Not when we have Cheney, Scooter Libby, Feith, Wolfowitz et al. in power. Rumsfeld’s leaving won’t change the reality (although some perceptions may be modfied).

  • The Mirror is a communist rag, I agree Sandra. But are the photos fakes? Or legitimate?

    If they are real, then this actually is a GOOD thing, at least for the US. (Sorry if I’m being jingoistic here…) It means that BOTH major occupying powers engaged in prisoner mistreatment, not just the US.

    Anyway, this whole thing is sick. Those who hate us and want to kill us now have the perfect recruiting tool for years to come. And that’s REAL bad…

  • Could somebody clarify something, perhaps, RJ, was Rummie a lying sack of shit or a sack of lyiing shit?

  • JC:

    I’m curious. Which political party do you support up there in the frozen wastelands of Canuckistan? The borderline-pinko NDP, perhaps?

  • Nick Jones

    Would that be the NDP that’s fighting against the move to reprivatize health care in Canada? Fuck, how soon can they open a branch in the States?

  • billjette

    Rumsfeld is a Nazi, pure and simple. He has attepted to convince average Americans that it is o.k. to hate Muslims based on their inability to accept Christ as their Savior. According to Rumsfeld(read his February 23rd statments against freedom of religion) Muslims should not be recognized on God’s alter upon their death. What more needs to be said about this lover of hate?