Bush's Choice for Pentagon Chief
is Nuclear Missile Lobbyist
Reuters, 2000-12-28, Bush Chooses Cold War Veteran As Defense Chief [Original URL was http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20001228/ts/bush_leadall_dc_92.html — now expired, but view cached copy here]:
He [Donald Rumsfeld] also headed a missile defense commission whose 1998 report Bush said bolsters his case for deploying a missile defense system hotly opposed by Russia.
"There's a selling job to do there," Bush said of the missile defense program. "But a good place to start is the report that he put out, which is a compelling argument of the need to develop a missile defense system that will work."
From an article by William D. Hartung and Michelle Ciarrocca in The Nation, 2000-06-19, STAR WARS II: HERE WE GO AGAIN [Original URL was http://www.thenation.com/issue/000619/0619hartung.shtml — now expired, but view cached copy here]:
House Speaker Gingrich and Senate majority leader Trent Lott, who were empowered to nominate the majority of the panel's members [a panel to assess the nature and magnitude of existing and emerging ballistic missile threats to the United States], chose former Ford Administration Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to head the commission, in the hopes that they could capitalize on his reputation as a moderate Republican with pragmatic views on military matters. Rumsfeld proved worthy of Gingrich's and Lott's confidence when he hammered out a unanimous final report with the appropriate aura of bipartisanship, complete with signatures from Democratic appointees such as former Carter Administration arms-control official Barry Blechman of the Henry L. Stimson Center and eminent physicist and longtime missile defense critic Richard Garwin. Just two weeks after the report came out, Garwin placed an Op-Ed in the New York Times denouncing the misuse of the report by missile defense boosters, asserting, "I am alarmed that some have interpreted our findings as providing support for a new national defense system."
The Rumsfeld Commission report was unveiled in July 1998 amid hysterical cries from Gingrich that it was the "most important warning about our national security system since the end of the cold war." Hysteria aside, the report's primary finding was that given enough foreign help, a rogue state like North Korea could acquire a missile capable of reaching the United States within five years of making a decision to do so — one-third to one-half the warning time projected in the CIA's official estimates. The Star Wars lobby finally got what it needed: an official, government-approved statement that could be interpreted as endorsing its own exaggerated view of the Third World missile threat. While the Rumsfeld report drew heavy editorial fire in papers like the Chicago Tribune and the Milwaukee Sentinel, the Wall Street Journal applauded it as a long-overdue clarion call for missile defense, and Washington's newspaper of record, the Post, published a measured response that endorsed the panel's findings as "useful and plausible."
Upon reflection, it is clear that the Rumsfeld report's Republican backers had always intended to use the panel as a tool to advance their pro-missile defense agenda. All the report actually says is that if a country like North Korea gets major foreign assistance — including the extremely unlikely possibility that a country like China would simply give Pyongyang a fully operational ballistic missile — it will achieve the capability to hit the United States much more quickly than if it had to build the missile without outside help. As Joseph Cirincione of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace demonstrated in Congressional testimony delivered this past February, the Rumsfeld Commission's conservative backers have used the report as a vehicle for changing the intelligence community's traditional means of assessing the ballistic missile threat, from one that attempts to predict the likely pace of missile proliferation in a given nation in the light of political, economic and military factors, to a "worst-case scenario" approach that asks how quickly a given nation could achieve a threatening missile capability if it had no economic or political impediments. As Cirincione also demonstrated, the "sky is falling" approach has been used to obscure the underlying reality that the ballistic missile threat to the United States has decreased in the last decade, not increased.
Just as the Rumsfeld Commission turned out to be less objective than it first appeared to be, so did its chairman. Far from being a moderate, Donald Rumsfeld is a card-carrying member of the missile defense lobby. Prior to his appointment to head the commission that bears his name, he was publicly singled out as a special friend in the annual report of the pro-Star Wars think tank, the Center for Security Policy. As a further sign of his commitment to the missile defense cause, Rumsfeld has also given money to Frank Gaffney's group. If Gaffney's organization were just an abstract "study group," that would be one thing. But it is a highly partisan advocacy organization that serves as the de facto nerve center of the NMD lobby.
Gaffney's center, which now has an annual budget of $1.2 million, was started in 1988 with support from New Right funders like Richard Mellon Scaife and Joseph Coors. Since that time, Gaffney has turned it into a sort of working executive committee for the missile defense lobby. ... Unlike most think tanks concerned with military issues, the Center for Security Policy receives a substantial portion of its funding from weapons manufacturers. Three out of the top four missile defense contractors — Boeing, Lockheed Martin and TRW — are all major corporate contributors to CSP, which has received more than $2 million in corporate donations since its founding, accounting for roughly one-quarter of its total budget.
Rumsfeld's link to CSP is not his only affiliation with the Star Wars lobby. He's also on the board of Empower America, which ran deceptive ads against anti-NMD Senator Harry Reid of Nevada in the run-up to the November 1998 elections. In recognition of his service to the missile defense lobby, in October 1998 — just three months after his "objective" assessment of the missile threat was released — CSP awarded Rumsfeld its "Keeper of the Flame" award for 1998 at a gala dinner attended by several hundred Star Wars boosters. In accepting the award, Rumsfeld joined the company of Reagan, Gingrich and several Congressional NMD boosters.
- Michael T. Klare, The Nation, 2001-01-29, Rumsfeld: Star Warrior Returns:
In pursuing these policies, the new administration will inevitably inflame US relations with Russia and China, thereby precluding any further progress on arms control. It is very likely, in fact, that Russia and China will respond to US initiatives by expanding their own nuclear arsenals and by forging a closer military relationship. Relations with China will become particularly tense, especially if — as is expected — Bush approves the delivery of new warships and antimissile weapons to Taiwan. The result will be a more unstable and polarized environment, producing exactly the sort of world in which the Republican's instinctive preference for cold war-like policies will find a natural outlet.
- Russia condemns US 'Star Wars'
- Brian Cloughley: Up to a Point, Lord Rumsfeld — One Miscalculation After Another
US defence secretary Rumsfeld, as imperious, bullying, sneering, abrasive and unlovely a zealot as ever disgraced the pages of American history ... is a raving idiot who fantasises about what is going on in the country he has destroyed.
- James Kitfield: Stakes high in battle between Rumsfeld, generals
"My primary issue with Secretary Rumsfeld's leadership is accountability, because I grew up in a culture where the captain of the ship or the commander of the unit is held responsible, and Rumsfeld has committed acts of gross negligence and incompetence," retired Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni told National Journal. ...
"We knew that you had to secure the infrastructure and that reconstruction would be a huge and expensive task. We knew that Iraqi exiles like Ahmad Chalabi had zero credibility in the region. All of that was foreseeable, and yet our warnings were brushed aside and we were personally attacked," the general continued. "Rumsfeld said our planning was 'old and stale.' That this was going to be a 'cakewalk,' with 'shock and awe' and flowers in the streets, and Iraqi oil paying for reconstruction. Those were wild-eyed and patently ridiculous ideas."
Rumsfeld has, of course, taken a "hands-on" approach to the "War on Terror".
- David Swanson: Rumsfeld Admits to "Ghosting" Detainee
- Michael Scherer and Mark Benjamin: What Rumsfeld knew
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was personally involved in the late 2002 interrogation of a high-value al-Qaida detainee known in intelligence circles as "the 20th hijacker." He also communicated weekly with the man in charge of the interrogation, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the controversial commander of the Guantánamo Bay detention center.
- And as regards what happened at Abu Ghraib, Susan Sontag quoted Rumsfeld:
"My impression is that what has been charged thus far is abuse, which I believe technically is different from torture," Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said at a press conference. "And therefore I'm not going to address the torture word."
As if it were just a matter of words ...
Rumsfeld also had a major role in covering up The Frank Olson Murder.
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