Simply the Worst

What Rummy didn’t know could fill his book.

Comments: 125

  1. ..." As part of his “Je ne regret rien pas” book tour, the 78-year-old former defense secretary stopped by the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, where he got the group’s annual “Defender of the Constitution” award."

    Take small comfort, Maureen, he also picked up a few bedbugs! I have spent the day delighting in the knowledge that this creep is itching, scratching and bleeding from the little monsters, who have also invaded his Hartmann luggage and his Abercrombie&Fitch suits. HA!

    Of course, a bedbug attack can never begin to make up for the thousands of deaths (American, European and Iraqi) for which Rumsfeld is responsible. He and Cheney will never undergo the war crimes trials and imprisonment they both deserve--unless they decide to take a trip to Spain. However, they are suffering the small pains of a bedbug attack, and the good news is that they will never, never know whether or not they have truly gotten rid of the pesky little blood suckers. Small vengeance, but it will have to do for now. Karma will surely catch up with these deficient human beings!

  2. Unfortunately we are likely to continue seeing the old fools peddling their fiction because they are free. The current Administration has refused to prosecute any of the Bush war criminals for torture and the pointless invasion of another country, and for causing untold deaths, dismemberments and psychological harm to thousands of Iraqi citizens and American troops. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their minions have no shame, because they have no conscience. They are sociopaths.

    Several American rights organizations have petitioned the Spanish judicial system to prosecute the officials who recommended torturing terror suspects at Gitmo, because our own government refuses to do so. WikiLeaks cables recently revealed that the current administration put pressure on Spain to lay off the Bushies. So Americans are approaching Spaniards to do the right thing. People to people, not government to government. Bush himself had to cancel a planned speaking gig in Geneva recently for fear of arrest - the Swiss reportedly have an indictment in the works.

    The parade of evil is only serving to shine a harsher light on Obama, who continues the Bush surveillance policies, wars and prosecution of government whistleblowers. He and his supporters may prefer not to wallow in the past, but history has a strange way of repeating itself. And after witnessing what ordinary people in Egypt can accomplish bloodlessly in just 18 short days, it is plain that present mimics past, and the future is always unpredictable. All empires, and all old men, decline and ultimately fall.

  3. There’s a new theory making the rounds – that George W. Bush is the hero of Egypt. It was he who put the seed of democracy in the minds of young Egyptians. This rereading of history was most prominently introduced by Elliot Abrams – of Iran-Contra shame -- on the pages of the Washington Post. The fact that Bush, like all our recent presidents & Congresses, was propping up Mubarak seems to have slipped Abrams' mind. But, hey, when you can "reframe" history, go for it.

    That, of course, is the reframe of reference in which the Mind of Rumsfeld operates. You take the knowns, you parse them, you apply a little mathematics, you massage them with historical sleight of hand, and Voila! you come up with a World of Magic where everything you do is perfect.

    "We don't know with any precision how much we don't know.: We don't know what we don’t know. Every kid who takes Algebra 1 knows that two negatives make a positive. Let’s go to war!

    It's amazing what you can do with the English language to twist it into a justification for anything. You thought Bush was tongue-tied and inarticulate? Ha! You misunderestimate him and his whole cadre.

    "Anticipatory self-defense" is pure genius. When you parse it, of course, it means offense. But who’s parsing? Unparsed, it connotes excessive caution, forethought and exemplary protection of American interests. It's no wonder Don Rumsfeld isn’t having second thoughts about the murder and mayhem of his own doing. His language skills have spared him any reflective impulse. If you just re-label your misdeeds, they look like good deeds.

    When he finishes his book tour, Don Rumsfeld should become a language professor. He gives new meaning to the term "deconstruction." Nothing would please the academy more than deconstructed – or reconstructed -- deconstruction. It’s a whole new field of study!

    Let's see what he can do with "War Criminal!" No needs to tell the kids to "sit down and shut up." Surely there’s some way to turn "war criminal" into a badge of honor. Go to it, Rummy.

    The Constant Weader at

  4. This column should be required reading for every American who can read. It is bad enough to follow the dismal reports from your colleagues about our corrupt financial gurus running us into the ground but adding the misbegotten career of a Rumsfeld and others to the mix becomes more than one can safely swallow without choking.

    More and more information of all the behind the scenes shenanigans of the people in power is a necessity now if we are to save our skins and of those who follow us. Your column is a great contribution to the truth and will be hopefully widely read. Thank you Maureen.

  5. I listened to a bit of the CPAC coverage, and heard the ovation for Rumsfeld and Cheney. It made me realize that conservatives live in a different world than do the rest of us. It’s a world in which life is cheap, and where thousands of pointless deaths can be dismissed with a shrug. It’s a world where money is in endless supply, and does not need to be tallied or accounted for. It’s a world in which ideology is valued over common sense, no matter how much misery it causes to the innocent. It’s a world in which the most horrendous mistakes and miscalculations will make you famous, and in which they will play you on with a song titled “Simply the Best” without seeing the cruel irony.

    Sadly, these other-worldly conservatives are intruding into the real world, and running the House of Representatives. They don’t represent anything I stand for, but there they are, upholding the conservative tradition that won Rumsfeld his ironic award. They’re trying to unravel the social safety net for millions who depend on it, telling us there’s no money to pay for it, all the while billions are spent on pointless wars and the richest are shielded from taxation. Their idea of social reform involves controlling women’s bodies, vilifying gays and immigrants, returning to dogmatic religious fundamentalism, and in general sending the country back to the Middle Ages.

    I wish they would take Cheney’s advice, and sit down and shut up. But in conservative world, that never seems to happen.

  6. If only Ms Dowd were similarly outraged by President Obama's foolish escalation of the unwinnable war in Afghanistan.

  7. The Paul supporters had it right. War criminals belong in prison. You can bet that Rumsfeld will not be taking his book tour "out of town".

  8. Oh I'm sorry, I think that scene where Michael Coreleone disposes of his enemies are in the first Godfather movie. Sorry about the error.

  9. Now Rummy's been at it quite long,
    Almost like a popular song,
    Were he to relive Life
    Plunge anew into strife
    He'd be right, because he's never wrong.

    Take Obama on Security,
    He's reversed quite a bit, as we see,
    Of Fancy a Flight?
    Or is Rummy right?
    "He's listening to Dick Cheney!"

  10. McNamara's death-bed conversion counts little to those we senselessly slaughtered. As for Rumsfeld, why even bother? Let the Tea Party jeer him. The current Administration, one might note, has hardly repudiated the policies of the last group of mindless interventionists who ordered up deaths so easily; and the war machine grinds on.

  11. "There are the lies you know that we lied about, and the lies that you don't know that we lied about, and then there are the lies that we lied about knowing about." - Rumsfeld

  12. Too late now.
    Where was the liberal left-wing media when we were invading Iraq? Embedded or in bed with the insatiable dogs of war.
    Giddy with excitement in their night-vision goggles.
    Finally, something to bring America back to their televisions. Even better than the stolen election, and although not as compelling as the towers crashing to earth, the invasion allowed those images to be played over and over again, whenever there was an uncomfortable pause in the search for the elusive WMD.
    I was watching when George Stephanopolous asked Rummy why we hadnt found the weapons. Credit where it's due, at least the fully
    coiffed George asked the question. The Secretary's answer is now
    famous-- I would say infamous-- but let's not quibble. What shocked me then, now and forever was the complete lack of any follow-up. George could have said....North, South, East and West of Baghdad AND Tikrit? Isnt that the whole fathermocking country, Don? Arent you just making this up as you go along?
    Yellowcake...from Africa! That narrows it down.
    When Colin Powell held up that little vial of something at the UN, I said is that the best you can do? They had bupkis, and I waited for the liberal media to start asking questions, but it never happened.
    It was refreshing to watch the Egyptians questioning their government,
    standing up--literally--for truth and transparency. Maybe they can twitter some of that idealism in this direction.

  13. It is not just ego that is preventing Rumsfeld and other leading Republicans from re-evaluating the failed foreign policies that they enacted under the Bush Administration. It is also that much of the Republican Party and the conservative movement as a whole is caught up in a huge echo chamber in which no amount of dissent is allowed. And unfortunately, too much of our media is focused on active cheerleading for conservatives, lame "he-said, she-said" reporting that does nothing to inform readers of what reality is, and/or mindless fluff, which means that it is hard to break through the echo chamber or reveal it for the failed mindset that is within it.

    The problem with this echo chamber is that it has led the Republican Party to continue to stick with a failed foreign policy approach that led to an unnecessary war in Iraq, a failure to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden, difficulties with trying and convicted terrorists who we capture, and an alienation of allies that are needed to take on international terrorist networks or address the other critical issues facing our planet (such as climate change). The echo chamber has also left the Republican Party beholden to failed economic policies that have led to increasing national debt, collapse of the financial and real estate markets, high levels of unemployment, the decline of the middle class, and a steadily growing gap between the rich and the poor.

    Democracy works only when there is a real debate of what ideas and policies are best for our country. But when one side remains wedded to obviously failed ideas and the media refuses to in any way challenge it, such debate cannot occur.

  14. Runsfeld's web site looks like he is preparing for his war crimes trial, which he will lose. He is cherry picking memos the same as he cherry picked the "intelligence" he would allow in his door and ignored every shred of actual intelligence that contradicted his foregone conclusions.

    Rumsfeld wanted war. Period. To realize his neoconservative fantasy: unchallenged military domination of the planet Earth by the U.S.A. -- and privatization of everything thrown in for good measure.

    Well, look at Egypt, Don. All your bombs and all your guns mean nothing against a population mobilized to kick you and people like you up the stairs to the gallows where you belong.

  15. Cheney and Rumsfeld are clearly evil. George W. is inadequate, but also shares responsibility for the criminal events in the US invasion of Iraq. The buck still stops at the president's desk.

  16. When it comes to self-reflection, Rumsfeld must be standing in a house of mirrors. His world is distorted and he doesn't recognize it or simply refuses to. He visited a House of Horrors upon the American and Iraqi people. What a man, what a man, what a really bad man......

  17. Your comparison with Robert McNamara is apt. I remember first encountering him, as a college student, in the film The Fog of War. Without knowing much else about him, I could deduce from the film that 1) he had seriously screwed up and 2) he still had the core of a decent human being inside of him. As I learned more about the Cold War, how the men in the Johnson and Nixon administrations could have made such awful judgments became more clear. It did not, unfortunately, reduce the horrible consequences of those decisions, but it did at least make their mindsets understandable, if still far from admirable.

    But with the Cheney/Rumsfeld set, I get no such sensation. I simply cannot explain their behaviors or their resilient inability to take responsibility for their mistakes in any way that results in them maintaining some basic decency. This astonishes me - history does have plenty of Just Bad Men in it, but they are usually far and few between. Usually history is a complex thing, even on the individual level - but sometimes, we are handed a couple of characters which are exactly as shallow as they appear. Or so it seems. If someone knows how these men remain comfortable with themselves, and why they are unable to acknowledge what everyone else sees so plainly, I would love to hear your insights.

  18. I thought by now you might move on like your left wing friends say! Maybe even think about about all those Muslim women getting the chance to vote for the first time in "History". Or, all the Muslim women having the courage to march in the streets of Tehran and now Cairo for the first time - some killed.

    Thank you Rummy!

  19. ...Or no facts at all.

  20. And then there's all that depleted uranium weaponry still on the ground, which nobody bothers to mention or remember.

  21. Part of the motivation for going to war was to teach Americans that one can make whatever reasons to go to war, and that it does not matter. This is what happened to Germany in August 1914, when Germany attacked several countries on the flimsiest reasons. the Germans then learned to go to war for the flimsiest reasons. That was a desired effect.

    Germany ended much more fascist. We know what happened next.

  22. I agree completely with Ms. Down regarding the devastating hubris of Rummy. However, it always pains me when good writers use French in order to make a clever point. The phrase is "je ne regrette rien - adding the "pas" is a double negative. It's English translation is "I don't regrette nothing." Next time - run it by the NYU world language department.

  23. Rummy is just a criminal. It is unfortunate for the integrity of the United States, that Mr. Rumsfeld is not held to the same judicial standard of moral behavior we have heretofore tried and convicted such criminals.

    He lied. He knew he lied. Now is he lying about lying.

    And the 5000 American dead, their families, the 50,000 wounded at least, their lives and struggles, jobless, homeless even...

    Try him.

  24. He was the wrong guy for the wrong job at the wrong time in history. They defiled American legitimacy as well as our entire system of governance. They cackle that Obama hasn’t closed down Guantanamo and that we still have the policy of drone attacks. How can he? Handed a war that they started and extremists they created, Obama has inherited a country they have driven entirely into the ground. Then they snicker at the terrible inheritance they have bestowed upon our president. Agreed, far worse than McNamara. What proper award can be bestowed on two old men for bringing the greatest super power and possible force of good the world has ever seen to its knees?

  25. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld while in office never abalogized for anything. In fact they felt it was a sign of weakness to apalogize. That is the extent of their arrogance. Do we really expect them to kick that old habit now? The only thing that can humble them in the end is the search light of acadamic historians. For now, Bush, Cheney and rumsfeld are doing their best while they still live to write it their own way. On that I say, where the objective, dispassionate independent historians that will save us from these hollow men?

  26. Is it just me or has anybody else ever noticed how many children of parents who were divorced from reality grew up to be drug addicted? It’s an interesting question, at least for me but I would love to see a study on this. From my own personal experience it propels a child deep into massive confusion trying to figure out if what he/she thinks is true is in fact true. In the meantime the parent is obfuscating, lying and parenting sheer confusion into the child’s mind. The end result is a turning to an anesthetic to soften the pain of trying to live with a cognitive dissonance. Often it takes decades for you to grow up (like some of the Rumsfeld children) to get a handle of what really is true and what were blatant lies taught to you because the parent adamantly refused to be adult enough to say “I was wrong”! It’s a shame because some children never make it to growing up to realize that their parent was just a common everyday pathological liar!

  27. Every single American should be ashamed. And we went shopping and continue to do do. Maybe the Great Recession is magical retribution. I used to sadly joke the difference between a Republican president and a Democrat is the number of dead the Republicans leave behind. Little difference between the two parties otherwise. I wish there were more to be proud of.

  28. Let us pause for a moment to reflect upon the curious twist of fate that our high-minded sociopolitical philosopy so consistently selects sociopaths for the highest offices of the land.

    We see in Rumsfeld a somwhat more elongated and gaunt instantiation of the archetype exemplified by Vizzini (of "The Princess Bride"): Amoral, narcissistic and grandiose. Oblivious of human comapssion and all untouched by the frothing billows of sewage upon which he surfs, he blithely opines, "Stuff happens!"

    His grave will be visited only by those who have the need to relieve themselves.

  29. The shallow progressives on the Times editorial staff apparently know two historical analogies: JFK and Vietnam.

    The only comparison between Iraq and Vietnam is that we invaded both countries. In the case of Vietnam we lost 56,000 men, and in the case of Iraq we lost about 4,000. In Vietnam, we had the war won (the Paris peace accords), but we abandoned the country after the Democratic sweep in the post Watergate era. The implications were stunning: Pol Pot, the killing fields, the Jimmy Carter era and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The Vietnam war was an extension of the Cold War and a microcosm of the ideological struggle between communism and capitalism. The Vietnam War was also the last war fought using the draft, and we saw the effect of rising affluence - many Americans weren't as eager to suit up and fight as they were to find refuge on a nice college campus, smoke pot and party.

    In Iraq, we fought against a loose coalition of terrorists, some of whom were supplied by Tehran and Damascus. We rid the country of a madman, left the country on honorable terms, and have given it a fighting chance for a decent government.

    Today, you might see 3 Arab countries with representative governments - Iraq, Egypt and Tunisia. While our role in these developments is debatable, it was not nothing.

    In 20 years, liberals might be saying nice things about W. Stranger things have happened.

  30. Rummy. Cheney. I want the out of any position of power. In fact, I want them in jail for war crimes. As this isn't going to happen, let's consign them to the dust bin of history. No two people did more acts against the Constitution and the American people's best interest than these two. In my view they are triable for treason.

  31. Only in America can stuff like this happen, goodness gracious! This sneering, sorry excuse for a human being personifies unmitigated arrogance and contempt for contrition. It is as if he would be a lesser human being if he owned up to some ghastly errors in his judgment. When I feel outraged, I say to myself that I should not be because the over 5000 mothers, fathers, spouses and siblings who lost their family members do not feel that their kith and kin died in vain for a lost cause. Thank God, military service is not obligatory in this country that is run by charlatans and simpletons.

  32. It's too bad that the title "Mad Men" is already taken because that would more aptly describe a book depicting the psychological make-up of the architects of the Iraq invasion.In Rumsfeld's case a book solely about would accurately be titled "Mad Man".

    I once saw a riveting documentary about a man who raped an 80 year old woman. At his parole hearing, which the woman and her family attended, the rapist, six years later, was asked to describe his feelings about his crime. He went on the describe his totally intellectualized analysis of why people rape,including his own act. There was no real emotion, sense of personal responsibility or actual remorse beyond hollow words. The man was a sociopath, His parole was of course denied.

    Donald Rumsfeld is a sociopath. His parole hearing unfortunately will have to take place in the next life when he meets his Maker, and receives a proper and just sentence for his crimes. Dress for summer Rummy!

    Rumsfeld's remark that "many things cost lives in war" is a classic sociopathic response. No emotion, no sense of personal responsibility, the absence of empathy,intellectualized, and with a undercurrent of indignation at even being asked such a question. There are many serial killers, rapists, and murderers in maximum security prisoners all over the country who will give similar answers when discussing their crimes.

    Rumsfeld's "anticipatory self defense" is an amazingly clear example of psychological defense mechanisms operating in the minds of sociopathic and paranoid personalities. These people also have a high degree of narcissism and are highly intelligent as Rumsfeld's clever Orwellian "anticipatory self defense" justification for his actions confirm.

    There is also a psychological defense mechanism known as Projective Identification, whereby a person possessed with an overwhelming degree of anger and rage projects that anger on to another individual or group and then identifies that person or group as a threat that he must defend himself against,more often than not with acts of violence. In using the term "Anticipatory self defense." Rumsfeld is actually describing his own psychological defensive character structure as well as other people who are riddled with sociopathic, paranoid and narcissistic pathologies. Unbeknownst to his deluded and arrogant self, Rumsfeld is revealing his personal pathology to the world. Such people are often betrayed by there own arrogance and narcissism because immersed with the delusion of their superiority and omnipotence, they make mistakes and trip themselves up. It is how many such people end up getting caught and confessing to their crimes.

    Rumsfeld reveals himself to be totally mad, because if he had any shred of sanity or any sense of a dawning conscience or human empathy he would want to appear in some ways a sympathetic figure to the public or in the case of McNamara, reveal a sense of guilt, personal responsibility and remorse.

    Rumsfeld is as deluded, pathetic,and out of touch as Hosni Mubarak was when he delivered his arrogant, removed from reality speech to Egyptians before he was finally ousted from office.

    A just title to a book describing the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld trifecta of insanity as American leaders would aptly be "The Reign of the Sociopaths. When Mad Men Ruled: American Foreign Policy 2000-2008"

  33. Thanks for that column. Now let’s all wait for our most patriotic, freedom loving Australian (oh, sorry sir, I meant American) citizen RM to let his fair and balanced hound dogs go wild on General Shaffer’s memo. I hear these guys are really aggressive; won’t let any obstacles, even trivial things like truth stand in their way of hard hitting journalism. Throw in the rest of our fearless journalists and we got something here. But, on second thought, I think it might be better for my sanity if I dash to the local bar and get drunk to drown my sorrow. Gotta run.
    In a way, I envy those brave Egyptians. They only had to face down machine guns and tanks. We have to contend with lobbyists and their powerful corporate bosses. The Egyptians woke up one day with truth starring them in the face. We wake up every day to some of the most advanced and slick propaganda machines in the history of men. Oh man, do I need a drink!

  34. One point, first, of clarification. George Tenet was the slam dunker, not Rumstud. Some might think, with the passage of about eight years, that Rummy was the one who made that statement. He certainly indicates now that he was as positive as anyone else, however, about WMD at that time and has not backed down from the assertion that the administration was acting in good faith on the information they had at the time.

    There is something quite interesting in Rumsfeld's beliefs about his conduct of his office as relates to the belatedly regretful McNamara. BOTH Rumseld and McNarama did not see themselves as the creators of the wars they oversaw. McNamara said, in his lengthy on camera interviews, that he saw his job as carrying out what the president wanted done, not telling the president what he should or should not do. (He apparently carried that stance to the very end of his term as Defense Secretary when, confronted with new found candor, Johnson got rid of him, forthwith.) Rumsfeld was asked several years ago if he had any regrets about the loss of men and women he had sent to war. He replied that he had not sent anyone to war, the president had. In other words, he also saw himself as a technician, not a close adviser, not someone who would tell the president a certain thing, a war, should not be carried out.

    In one of the memos that Rumsfeld has now made available and written when he was a young congressman, he noted that he and others had been given a farce like "briefing" on the Vietnam war at the White House and that President Johnson, of all people, was shifting responsibility for Vietnam to his predecessors Kennedy and Eisenhower and all the advisers still in the administration who came after Kennedy's death, including McNamara. Astounding. Everyone was shifting responsibility on to someone else, including the president. Rumsfeld noted in that same memo that no one had ever asked and apparently the advisers had never offered any opinions about whether the whole idea of Vietnam was a good idea. It was as if Vietnam was happening on its own.

    This slippery ability to shift responsibility could be one reason that Rumsfeld is still so insistently self confident, despite the cascade of disasters that hit the U.S. in Iraq and that continues to this day in Afghanistan. He wasn't in charge. At least, no so far as he sees it. This is a remarkable slight of mind trick.

    The separate statements of Rumsfeld and McNamara suggest a deep failing in the highest levels of our American governmental system. It could be one underlying reason that a late life believer in wars and naked power, Cheney, could lead the Bush II administration around by the nose for almost eight years. It could be a partial explanation for why we fail so often to get things right, even when they are staring blankly us in the face, as they were for more than two weeks in Egypt. It suggests to me that we are lost at sea and no one knows how to get us to shore. No one.

    Doug Terry

    The references that were used in these comments came from the following sources: "The Fog of War" an astoundingly brilliant documentary about the career of Robert McNamara. If you haven't seen it, get it.

    The comment by Rumsfeld in regard to regrets on the loss of life, I believe, came during Rumsfeld's closing days at the Pentagon, perhaps during his last news conference.

    The memo written by Rumseld to which I referred is the one he wrote as a congressman in reference to a series of briefings held for congressmen after vice-president Humphrey returned from Vietnam. It was apparently one of two successive briefings held for Congress at the White House, at the end of which President Johnson told the Members, "Don't say you weren't ever briefed". Rumsfeld comes off as alert, intelligent and concerned about the Vietnam situation in that contemporaneous memo and he says he asked challenging questions about the war. Since this was a contemporary memo, it has much more weight than one written long after the fact, to my mind.

  35. Glad to see that you keep banging on that drum, Maureen. You’re one of the few that does.

    The fabrication of WMD threats to justify going to war in Iraq was the most egregious abuse of power in our country since Watergate. And yet, where is the outrage? Part of the problem is that there has never been a complete accounting of what happened in the press or in Congress. The little that we do know from press accounts is that Cheney/Rumsfeld and company set up an intelligence shop under Doug Feith within the Defense Dept. that found the intelligence that they felt the rest of the intelligence community was too wimpy to find. This ‘intelligence’ was sent directly to the press without any peer review. (Heck, doctors have more peer review when they try to publish an article in a medical journal.) Yet there is plenty, plenty we still do not know.

    It is mind boggling that we can spend billions and billions on intelligence every year and a cabal of a half dozen or so neocons can essentially circumvent the entire intelligence community, the CIA, the Defense Dept and elsewhere, cherry pick evidence that most of the professional intelligence community thinks is shaky, and use that ‘evidence’ as the basis to go to war. Where is the outrage in the general population? And, where was the outrage amongst our elected representatives?

    At least in the Watergate scandal, there was a proper Congressional investigation, people understood exactly what happened, how far the corruption went, and then Congress enacted laws to try to prevent that type of abuse of power again. With the Iraq/ WMD scandal, we don’t know exactly what happened and we have not enacted laws to prevent a similar abuse of power, to prevent our country going to war unnecessarily because a small group of those in power gins up evidence.

    When President Obama began his term, he chose not to pursue Congressional investigations of the justifications for the Iraq War, saying that they might prove to be too divisive. Shouldn’t the concern about preventing unjust wars have trumped that?

    Americans like to think that we are the model of democracy and we look at the despotic regimes in the Mideast with a self-righteous attitude. But when we look at what happened in the prelude to the Iraq War, we should remind ourselves that democracy (like marriage) is something that continually requires work.

  36. I found it particularly telling that the picture of the envoy to Iraq and Saddam Hussein when he was useful to us under the Reagan Administration was none other than Rumsfeld. Later it was the same Rumsfeld who led the charge to stab him in the back once he'd outlived his usefulness. Though as a political counterweight to Iran, you'd think they'd have thought he'd still have some value to the political stability of the region. To be void of conscience is how they (Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld) must be able to sleep at night. Saddam Hussein may have been nowhere near being a saint by any definition, but these who've instigated illegal wars on our behalf have severe tarnish on their halos at the least.

    At lest the Egyptians have proved to the world that you don't need an American invasion to change your regime. A fact that must have the war-mongering oil-exploiting set speechless. Even if they do come out to perch from time to time and crow about their illegalities. A shame we have not seen fit to have them write their memoirs from jail cells for war crimes committed, proceeds from the sale of same going to finance the hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan for the treatment of those our imperialistic hubris have sent there.

  37. How can one have a serious conversation about the travesty of Iraq and not mention oil? Securing Iraq and Kuwait's oil was the only reason for the invasion. Bush may have had his daddy issues, the neocon's their ivory tower (yes, they attend those schools too) new world order fantasies, but we invaded for their oil. The only ministry we secured upon invading was the oil ministry. (Who needs priceless antiquities?)

    We need leadership willing to invest billions in solar and other alternative energies for long term progress instead of investing in death and destruction for short term gain. Sadly, that leadership is nowhere to be found. Perhaps we need our own Tahrir Square.

  38. To aid in the understanding of men such as Cheney and Rumsfeld I recommend the work of Gitta Sereny, the Austrian historian. Sereny's inquiries into the behavior and moral character of highly positioned men guilty of war crime is eminently useful and insightful.

    Also an applicable reference is Stanton Samenow's Inside the Criminal Mind from 1984.

  39. I have a calculator handy, so I took a crack at estimating how much Rummy knew that he knew.

    "We range from 0% to about 75% knowledge on various aspects of their program"

    OK, I'm feeling generous, so I'll take that to say we had 50% of the possible knowledge.

    "Our knowledge of the Iraqi nuclear weapons program is based largely — perhaps 90% — on analysis of imprecise intelligence."

    Hmm. At first glance, this means that only 10% of our intelligence was precise. But I'm a glass-half-full kind of guy. If "perhaps" 90% was imprecise, maybe 60% of the 90% was actually precise. Which means we had, being generous, 0.6 times 0.9 = 54% precision in the imprecise portion of our intelligence. Add back the 10% that we knew to be precise in the first place. Now we've got a whopping 64% share of confidence in our intelligence.

    Going back to how much we knew that we knew, (maybe 50%), we were somewhere between 10% and 64% confident in that knowledge, so we confidently knew that we knew between 5 and 32% of the truth.

    Apparently, those looked like good odds for Rummy. Maybe he figured that if the longshot came through, he'd have some cool WMDs for his trophy room, while the more likely outcome would still lead to a book deal.

    I wish I didn't know now what Rummy didn't know then.

  40. To Patrice Ayme

    "Germany attacked several counries on the flimisiest reasons"

    Well, that opinion is exactly part of the big anglo - saxon narration about the causes of the Great War, It has been a successful narrative as far as justification of past armed conflicts go, and it has been followed up by consistently the same practice any time the two empires have gone to war: America's and the Empire's opponents are, must be, criminals. Never mind the facts on the ground. In Vietnam, clearly America was a perpetrator. In Iraq, while the criminal nature of the Saddam Hussein regime is beyond question, the result has been hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, millions displaced, and a million iraqi christians (chaldeans, arab catholics) driven out of the country. Was it worth it? For the sake of hunting down "the criminals"? And installing another corrupt regime?

    Back to 1914. As we all know, the war ended with Germany and Austria defeated largely by US - intervention, and branded criminals as a consequence. They had, in fact, behaved no different from all other nations at war, and had gone to war for perfectly legitimate reasons as far as international law at the time saw it. They were then stripped of purely or largely ethnical German territories and cities that had been theirs for 500 - 1000 years and even more. And that was the main reason why many Germans from 1920 to 1939 wanted retribution and eagerly followed the Austrian born dictator, who promised restoration of the Reich's honor. Fine delivery, it has to be admitted. We got stripped of even more land in our posession for 1000 years, and were also handed the destruction of Bohemia's and Prague's - Prague was a German - speaking city, anyone remember? - German heritage, plus the self - inflicted annihilation of the Jewish - German Element in the European East, which should have been, and had been, an invaluable asset for us.

    While all of that may well have served Britain's interest, what good did America's intervention in the Great War of 1914 do to Europe?

    And to America? Probably the best way out of America's present calamities is to rethink the narrative about the 20th century and the benefecial, civilizing influence of the Great Anglo Powers. They may not under all circumstances have been as benign as they think they always have been.

  41. after the recent facts in egypt one cannot but wonder;
    if to topple a 30 years entrenched dictator what it takes is time and patience and to no cost for our treasury...
    why did our geniuses, experts in wars and foreign policy and the arab world didn't apply this strategy instead of bogging us down economically and militarily in iraq and afghanistan?
    the answer is that they were not only in bad faith but also amateurs, pretending to be pros but down below amateurs.
    Yes this is how the last administration, with maybe the notable exception of Paul O'Neal,and maybe Colin Powell, will be judged by history, amateurs at the helm....
    What really worries me is that republicans seem to think that sending even more unqualified people to office will miraculously solve things.
    I wonder if they use the same criteria they use for choosing politicians when it's time to chose their heart surgeon......

  42. I am perplexed by a man that can get weepy over the recollection of his wife's near death yet not show any emotion, much less remorse over the many that died because of his extraordinary bad judgment and refusal to listen to those that were well informed. If I had made decisions that resulted in lost lives I would feel remorse, even if I was 100% sure I had had no other better choice. I can forgive people that have the fortitude to admit mistakes but I can only shake my head over those who don't.

  43. I have been in the USA at the time when the decision to attack Iraq was made. As a European weenie I got involved in many discussions. The majority of people just wanted revenge for 9/11 and did blindly trust the president and his guys. Go back to the forum archive of the NYT and read.

    Not only Rumsfield, Cheney and and Bush are guilty. There were also millions of Americans who felt so exceptional and superior to the rest of the world, that international rules could no longer stop them.

    As a German citicen I know how difficult it is to take responsibility for your nation's crimes. But to regret, to prosecute the villains, and to compensate the suriving victims are the only ways how you can regain the respect of other people. The USA still has not started this process.
    At least someone should stop Rumsfeld and Cheney to taunt the victims.

  44. Rumsfeld is nobody now. I watch only recorded TV programs (after 43 years in this country I still cannot stand commercials) but the fast forward also helps to skip over Rumsfeld's interviews (two nights in a row!) with Sawyer. It is difficult to tell who was worse: Cheney or Rumsfeld. Bush let Rumsfeld go but was stuck with Cheney.

    Rumsfeld arrogance is still boundless. His condenscension to ordinary people is quite unique - rarely expressed so clearly and shamelessly. I did not know about the memo Dowd quotes - it is an old story now but very illustrative.

    The Democrats in Congress, including Hillary, bought the lies without a slightest attempt to check the facts. So did, for that matter, the New York Times. Obama was a rare exception.

    Unfortunately, it will happen again in the future. Our Constitution gives the president almost absolute power to start and wage wars following all kind of 'unknown knowns' or 'known unknowns'. Vietnam started with a strange Tonkin Gulf 'incident', no reason to rehash the reasons for invading Iraq. The bottom line: if a president wants a war, his obedient servants are more than ready to give him some 'reasons' for doing so. Well rewarded for their efforts - like highest medals this country can bestow.

    Interesting that the Constitution with its definition of the president as the Commander in Chief was written before the imperial era that started some 60 years later and culminated after WWII. The Founding Fathers meant well but did not anticipate presidents like Johnson or Bush 43.

    Hopefully, Obama will not start any war despite the urging of Israel and others to invade Iran (Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Lebanon, etc.). Even that is not 100% sure.

  45. I would like to extend an invitation to Rummy to come to Germany. His buddy George didn't have the nerve to step foot in Switzerland. It was little faux pas that occured during the whole American press Egypt distraction. Why didn't George visit and why won't Rummy visit? Because my fellow Americans, Donald and George are considered war criminals over here for torchuring and murdering prisoners of war.

  46. “We don’t know with any precision how much we don’t know.” Typical Rummy-speak, echoing his famous "known knowns" and "known unknowns" gobbledygook.

    The fact is Rumsfeld, Bush and Cheney put Americans in harm's way, justifying their actions by brazenly lying to America and the world.

    Rumsfeld is known for his stilted vocabulary. But he should have listened to, and taken advice from, some of his more sensible quotes:

    "Arguments of convenience lack integrity and inevitably trip you up." - As in lying about WMD for the convenience of sending Americans to war.

    "Be precise. A lack of precision is dangerous when the margin of error is small." - Were there precise assessments regarding the lives that would be lost and the money that would be spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Where is Osama Bin Laden?

    "Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war." - Are there wars without any deaths?

    "I can't tell you if the use of force in Iraq today will last five days, five weeks or five months, but it won't last any longer than that." - It'll be 8 years and counting in March this year.

    "I don't do quagmires." - Americans know a quagmire when they see one.

    "It is easier to get into something than to get out of it." - They should have really thought of this before getting into the quagmire.

    "Presidential leadership needn't always cost money. Look for low- and no-cost options. They can be surprisingly effective." - Leading the country to war is a low- and no-cost option?

    "Treat each federal dollar as if it was hard earned; it was - by a taxpayer." - As in hundreds of billions of dollars of hard-earned taxpayer money spent on those wars.

    "There are a lot of people who lie and get away with it, and that's just a fact." - Yes, Rumsfeld, Bush and Cheney brazenly lied through their teeth, and they're still trying to get away with it. And that's just a fact.

  47. Interesting to me that we were willing to go to war based on a 10% confidence level which was apparently not based on any actual rational assessment, whereas the same political crew would not want to do anything about global warming based on a much higher probability. With arguably higher stakes over time than even a nuclear attack on a city.

  48. How did our great nation, with all the talented people we have, and all the celebrations of our Christian faith end up with such a callous man, Rumsfeld, making such important decisions that sent our young men and women to their early deaths, with hardly any valid and provable data?

    What can we learn from this monsters shortcomings so that we can truly avoid another such massive debacle?

  49. You can blame the USA leadership but America is an imperialist nation. It's largest consistent investment of resources is in the waste products of war, weapons, and its greatest return on investment is in the waste products of war, humans. History belongs to the victors, that is, leaders not jailed or hung. At least during the Viet Nam conflagration American patriots took to the streets. Today the replacement generations play video games where they virtually slaughter humans and destroy values. The leadership thugs of yesterday have been replaced with the thugs of today and I see no difference. An indignant letter to the Times doesn't hack it when compared to an actual vote and only 40 percent of eligible voters bothered last November. the other 60 percent are de facto tea partyers, like it or not.

  50. Rumsfeld is almost beyond classifying, hopefully we won't see anyone like him soon. It is said that almost anyone who sees war sees it as the abomination it is.

    I spoke with a Vietnam vet a few years back, the kind of man who I would have thought supported the effort. Instead, he told me what a waste of lives it had been. Only by truly seeing can we be awakened.

  51. Don't blame me: in 1964 I volunteered for Lynne Williams (a conservative Dem by the standards of the day) running against Rummy for Congress. On second thought, perhaps I (we) should have worked harder.But is was a solid Repub district so sometimes, the good fight is worth it if only because it must be fought. Rumsfeld was a self-satisfied jerk, albeit a smart jerk, then as now. And yes, McNamara was always more complicated and smarter, too. His story is almost tragic in a classical sense; Rumsfeld's is not.

  52. Make Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bush live at Walter Reed for a month and make them observe how the maimed soldiers will be struggling for the rest of their lives - then perhaps their stone cold unrepentant heart might soften a tad.

  53. The whole "known unkowns" thing is just pseudo-intellectual, wannabe-military gibberish. Surprising he'd use that as the title of his book. The book, by the way, apparently (not that I would ever waste time reading it) confirmed some of our worst imaginings about why Bush and Rummy went to war - turns out Saddam threatened Bush's family. Definitely worth a trillion-dollar vendetta and hundreds of thousands of lives... not.

  54. Only in their veiled caustic attempts at comedy directed at each other do these two; Cheney and Rumsfeld give any indication of inner realization of their true behavior and their reasons for self condemnation. Narcisism and arrogance overcomes all.

  55. When you think about it, there's so much stuff we don't know, from the collapse of the Soviet Union to the downfall of the Egyptian government we'd better declare war on the whole world because obviously there's alot of stuff we don't know.

    Rumsfeld missed his calling. He should have been a comedian.

  56. When the history book of our age is finally closed, the name "Rumsfeld" will be writ large as emblematic of American hypocrisy following our prosecution of the Nuremberg and Tokyo Trials. The best laid plans of mice and men (circa 1945) often go awry. Profiting from book sales driven by his notoriety from unconscionable behavior is beyond the pale of basic human decency.

  57. I watched Diane Sawyer interview Rumsfeld while eating dinner. Big mistake. The infinity of his hubris gave me instant indigestion. I chowed a roll of antacid for dessert.

  58. We'll never see these men admit their misdeeds. I believe that this quote sums up their position:

    "Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof." --John Kenneth Galbraith

  59. We don't know how much we don't know about how badly the Bush Administration bungled our attempt to bring Bin Laden to justice after 9-11, while doing irreparable damage to the United States, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

    But I'll betcha they did a lot of stuff that we'll never know about that would make our skins crawl.

    Maybe we should preemptively throw them all in jail based upon our analytic assumptions about what we don't know about all those awful things we think they probably did.

  60. The fog of Vietnam war haunted Robert McNamara until his death. The ghost of Iraq war will haunt every conscience striken politician who voted for it. As Patrick Moynihan would have said Rumsfield is entitled to his own opinions but he is not entitled to his own facts. The political and economic consequences of wars in the past have taken their toll in the form of millions of lives. Neoconservatism got it wrong in the 21st century with the Iraq war. Poor intelligence and cover ups which defined the Iraq war have become history. The economic consequences of the Iraq war is not yet history, and will linger on for a while. Politicians should be held responsible for their actions even after they leave office. Elections are meant to do just that. Conservatives in England considered their own party as being "leaderless" in 1944 when war-driven Prime Minister Churchill lost his domestic focus. He lost the election in 1945 after winning the war. Politicians, there is a lesson to be learnt here. Peacetime apologies do not make up for wartime mistakes.

  61. How unfortunate that Tina Turner herself couldn't been at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday. I have a feeling she would have put her notorious stilettos to good use at the audacity of her song being inappropriately used.

  62. I don't expect better from Rumsfeld and his sick friends but what really hurt is Obama's being no different than these people regarding government policy.

  63. I had a friend who went to school with Rumsfeld and knew him.

    In the end, she who had thought highly of him was ashamed of him.

    If only he could be that honest with himself...but honesty was never his strong suit.

    As to Obama, he's got his Bush tax cuts and his good buddy Don 'the Dummy' Rumsfeld at his back. What else could he want (except re-election)?

  64. For all the idealism that is associated with America, its very sad to see Rummy walking the streets of this great nation as a free man, forever peddling the half truths and lies that led to a disastrous war, the death of many brave soldiers, innocent civilians and the polarization of modern American politics.

    The only place where Rummy should be allowed to roam as he markets his conspiracies should be the confines of a federal prison paying for the economic and war crimes he presided over in Abu Ghuraib.

  65. But there won't be any trials. Americans don't care about dead foreigners and they don't believe they can be wrong, or rather they think they are so superior to the rest of the human race that they can simply say "Shut Up." if anyone ever calls them out. We made a lot of enemies over there, my hunch is as the years go by it will come back to haunt us. As for our troops, well, they were from the lower classes mostly, so, enough said.

  66. I don't know why all the fuss about one more war criminal (make that two). We have so many standing by to fill the void.

  67. You go, Maureen!
    Unfortunately while Americans just love "justice" in western movies, we find it difficult to prosecute rich, powerful criminals in real life.
    Give Rummy, Cheney, W, Kissinger, et. al. a fair trial.
    Then hang them.

  68. You must write, Ms. Dowd, as someone has to say these things, but I know that no matter how much you, or Frank Rich, or anyone else at the NYT writes, it doesn't do much good. The Times would have to buy a network (like FOX) and send all of your messages out to America all day and all night on TV, in the paper, on the radio and in the blogosphere. Not going to happen is my guess.

    W. was elected so that his neo-con buddies could find a way to finish off Sadam Hussein. There was an article to that effect in the New Yorker before 9/11. I remember reading it on the subway and it gave me chills and made my stomach turn. I could hardly believe it, but it came to pass. Since W. was so incredibly blind and dumb, he was easily manipulated by these small, fearful, self-absorbed men (and one equally blind female) who felt it was their right to send young people off to die because they could. Without a President who would take on this evil-doing as a FIRST STEP in his young presidency, nothing at all will be done now, or ever, and we are all the worse for it. I wonder, would Hillary have done anything or would she have "looked the other way", too?

    As long as people buy and read his book, as long as people think he was doing "what was right and good" and as long as he can walk the streets (with bodyguards, of course!) thinking of himself as a "celebrity", this country is in a terrible mess. He isn't the source of the problems we have, but he is a very clear symbol. The worst thing, sadly, is that we have no leadership, no one with enough moral fiber and strength to stare this man and all like him and Cheney down, and do what is best for the planet, for the poor, sick and elderly, and take a stand for the America that should be, that COULD be. If the Egyptians can make a change, we could too, but we will need someone to stir things up and lead us in that direction and that person will not and could not ever be Mr. Obama. What a shame!

  69. I still remember how during this time the media reported everything the Bush administration said without any level of critical analysis. I remember how the authorization to use force was granted to help the administration get leverage in negotiations that they would only use if there was definitive proof of WMD's. So when none was found after chasing sites, officials and random trucks, the US decided to go to war anyways.

    Remember how the war was supposed to pay for itself? How Iraqis would welcome Americans in the streets? Rumsfield showed decisiveness, but about the wrong stuff. After landing in a country the size of California, we disband the Iraqi army and then only have 100,000 troops on the ground to defend the country and police the people.

    At least Rumsfeld should admit his mistakes. Instead he tries to propagandize his role in this painful, costly, and failed endeavor. Will the Times at least hold these revisionists accountable?

  70. Ovation for Rumsfeld and blood runs cold, but not as cold as the bodies of the dead produced by wars of aggression and choice.

    War Criminals - both of them. Send the to The Hague.

  71. Jeering the morally bankrupt leaders who's shoot first foreign policy (surprise, surprise!) did not work out so well is easy. Acknowledging, at long last, the limits of military power is the hard part. No matter how shocking and awing, brute force will not allow us to impose our will on the rest the world.

  72. To sekaesler5 (comment 22): Not to run this into the ground (I'm also annoyed by bad French usage)—while "Je ne regret rien pas" is totally incorrect (and translates to "I'm not sorry for anything not"), "je ne regrette rien" translates as "I'm not sorry for anything", or "I don't regret anything"—I'm not quite sure as to which phrase you are referring in your comment…

    But just a very small point in an otherwise upsetting editorial. I never cease to not understand "why" these people are getting away with murder, although the "how" is all too clear. Unfortunately, as Judge Baltasar Garzón appears to have been sidelined, is there no one in the States with the courage to legally confront Cheney and Rumsfeld? In that these people are so protected, one comes to see no real difference between the so-called free Western society the the US purportedly represents and the oppressed societies of the Middle East that these two were supposedly out to "save"…

  73. ...and the absence of eventual consensus by our western allies is simply an oversight on your part.

    Of the tens of thousands now hundreds of years beyond where they would have been politically absent out involvement and the thousands who never became toys for the sick soccer stadium cadre...they too deserve no mention.

    Imperfect men do imperfect things....often with better results than were anticipated or stated or even desired. The chirping years later at decisions and motivations are just that...little noises from folks safe from decisions past their own spell check.

  74. For people like Rummy and Cheney who have no conscience, why should we be surprised when they show no conscience? An empty glass is an empty glass.

  75. he does not regret anything because they knew very well what they were doing. protecting america's oil interests overseas.

  76. “Anticipatory self-defense" is illegal pre-emptive war.

    "Rendition" is illegal kidnapping.

    "Enhanced interrogation" is illegal torture.

    The Torture/ Murder / Treason thugs cheney, bush jr and rummy belong in a dungeon for their psycho-sexual war crimes not on book tours still profiting from their war.

  77. Rumsfeld's War was a classic case of a solution in search of a problem.
    But because we make such a fetish of and glorify war into patriotism.... love and devotion and loyalty to our country....
    that we all got sucked into the quagmire of deceit, destruction and death.
    When will we ever learn?

  78. Has Dowd dared to notice the inconvenient truth that Obama's foreign policy is hardly different from Bush's. Continuity and not "hope and change" is the reality in evidence for the past two years.

  79. Cheney and Rumsfeld are both war criminals; the fact that they have gotten away with murder does not make them any less so.

  80. Ah, Richard Cheney, who never fails to remind us of why he goes by the diminutive form of Richard that he does.

    These two are totally despicable. When I think of the fine young Americans and the thousands of Iraqis who are no longer alive due to the bad decisions of these two draft dodgers, along with another draft dodger Bush, I am sickened.

  81. Rumsfeld, Cheney, and GWBush, are psychopaths without a shred of a conscience...with GWB having the added feature of being stupid as a sack of rocks. Yet, this axis of evil was re-elected in 2004, even after we knew what they are...which speaks volume for our electorate.

  82. My heart breaks for the families of those killed in this unnecessary war who read about the follies of Cheney and Rumsfeld.

    They can try to rewrite history but they can't mop up the spilled blood and ruined lives.

  83. The arrogance and unrepentant narcissism run very, very deep among the "neo-cons," indeed, right-wingers generally. We follow them at our peril.

  84. As a "Defender of the Constitution," Rumsfeld found the part that allows torture, which everyone else had missed for 200 years!

  85. What was Saddam going to do with 500 tons of uranium, which was later sold to Canada after we invaded Iraq? Was he going to supply the world's largest Timex indiglo factory with it? Were not members of congress also advised with the latest intelligence assessment of Saddam, and did they all not vote on authorizing force? Was not Saddam offered a chance to avoid war with a final ultimatum which he scoffed at? Did not Obama recently take credit for the success we have in Iraq, especially after Bush's "surge"? Why should the secretary of defense apologize for doing his job? He was neither "the decider", a diplomat, nor a congress member. Rummy's job was to get the job done, which he did.

  86. You can be a student of history if you like, Maureen. But from where I am sitting, Donald Rumsfeld is the most unctuous individual who ever lived. His patronizing sneer, sanctimonious rhetoric and guileless contempt for the common man distinguishes him as a true American villain. He is a man walking around without a soul, and the question is whether or not he ever had one to begin with. The greatest irony was when he visited the troops before his resignation. When did he ever care about them? All he ever did was order them to die, and to die for no reason anyone can discern other than to serve his own insatiable need for attention.

  87. I thought when I read the title this piece was going to be about Obama. Nothing about Egypt?

  88. I thought it was against the law for criminals to benefit from their crimes? All of this book proceeds should go to paying down the deficit.

  89. Yes, but cherry-picking one secret report out of dozens/hundreds does not make a convincing argument. What did the other reports from other sources say?

  90. Donald Rumsfeld reminds me of the Rhoda Penmark character in "The Bad Seed". Both show no remorse for the havoc they cause.

  91. It's a little difficult to determine who's the most delusional from the Bush Jr. Administration. Rumsfeld who still doesn't comprehend that nation and indeed the world are fully aware they fictionalized factual reports to produce the reports they wanted and that we all know that Rumsfeld seriously underestimated military situations both in Iraq and Afghanistan to the detriment of this nation. Or Cheney who continues to act as if he were indeed a former military officer rather than the 'I-ain't-going, you-can't-make-me-go, 5-deferments non-military guy that he is. And George, who still can't figure out why most of the world dislikes him, he's like a child who can't figure out why everyone in school doesn't want to be his friend which doesn't say much about his emotional maturity.

    Though you have to hand it to George, he is aware that the environment they created which allowed them to act as they wished to, the 'if you ain't with us, you're against us' world has gone away ... Rumsfeld and Cheney haven't accepted that reality.

  92. Human beings MUST learn about the nature of sociopaths. As Karen Garcia said in this comments section: "Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their minions have no shame, because they have no conscience. They are sociopaths."

    Sociopaths have no conscience. They disdain empathy. They can feign compassion as a means to an end. To sociopaths, other people are objects to be manipulated or expended.

    The American people must understand how dangerous sociopaths are so that they will stop electing them.

  93. Another example of what happens when people with very bad judgment work with other people with very bad judgment and somehow they get power. A disaster.

  94. There's still time to prosecute him.

  95. The United States need to establish a crime called criminal stupidity, and retroactively try both Cheney and Rumsfeld under it.

    When it comes to the arrogance of colossal failures and self-denial artists, Hosni Mubarak has nothing on Rumsfeld and Cheney.

    In these two, America has had some of it's worst luck ever with officials elected and otherwise.

  96. I was in the US in 2001 and most foreigners were totally puzzled by the link between 9/11 and WMD's in Iran. Most Americans were totally OK with the reasons to go to war and Rumsfeld and the others were not questionned enough. I think Americans have to own it now; and next time the country wants to go to war I hope something better is in place to ensure that war is justified

  97. I think comment 22 - sekaesler5 - may be underestimating both the French knowledge and the humour of the columnist. I found her 'improved version' of the Piaf original pretty good.

    1. 'rien pas' is illiterate and plays on the inner ear to rhyme with 'grandpa' - the primary joke.
    2. the attempted and failed double negative is right up Rummy's street - it takes us into the heavily mined territory of 'known and unknown' regrets of which Rummy - like Piaf - triumphantly has none.

    Mangled logic, illiteracy and no regrets. Mo hits all of that in a few words. Respect.

  98. Let's not forget that it was Rummy who identified the soldier - who at that point remained anonymous - who exposed the atrocities committed at Abu Ghraib.

  99. Where was the Congress? According to that Constitution the Republicans are so fond of reading, only that branch has the authority to declare war. How many of the voters who elected that crowd even know that?

  100. You have established that Rummy had zero hard knowledge abour Iraq's alleged WMDs but proceeded to bellow about the non existent WMDs dangers, as though they actually existed. Searching for a motive for his lies, the most likely conclusion is that we would make a huge profit selling Iraqs oil, and the war would show a profit. This makes Nadorfs Ponzi acheme seem like a sound business idea. Are we so befuddled that we cant convict Rummy? Or at the very least, drop a cone of silence over him, ao that we don't have to hear his fetid ravings?

  101. Our military removed a brutal dictatorship that attacked 6 other countries and brutally oppressed its own people. Iraq's Baathist regime was a serious threat to regional stability in a region that has been a powder keg for over a century. That's the real reason we went to war.
    I realize NY Times columnists never miss a chance to criticize, slander, or attack any Republican, but how, exactly, does Rumsfeld qualify as the worst defense secretary ever?
    There is also the fact that Saddam Hussein's government came very close to assassinating former president Bush in Kuwait. Were they successful, there is a strong likelihood that Krugman, Dowd, Herbert, and this paper's leaders would've given the Hussein family some sort of award.
    Worst ever level of patriotism? Worst ever understanding of democracy, capitalism, history, and freedom? Worst examples of American self-loathing?
    That's an easy one. The columnists who hate business, love oppressive governments (in Albany, Washington, Bagdad, and Palestine) and even openly opine "if men are necessary."
    Rumsfeld and Cheney also prevented terrorist attacks on our country for nearly eight years after 9-11. This simple fact makes the above column's assumptions seem flat out wrong.

  102. Rummy continues the Bush "doctrine": Never admit a mistake.
    How he and Bush and Cheney sleep at night I don't know.

  103. There is an old saying that freshmen in high school "don't know, and know that they don't know; sophomores "don't know, and don't know they don't know"; juniors "begin to know, and don't know they are beginning to know"; and finally, seniors in high school "know, and know they know". I think that Rumsfield is stuck at the sophomoric level. Even worse, is that he doesn't seem to care.

  104. I remember a story of (I think) a Sufi mystic who was found by a neighbor searching profusely under a street lamp across the street from his house. "What are you looking for?" asked his neighbor.
    "The keys to mt house," replied the mystic.
    "Did you leave them here?" asked his neighbor.
    "No, I left them in my bedroom."
    "Then why are you looking for them here?"
    "Because there is more light here," the mystic explained.
    Somehow this article reminds me of his story, only replacing keys with WMD and street light with Iraq.

    Profoundly irresponsible...

  105. the man is delusional, arrogant, a liar and should be tried for war crimes. other than that, he's a man of sterling character.

  106. Please save the column title for Ms Dowd's biography. The contrasts between the Iraq and Viet Nam campaigns far outnumber any ginned up similarities. Rumsfeld undoubtedly made mistakes, some major. We should have finished the job in '91 when we had the half million troops in position with sufficient force to secure the country. You can thank Colin Powell for that.

  107. Maybe if Rumsfield et al hadn't pulled the UN weapons inspectors out just when they started gaining access and cooperation from the Iraqis. Cheney and Rumsfield were starting to know what they didn't want to know: the weapons claims were a chest puffing bluff by Saddam. Now trillions of dollars, thousands of American lives and limbs and God only knows how many Iraqi lives later, they have the audacity to criticize President Obama as he tries to clean up their hideous mess. Stomach churning.

  108. Maureen:
    I disagree. Treasure secretary Tim Geithner is by far the worst. Mr. Geithner is a tax cheat and yet he directs IRS.
    The very fact Tim Geithner is our treasure secretary itself is an insult to millions US taxpayers and it shows how corrupted our government is.

  109. There's no fool like and old fool.

  110. Maureen, if you are not tired a beating a dead horse, your readers are tired of it. You can't get to ol' Rummy.

  111. Between Rumsfeld and McNamara you can pay your money and take your choice but I still think McNamara was worse. During WWII he was a statistician attached to the USAAF in Europe and then the Pacific. My impression is that his chief function was suggesting ways the bombing campaigns could maximize civilian casualties. He and his boss Curtis LeMay managed to 100,000 Japanese civilians one night in Tokyo on March 9-10, 1945. His talent for maximizing deaths was again displayed in Viet Nam and again it is my impression is that the “body count” thing was the army’s way of giving the Secretary of Defense something he was sure to like.

    Rummy is everything you say he is but he never organized death on the scale of McNamara.

  112. Whether it was looking at the intelligence on Iraq, or now looking at their own legacies, Rumsfeld and Cheney only see the world the way they want to see it. Objectively, these men have done enormous damage to this country and the world. Sadly, that's something they'll never see.

  113. Mcnmara's greatest failure was that he trusted his military subordinates and the crooked numbers they fed him. By 1966 Mcnamara pressed to freeze troop levels and turn the fighting over to the arvn but was over-ruled. Half the names on the wall belong to nixon and kissinger with their secret plan to end the war. Rummy, on the otherhand only listened to himself his book clearly shows he was never wrong.

    We pick and choose facts
    As they come from known and unknown tracts
    Facts don't lie
    but we refuse to buy
    We want the world to mirror us
    As we believe, none can better us
    Pluralism, diversity we detest
    As we are the world, the best
    Every nation has its own issues to factor
    People with a different culture, temper
    Everyone will have their wake-up call
    what we may scoff at, may make others feel special,tall

  115. Mr. Rumsfeld's able to brag and speak about his crimes this openly simply because Mr. Obama not only demands total impunity on the war crimes of the previous administration but his administration's also committing the same exact crimes. Typical of liberal pundits to get Mr. Obama off the hook at every opportunity. The US meadia need a real left perspective.

    Incidentally, Rumsfeld is 100% correct when he says that Cheney has more influence on Obama than the people who elected him. On Guantánamo Bay, military commissions, indefinite detention, CIA drone strikes, everything else. Where has Ms. Dowd been the last 2 years?

  116. Worn out Rumsfeld and dastardly Cheney continue to defy justice because they are American war criminals. If they had performed identical acts as representatives of Croatia or Iraq, they would be squirming at the Hague or dancing from a rope. Power is the bedrock of the double standard.

  117. One could laugh off the absurdity of these broken down old men giving each other kudos and "awards" were it not for the fact that thousands of American--and tens of thousands of Iraqi--men and women lost their lives in their foolish pursuit based solely on hubris and Manifest Destiny.
    There are, indeed, many things "known and unknown" in this life--but one of the "known" fact upon which you may place your bets is that there is a special place in Hell for those who send innocent men and women to war needlessly; put another way, if it's true that "blessed are the peacemakers", then it's a "slam dunk" that Rummy & Cheney will be spending an eternity together in a place even warmer than Baghdad.

  118. Rumsfeld is sociopath . That explains all of those crimes he committed during his life.
    As for " Dick has had more influence on President Obama than the people that got him elected " I would doubt that . Obama has not changed a bit
    He was a closet republican/neocon before he fooled tens of millions into voting for him. fool me once ...

  119. It seems that all of the leftists and marxists were onboard for the invasion of Iraq until the resistanec developed to the cheers of the anti American Americans.

  120. Interesting that you mentioned the heckling incident. Had previously read that President George Bush was prevented from appearing at events due to "threats." So typical of the far left who love to demonize those crazy, religious conservatives and to write comments to the NYT promoting "revolution" in America ( and calling anyone who even criticizes the policies of President Obama of being a "racist!") while at the same time they prevent conservatives from expressing their right to freedom of speech at public gatherings. Apparently, in modern America, it's fine to call for "revolution" if you're a lefty, but you better not count on giving a speech if you are a conservative! Is it any wonder that conservatives are gaining support? Americans do not like bullies of any sort..

  121. "Sit down and shut up." Mr. Cheney, keepin' it classy.

  122. I just don't get it! How do we let these war criminals bragging about their evil crimes walk free? The whole cabal has admitted their crimes against the Constitution, the explict law against their actions, the international criminal court, basic decency, the basic values and morality of America; yet they walk free because they wear a Republican lable? Because they are raging idiots? because the are wealthy! because we are stupid, cowards, or ??

  123. Rumsfeld, Cheney and George W. Bush had 'actionable intelligence' to start the Iraq War. The Decider determined the action, and the intelligence community was tasked to provide the intelligence.

  124. The main difference between McNamara and Rumsfeld is that we lost the war in Vietnam and won the war in Iraq.