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March 28, 2014

Donald Rumsfeld’s Lying

Roy Meachum

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld occupies newspapers’ front pages because of a racist remark; he called President Barack Obama “a trained ape.” He denied he meant anything relative to the chief executive’s color; he’s African-American.


The complete quote: “A trained ape for securing a status of forces agreement with Afghanistan.”


Most of our fellow citizens applaud Mr. Obama; he appears ready to pull out. Certainly the president in Kabul, Hamid Karzai, has never extended a warm hand. The recent move has him welcoming the Russians to Crimea, contrary to official White House policy. Not very welcoming!!


This column is not about Mr. Karzai, but Donald Rumsfeld; he’s famous for his quote: “I can’t tell you if the force in Iraq today will last five days, five weeks or five months, but it won’t last longer than that.”


The war started on March 20, 2003, and it endured when President Obama pulled the American services out on December 11, 2011.


There are sayings that don’t reflect favorably on Mr. Rumsfeld, including some nonsensical, even non-grammatical: “Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war.” Or “If you try to please everyone, somebody’s not going to like it.”


For his high position he could thank Vice President Dick Cheney, known for ruthlessness. Shortly after the Ford Administration began, he made the arrangements to talk to well-known executives. They swore to secrecy. Nothing’s ever leaked from those conversations. Mr. Cheney played to the hilt the role of vice president – sometimes overruling President George W. Bush.


Behind the scenes, these guys are being very serious, wanting to win. They strike me helpless as bereft of all that power. I have to go back to history to understand. There were periods of the 19th Century that resemble our own, hard-knuckle and unforgiving, particular for political sins.


It’s easy to laugh at Donald Rumsfeld; not so funny when he acquires power – with that wicked viewpoint, the latest time when I consider a politician in a full-length mirror, so to speak. Some public figures escape my old journalist appraisal, including on the local scene Sens. David Brinkley and Ron Young.


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