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Friday, September 01, 2006

On Rumsfeld and “Appeasement” - by Matthew Rothschild

For Rumsfeld, name-calling is a substitute for solving the mess he’s made.

In his speech to the annual convention of the American Legion on August 28, the Secretary of Defense wheeled out the hoary old charge that critics of the Bush Administration are appeasers.

He explicitly mentioned Nazism, and he did so to draw a parallel. “Once again we face the same kind of challenges in efforts to confront the rising of a new type of fascism,” he said, adding: “But it is apparent that many have still not learned history’s lessons.”

Rumsfeld’s analogy is inapt.

Continued...to "Read More" click link below

CONTINUED:

As Katha Pollitt has pointed out in The Nation, “Italian Fascism, German Nazism, and other European fascist movements of the 1920s and '30s were nationalist and secular, closely allied with international capital and aimed at creating powerful, up-to-date, all-encompassing states.”

That’s not exactly what Al Qaeda is about.

What’s more, the threat to the United States from terrorism is in no way comparable to the threat we faced from Hitler, who presided over one of the most powerful militaries of the day.

Hitler, if he had not been stopped in the Battle of Britain, or if he had not opened up the Eastern front, or if he had gotten the bomb first, might very well have conquered America.

Al Qaeda does not have the power to conquer America.

Nor do other undefined “fascists,” a term Rumsfeld uses so loosely that it appears to encompass anyone from Osama bin Laden to the insurgents in Iraq.

Finally, today’s terrorists cannot be fought the same way as fascist states like Germany and Italy. Yes, bin Laden and Zawahiri must be captured or killed, but that will not end terrorism, because it’s an ideology that attracts recruits depending, in part, on world events.

(Its backward, anti-Semitic, misogynistic yearning for the great lost empire of the caliphate is a constant. Political developments are the variables that swell or shrink is ranks.) When the United States invades one Muslim country after another and engages in torture, when the United States supports (and eggs on) Israel’s use of disproportionate force and fails to settle the Palestinian conflict in a just manner, these actions all serve to swell the ranks of the terrorists.

This Rumsfeld will not admit. He responds to any hint of this criticism with the slander that this is the mentality of “Blame America First.”

Logically, he must accuse the CIA of having that mentality, too, since it has acknowledged that the Iraq War has served as a recruiting call for Al Qaeda.

Amazingly, in this same speech, Rumsfeld ridiculed the amount of press attention paid to Abu Ghraib and called Guantanamo Bay “arguably the best run” detention center “in the history of warfare.”

This is moral obtuseness and political deafness of the highest order.

Much as he tries to minimize the horrors of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, they have besmirched America’s reputation and have incited terrorism.

And they are his responsibility, which to this day he has not owned up to. Nor has he owned up to hoodwinking the American public about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, or lowballing the number of troops and displaying a careless attitude about the occupation.

Rather than lash out at his critics, Rumsfeld for once ought to accept responsibility for his own blunders, which themselves have made us more vulnerable to the very terrorists he talks so much about.

© Copyright 2006 The Progressive
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SOURCE:
On Rumsfeld and “Appeasement”: "© Copyright 2006 The Progressive"

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