Slinging a Smooth Stone
by C.F. David
Editor, Boise City News

It was just weeks ago that in response to Bob Woodward's latest book, the White House assured us “Everyone” was in the loop.

Now we learn that apparently most of Congress and the president learned about atrocities against Iraqi prisoners by watching CBS.

Rumsfeld knew about the tortures, and in hindsight he wishes he'd have mentioned it to the president. Oops.

The president has chosen not to ask for the Defense Secretary's resignation. He doesn't need a resignation; the man should have been fired immediately. Just as Truman fired MacArthur and perhaps with more justification. Rumsfeld didn't just happen to forget that we had been torturing prisoners. He apparently made a conscious decision not to tell the Commander-In-Chief of the United States Armed Forces. That, in my opinion, is collusion.

When a cabinet member makes a decision NOT to tell a wartime president about atrocities that once revealed would certainly affect the theater of war, is enough to fire the Secretary of Defense.

It begs the question of just who exactly is in charge in the West Wing: Does Cheney, and/or Rumsfeld have a hand up the back of the president's coat, manipulating the most powerful office in the world?

Rumsfeld, while testifying before a congressional committee on Friday, came off as arrogant gesturing wildly and raising his voice as he answered tough questions.

He then told a congressman that he had no idea how to reach into the thousands of ongoing criminal investigations on-going in the Pentagon and pull out just one.

Here's a clue: He could have picked up a phone, made a call and said something like, “This is the Secretary of Defense. I understand there is information that could adversely affect the war and perhaps lose the election for the president. Give it to me, we need to get it out there so we can begin damage control.”

With fewer than 50 words I'll bet he'd of got the documents. Instead, he chose not to report to the president.

Rumsfeld then offered the lame excuse that only after the pictures surfaced did it really become apparent how sickening the situation really was.

That's Bull! Having read only part of the text from the Taguba report, I saw references to acts of violence that were quite descriptive. Rumsfeld had apparently seen the report, and may or may not have seen the photographs, but it's clear that he hoped the investigation and punishment of the perpetrators would proceed quietly and disappear at least until after the elections. But, as he was quick to point out, the report and the pictures were leaked to the press. (He also mentioned that the leak was against the law; I'm sure his buddy Attorney General John Ashcroft is hot on the trail.)

If President Bush is in charge, Rumsfeld should be fired.

If you are interested, the Taguba report can be read on-line at <http://www.agonist.org/annex/taguba.htm>

Instead of a word of the week, I leave you this: “The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts.” - Edmund Burke

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