Former Secretary of Defense, Don Rumsfeld, died on June 30. I am told that he was a very nice man personally, though I only met him a few times at our annual Pumpkin Papers Irregular dinners at the University Club in Washington, DC. But I cannot forgive him for lying the United States (and Britain) into the illegal and disastrous War in Iraq. “Rumsfeld-torturer-butcher” At the end of Juan Cole’s article is a New America Foundation panel on Iraq moderated by Steve Clemons from 14 years ago. Near the end of the video you can hear me make a comment.
A war with Iraq served no U.S. interest, quite the contrary. Iraq balanced the influence of Iran, its traditional enemy. Why would we want to end that? Rumsfeld and Cheney/Bush invented the lie of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) as their excuse to attack Iraq despite the refusal of the UN Security Council to endorse such an attack. I highly recommend: “‘Official Secrets’… a 2019 British drama film based on the case of whistleblower Katharine Gun, who leaked a memo exposing an illegal spying operation by American and British intelligence services to gauge sentiment of and potentially blackmail United Nations diplomats tasked to vote on a resolution regarding the 2003 invasion of Iraq.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Official_Secrets_(film)
Many things can solidify and sustain political leaders in power, but none so well as war. And nothing keeps the tax dollar profits flowing to the military/industrial complex as much as war or the threat of war (real or imagined). And nothing threatens our liberties as much as the perpetual fear of war; the 9/11 war on terror being the premier example.
We are quite good at bombing and fighting but piss poor at governing occupied territories. In my rather considerable post conflict country experiences, Iraq was by far the worst example of imperial American mismanagement. I have written about my experiences in Iraq in https://wcoats.blog/2020/10/11/my-travels-to-baghdad/