On Face The Nation today, Donald Rumsfeld was not content to simply remember 9/11. He also made excuses for and glorified the war crimes of George W. Bush.
Here is the video from CBS News:
BOB SCHIEFFER: What was the hardest part of it for you that day, Mr. Secretary?
DONALD RUMSFELD: The hardest part, of course, was– was when the plane was hit and we saw people– people in the Pentagon family– civilians and military– who were being brought out burned and– and dead and– and– wounded. The– George Tenet called me the– in– in the morning and said he– he– he confirmed that it was al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. And at that point the president called and said, “Look– it’s gonna come to you and you should begin getting your people thinking through– what we do next.” And– and– the– the hardest part was there was no roadmap. There was no guidebook. There was no– no war plan on the shelf that– the Pentagon had thought through, “This is what you do.” .. So we had to begin to think through what we would do about it. And the president was very decisive. He said immediately, “We’re not gonna pound sand. We’re not gonna simply indict some people in absentia and– and– fire off a few cruise missiles. We’re going to deal with this problem before something this bad or something worse happens to the American people. And we’re gonna find ways to–to protect them.”
BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you think– in retrospect that it was an over-reaction that day?
DONALD RUMSFELD: Well, I don’t at all. I think it was a measured reaction. You– you begin thinking it through. And– and what was clear is– that– free people– we are vulnerable because we wanna be able to go where we want and say what we want. And– and– and that– a terrorist can attack any time, any place using any technique. And it– instead of 3,000 it could have been 300,000 with a chemical or a biological weapon. So the president was– was right to say the– the goal is not to retaliate. The– or– or it’s not retribution. The goal is to protect the American people. And the only way to do that was to put pressure on terrorists around the world and make everything they do harder.
BOB SCHIEFFER: What are the things that if you could do it over, to make it absolutely perfect, what would you have done differently?
DONALD RUMSFELD: The thing where we I think fell way short was in understanding that– this is not something that’s gonna be solved with bullets. It’s something that’ll take all elements of our country competing with the ideas of the radical Islamists…until we’re able to compete with that as we did in the Cold War and– and– against communication and in favor of free political systems and free economic systems, it– we won’t know how long it’ll last or what the outcome will be.
The excuses that Rumsfeld made for Bush included, we didn’t know what we were doing, we weren’t retaliating or seeking retribution and the excuse/fear mongering that we have all heard before, we had to do this to prevent a bigger 9/11. Rumsfeld also glorified Bush as the decider and a man who took quick action to protect America. He also indirectly passed the buck and tried to blame Clinton for 9/11 with the whole cruise missiles remark.
Nowhere in his comments did he mention the unnecessary and unrelated to 9/11 war in Iraq, torture, or any of the other war crimes perpetuated by the administration that he served under the pretense of a war on terror. Rumsfeld correctly pointed out that the Bush administration relied too much on bullets, but that represents a minor tactical adjustment to the Bush Doctrine, preemptive war, cowboy diplomacy, go it alone school of thought.
Rumsfeld’s biggest regret isn’t that he was instrumental in deceiving the American people into starting an unrelated war which has so far killed over 4,400 American soldiers, and wounded over an estimated 100,000. His biggest regret isn’t that the two wars and actions in Pakistan have cost the US $3.2 trillion. No, his biggest regret is that we relied too much on bullets.
Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush and all of the architects of that administration’s 9/11 “war on terror” response are technically war criminals. Rumsfeld callousness was evident by the fact that he gave scant attention to mourning the lives lost on 9/11, and instead focused on justifying a policy that furthered the spiral of death and destruction that began on that sunny morning in September ten years ago today.
The American people have heard all of the excuses and justifications before. What would really be nice is some contrition, humility, and maybe just once the former members of the Bush administration could remember that 9/11 is about the victims, not their politics.