Rumsfeld and Hussein

Honor is some­thing that’s hard to define in some respects; it seems to be cul­tural, at least to an extent. Wikipedia has an inter­est­ing arti­cle on the topic, one that seems to cover archaic notions as well as more mod­ern ones, jux­ta­pos­ing the con­cepts to show how things have changed — and how, some might sug­gest, they have deteriorated.

This graf from the Wiki arti­cle leapt out at me.

In con­tem­po­rary inter­na­tional rela­tions, the con­cept of “cred­i­bil­ity” resem­bles that of hon­our, as when the cred­i­bil­ity of a state or of an alliance appears to be at stake, and honour-​​bound politi­cians call for dras­tic measures.

In study­ing the above vid­cap, we see two men face to face, one of whom appears to be smil­ing in a friendly or respect­ful fash­ion. Donald Rumsfeld was once on friendly terms with Saddam Hussein — and today, the two men couldn’t be more opposed.

Or could they?

In learn­ing of Hussein’s death sen­tence, the thought occurred to me that we’re send­ing out a pretty bad mes­sage to other national lead­ers. Buddy up with the US, we’re say­ing, and in twenty years, if we’ve decided you’re incon­ve­nient, we’ll depose and then kill you.

Where was all the moral out­rage, I won­der, when Hussein was actu­ally killing Kurds? What about the con­tin­u­ing prob­lems in Myanmar or Sudan? Why was it that, when Clinton was try­ing to do some­thing about the Bosnian trou­bles in the 1990s, he was accused by the Republicans of wag­ging the dog?

I sup­pose that’s not rel­e­vant now. Children are jump­ing up and down in glee at the news that Hussein is to be killed. Hooray. First they behead his stat­ues, now they get to watch him twitch on the end of a line.

But back to our vid­cap and the eerie doom which seems to have stalked both of its subjects.

The major armed forces mags are run­ning an edi­to­r­ial call­ing for Rumsfeld to step down. It’s a good idea; the man is as incom­pe­tent as his boss. He’s shown a bla­tant dis­re­gard for facts from the moment he began dic­tat­ing par­si­mony in the inva­sion and occu­pa­tion of Iraq, and he was and is a god­damned fool for get­ting us into a two-​​front war (remem­ber Afghanistan? That still ain’t over).

I expect the next step in this ghastly pageant of self-​​destruction will be for George to stage a photo op with him and say, “Rummy, you’re doin’ a heck­uva job.”

In a way, I sup­pose it’s fit­ting that Rumsfeld will be brought to the same end as Hussein. Well, not the same end; Rumsfeld will not be put on trial for the killing of hun­dreds of thou­sands of Iraqis. Rumsfeld will not be put on trial for the killing of thou­sands of American boys and girls.

Rumsfeld will not be put on trial for any­thing, now that the US con­gress has nicely legal­ized tor­ture for the Bush administration.

He will be dead of old age before his­tory has a chance to really tear into him as he deserves, as the unqual­i­fied, pig-​​headed and entirely inad­e­quate myopic ide­o­logue that he truly is. Odds are that every­one in the Bush admin­is­tra­tion — except per­haps Rice — will be long gone before their lega­cies are truly shown to be disastrous.

In this vid­cap we see two utterly dis­hon­or­able men appear­ing to be in col­lu­sion with one another. That one of them is “ours” should make no dif­fer­ence what­so­ever. Scum is scum.

Hussein is doomed.

So is Rumsfeld; so is the entire Bush administration.

The dif­fer­ence is that Rummy et. al. haven’t quite stopped mov­ing yet. They’re all just hang­ing there, twitch­ing on the end of the line.

Unfortunately, the vic­tim of their crimes — our national honor — is still just as foully murdered.

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