Thursday, October 4, 2007

Rumsfeld's Day in Court

I have been reading around in the commentary on the news that Rumsfeld has been hired as “Distinguished Visiting Fellow” at the Hoover Institution. And about how the decision has provoked a protest involving some 3000 signatures, including 300 by Stanford faculty. And about how this, in turn, has led to the usual crapola charges of insincerity and hypocrisy on the left. The left only approves of free speech, says one of the commentators, when it is one of their own speaking. When it comes to conservatives, they aren`t having any.

Well, bullshit. This is not a free speech issue. Rumsfeld is free to pay for his next summer house delivering as many lectures around the country as he can get fools to pay for, telling those willing to pay how he made the world safe for democracy. Nobody is shutting him up. They’re saying that giving this sinister man the label “distinguished visiting fellow” dishonors the school. And it does.

The guy is right up there with Kissinger as war-criminal material. I know he has to be found guilty in a court of law for the label to be legitimately applied. OK, so let’s bring him to justice – and Kissinger too, while we're at it.

I know, I know. You don’t bring Americans to justice in international courts. We’re too powerful. We don’t have to go to court. We get Nobel Prizes for our international efforts – Kissinger did, remember – even though it’s no secret Kissinger gave the go-ahead to the Argentine dictatorship in the 70s. And to Pinochet. For starters.

If you listen to what people in Argentina and Chile have to say about Kissinger, people who know first hand what it is like to have a terrorist government supported by the U.S. steal your children, rape them, electrify their genitals, gums and eyelids and then drop them from airplanes into the sea, listen close, and you will look at things differently.

Whether enablers are in the same league as those actually applying the electricity is a tough ethical call. And Rumsfeld can still hide behind the excuse that he really believed, as did Cheney, the Iraqis would welcome us with flowers and not see us as invaders. But have you heard an "I'm sorry. I didn't mean it? I didn't intend for all you people to die waiting for electricity to come on in the hospital, for the police to protect you from rapists and thugs. I didn't mean for you to have to run to Syria and Jordan, really I didn't...."

Maybe he's not really war criminal material, as Kissinger is. I'll wait for argument. I know it will come.

But distinguished?

Hell, no.

Note the power of the United States to determine who labels and who gets labeled. Rumsfeld is not a terrorist, because the terror he brought to the lives of millions of Iraqis isn’t defined by us as terrorism. It’s defined as bringing democracy to the world. Torture of obsessively enraged Islamists isn't as bad as torture of communist kids. Removal of habeas corpus isn't as bad as a knock at the door at midnight.

Really? Who's calling the shots on this? Could we have some judicial clarification here?

Note, by the way, that it is not just angry leftist bloggers making the case for Rumsfeld’s appointment. John Bunzel, a Democrat, and former President of San Jose State makes the case today in the Sacramento Bee.

He argues that Condaleeza Rice is going to be similarly protested when she returns to teach at Stanford. Well, how about we cross that bridge when we come to it? It is possible she and Colin Powell and a whole host of other members of the Bush Administration can make the case they are not in the same camp as those who tricked the nation into war. We’ll have to see. Bunzel should not be lumping these people together. Everybody should get their day in court.

But isn't that the whole point? Let’s bring the man to court.

Not to Hoover Tower.

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