Friday, December 08, 2006

Rumsfeld's Last Hurrah

Rumsfeld held a press conference on Friday and said that the day he found out about the torture at Abu Ghraib was the worst of his term:

"Clearly, the worst day was Abu Ghraib, seeing what went on there and feeling so deeply sorry that that happened," he said without hesitation, referring to the scandal in the spring of 2004 that triggered worldwide condemnation and prompted him to twice offer his resignation to President Bush at that time. Bush rejected those offers.

Meanwhile, he's trying to get a lawsuit against him dismissed:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Outgoing Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit that would hold him personally responsible for torture in overseas military prisons.

The lawsuit, filed by two civil rights groups, describes the imprisonment of nine foreigners detained in Iraq and Afghanistan. The lawsuit contends the men were beaten, suspended upside down from the ceiling by chains, urinated on, shocked, sexually humiliated, burned, locked inside boxes and subjected to mock executions.

President Bush has called the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq the biggest mistake of the war.

Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights First say Rumsfeld and top military officials authorized such abuses and should be held liable in federal court.

The Justice Department argues that Rumsfeld cannot be sued. Government officials are generally immune from lawsuits related to their jobs unless they violate a constitutional right.
The civil rights groups say Rumsfeld violated the prisoners' right of due process and to be free of cruel and unusual punishment. The government argues that foreigners held outside the United States do not have constitutional rights.

If the court lets the lawsuit continue, the Justice Department said, it would allow prisoners around the world to use U.S. courts to disrupt military operations.

"Subjecting military leaders to such personal tort liability could distract them from their duties, and the specter of captured aliens harassing military personnel with time-consuming individual capacity litigation could cause grave damage to military morale," the government wrote in briefs filed with the court.

'grave damage to military morale'?

Screw them.

How about the grave damage caused to people like Maher Arar?

So while Rummy chokes up and says he's sorry about what happened at Abu Ghraib, it's obvious that he intends to accept no reponsibility for it whatsoever. It looks like the lawsuit filed in Germany against Rumsfeld may be the only chance the world has of making sure he pays for what he did. As far as I'm concerned, he can take his crocodile tears and shove them where the sun don't shine. He deserves nothing but contempt for what he has done and he must be held accountable.

Related: Republican Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon called the Iraq war 'criminal' on Thursday. It's about damn time some of these warmongers see the war for exactly what it is but it's too little far too late. The Republicans did absolutely nothing when they abdicated their congressional responsibility to oversee the war. They failed. Every last one of them. And just like Rumsfeld, their new found expressions of regret ring empty and hollow after so many people have died in this bloody nightmare.

Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official...
~Theodore Roosevelt

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