That Nelson Mandela died at the age of 95 was no great tragedy, because he deserved the long life cosmic justice afforded him. Donald Rumsfeld died the other day at the age of 88. That was a tragedy, because he should have died 20 years earlier, and at that not by natural causes but as a consequence of being waterboarded, which he thought was a perfectly acceptable way to interrogate prisoners of war. 

It is one of the great challenges to belief in God that people like MLK are cut down in their prime while moral monsters like Donald Rumsfeld live out their days in self-righteous content. As Shakespeare remarked, “The evil that men do live after them.” Rumsfeld put jus ad bellum and jus in bello back half a century. And the entire world is paying dearly for it.

The American people are currently rethinking who are their heroes and who their villains. Let’s hope – I’m holding my breath – that Fox News doesn’t decide to celebrate the life of this perversely rewarded war criminal.  

Categories: Editorials, Everything You Wanted to Know About What's Going On in the World But Were Afraid to Ask, Social and Political Philosophy

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3 replies

  1. There are no statues of Rumsfeld to tear down, so the mob will have to be content with tearing down the statues of George Washington or Abraham Lincoln.


  2. … do you really have to be “wishy-washy”??


  3. Here’s what the man himself had to say about waterboarding in an interview with Metro International’s Elizabeth Braw, republished in HuffPost 1 Aug 2011:

    Rumsfeld first clarifies that no one was waterboarded at the Guantanamo Bay naval base, which was under his jurisdiction. The CIA (not part of the Dept. of Defense) did waterboard “three” prisoners at “black” sites who were subsequently sent to Guantanamo for indefinite detention. The interview continues as below. (For clarity, since bold face in the original is not supported here, I have indicated speaker’s initials.)

    EB: One lead on the trail to Osama bin Laden came from information Khalid Sheikh Mohammed gave while being waterboarded. Has this changed your position on waterboarding?
    DR: The CIA had a special unit that did it on very few people. The Department of Defense shouldn’t do it. These are very young soldiers and they’re not trained to do that. I don’t think it’s appropriate for the Department of Defense.

    EB: So it should be done, but not by young soldiers?
    DR: Three successive directors of the CIA — George Tenet, Porter Goss and Michael Hayden — have testified that a major portion of our information on al Qaeda came from the three people who were waterboarded. And current [2009-2011] CIA Director Leon Panetta [later Secretary of Defense] has said that enhanced interrogation techniques contributed to the evidence that led to the location of OBL. I don’t deal with intelligence, but I believe what these four men say, because I know them.

    EB: Given this information, do you think waterboarding should be used more often?
    DR: I’ll put it like this: if you have a new high-value captive, like the three who have been waterboarded, and you think you can save lives, then you’d have to make a conscious decision to risk lives that could have been saved, if you view waterboarding as improper.

    DR (continues): We have some units of our armed forces that are specially trained for resistance, escape, evasion and survival. One of my friends in the military was waterboarded as part of this program, for the purpose of learning resistance. Soldiers volunteer to go into this program, and they’re waterboarded. They’re not injured, but it’s a frightening thing. However, it’s not as bad as a drone killing you. But waterboarding sells newspapers.


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