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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-15-07 09:19 AM
Response to Reply #34
70. Darth Rumsfeld
The BFEE takes Mao's dictum about political power coming from the barrel of a gun to extremes, equating nuclear weapons with ultimate political power.

Darth Rumsfeld

By Jason Vest
Issue Date: 2.26.01

Since Donald Rumsfeld's appointment as secretary of defense was announced on December 28, approbatory phrases have been the order of the day. The Washington Post cast him as "elder statesman," while The New York Times characterized him as a "tough-minded manager." At his January 11 confirmation hearing, the servile aria started by the press was taken up by the Senate Armed Services Committee: Save for a few pointed questions on fiscal oversight by Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona and Senator Robert Byrd, the West Virginia Democrat, Rumsfeld's hearing could have passed for a mannerly colloquy of academics discussing the future of defense. On January 20, moments after George W. Bush was sworn in, Donald Rumsfeld--"Rummy," as he is known to his friends--was confirmed by the Senate.


Killing SALT II

In 1975, when Gerald Ford fired James Schlesinger from the Pentagon and replaced him with Donald Rumsfeld, Washington's hawks were apoplectic: While Schlesinger was an advocate of big defense spending, Rumsfeld was an unknown; worse, he was seen to be a sop to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

As the 1976 election approached, a Kissinger ally was not the best thing to be. Ford was running scared from archconservative Ronald Reagan and his supporters, who held that two of the Ford administration's higher profiles--Kissinger and Vice President Nelson Rockefeller--were too liberal. ("Under Kissinger and Ford," Reagan intoned, "this nation has become number two in a world where it is dangerous--if not fatal--to be second best.") Conservatives were convinced that Kissinger's policy of dtente with the Soviet Union would ultimately embolden the Russians to fight and win a nuclear world war.

So a friendly hawk phoned Rumsfeld and asked him if he had ever heard of Albert Wohlstetter, at the Rand Corporation. Rumsfeld said no. The friend told Rumsfeld to ask Wohlstetter to lunch--and to make sure the press knew about it. A low-profile but eminently influential shaper of nuclear strategy, Wohlstetter was spiritual godfather to the Cold War's atomic hawks; his Rand Corporation reports had been a guiding light to hard-line strategists since the 1950s. Wohlstetter flew in from Rand for a two-and-half-hour lunch with Rumsfeld--and "the hawks were rapturous," says Rumsfeld's comrade.

His conservative credentials established, Rumsfeld began to chip away at Kissinger's access and public image. Some of Kissinger's partisans in the press corps found Rumsfeld's campaign against the K so heavy-handed they virtually outed him as Kissinger's nemesis, by making Rummy's identity as a Kissinger-bashing source obvious. Then, on November 1, 1975, Ford fired William Colby, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and Schlesinger, the secretary of defense, replacing them with George H.W. Bush and Rumsfeld, respectively. Though Kissinger remained as secretary of state, Ford stripped him of his position as national-security adviser. The greatest ignominy, however, was yet to come.

This year, in his January 11 confirmation hearing, Rumsfeld told Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy that if President Bush wants arms reductions lower than required by treaty, he'd support the president. But, he added, he would "offer his views" to the contrary: "I mean, people, honorable people, can come to different views, and I did with respect to SALT II." But the reality of SALT II--the second phase of the strategic-arms-limitation talks between the Soviet Union and the United States--belies Rumsfeld's gentle revisionism; in fact, Rumsfeld and his allies used hardball and subterfuge to kill the treaty and undermine Henry Kissinger.

In early December 1975, Ford and Kissinger embarked on a Pacific Rim swing. Afterward, Kissinger was going to head to Moscow, hoping to conclude negotiations for SALT II. En route to Jakarta from Hong Kong, however, Rumsfeld cabled Air Force One, rebuking Kissinger for even considering a Moscow trip without consulting Rumsfeld and others. Kissinger's Russia sojourn was nixed. Then, on December 6, columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak reported that a number of Ford advisers were "outraged" at Kissinger's "drafting top secret proposals for major concessions to Moscow." The column implied that only one man could save the republic from the betrayal of giving away the nuclear farm: Donald Rumsfeld.


The Committee on the Present Danger

By March 1976, the word dtente had disappeared from Gerald Ford's vocabulary. Meanwhile, a group of like-minded gentlemen continued to meet at Washington's exclusive Metropolitan Club for a series of discussions on what to do about the menace of dtente and, in their view, the insatiable Soviet Union.

Out of these meetings came the Committee on the Present Danger (CPD), whose existence revolved around the die-hard belief that the United States was failing to keep pace with the Soviet war machine. Though originally seen as an extremist organization, the group--which included a number of Rumsfeld's adepts and comrades-in-arms--managed to prevail upon the Ford administration to let its members have access to CIA data in the service of providing an "alternative" assessment of the Soviet threat.

In CPD's view, the agency chronically minimized the Soviet military threat, thus creating a false basis for what CPD saw as insufficient U.S. defense expenditures. At the Pentagon, Rumsfeld was pushing hard for new strategic endeavors, such as the MX missile and the B-1 bomber. Though William Colby had successfully fought against outside analysis, new CIA Director George Bush was much more receptive to the suggestion from the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board--which included CPD members--that the agency's analysts hadn't been on the ball. It was no surprise, then, that when Bush asked the White House for permission to bring in the CPD, he obtained an enthusiastic response.



Thanks for giving a damn, conscious evolution.
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