Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Rumsfeld falls on his sward...


...as Reuters loses the plot.

If Rumsfeld has left us with anything worth keeping (and it certainly ain’t his prowess as a military planner) then it must be his contribution to the English language.

First we had his invention of ‘New Europe’, as a way of describing the pro-Atlanticist, free market, non-protectionist Poles and others (well, he got the pro-Atlanticist bit right). And then of course we had the almost Shakespearian:

"Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns -- the ones we don't know we don't know."

On WMD in Iraq he said:

"We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat."

But there again, he also said something that James Joyce would have been proud of::

"We do know of certain knowledge that he [Osama Bin Laden] is either in Afghanistan, or in some other country, or dead."

But my favourite is:

"I would not say that the future is necessarily less predictable than the past. I think the past was not predictable when it started."

He will be sorely missed by everyone, except maybe for Iraqis. Oh, and I bet Reuters journos are sorry to see him go, too.

Reason reports today:

Bad timing award on the day goes to this Reuters story, sent out at 10:50 a.m [about two hours before his resignation was announced].

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the face of U.S. war policy and a lightning rod for critics worldwide, will not be forced out just because he faces a tougher time from resurgent Democrats.

Oops!

More?
The Poetry of D.H. Rumsfeld, Slate magazine

23 comments:

Jannovak57 said...

Mr Rumsfeld took too long to grasp some timeless words of wisdom.

“You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go” Oliver Cromwell

Kewenay said...

I for one will miss him. What will BBC Radio 4 do for their "Donald Rumsfeld Quote of the Week" slots now? They were always a hilarious way to start one's Sunday mornings.

luridtraversal said...

I just found your blog via my wife, and I would like to say I officially hate you!!! I've been living in Warsaw for the last 2 years, and pretty ignorant of the local politics and other happenings, and was much happier. I've spent the last 2 days reading your blog entries, and now I'm ready to pack my bags collect the family and move!!! I'm just kidding, I don't hate you and I just want to say you have a remarkable blog going on. It's given me hours of new things to be angry about!!! Take care and keep up the good work!!

ig da geez said...

This seems to hit the nail right on the head:

++++++++++++++++
By Jim Wallis

A Defeat for the Religious Right and the Secular Left

In this election, both the Religious Right and the secular Left
were defeated, and the voice of the moral center was heard. A
significant number of candidates elected are social
conservatives on issues of life and family, economic populists,
and committed to a new direction in Iraq. This is the way
forward: a grand new alliance between liberals and
conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, one that can end
partisan gridlock and involves working together for real
solutions to pressing problems.

It is clear from the election results that moderate, and some
conservative, Christians - especially evangelicals and Catholics
- want a moral agenda that is broader than only abortion and
same-sex marriage. Various exit polls showed a shift of 6% to
16% fewer evangelicals and Catholics supporting Republican
candidates than in 2004. Poverty, the war in Iraq, strengthening
families, and protecting the environment are all moral values.
And many Americans this year voted all of their values.

ig da geez said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ig da geez said...

Otherwise, I just read that Polish Immigrants in England are full of carp
:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=414428&in_page_id=1770

"The carp has always been pretty safe swimming along British water ways.

It is not considered very tasty, and laws prevent coarse fishermen killing more than two a day.

But for the Eastern European angler, who regards the fish as a delicacy, it is a prized catch.

And immigrants are catching them illegally - on a massive scale."

beatroot said...

Iggy
A significant number of candidates elected are social conservatives on issues of life and family, economic populists,…

Blimey! Sounds like Poland!

Jan…
Oli Crom also said:

“weeds and nettles, briars and thorns, have thriven under your shadow, dissettlement and division, discontentment and dissatisfaction, together with real dangers to the whole.”

Lurid:
Thanks. I don’t mean to make anyone angry (although I seem to do it quite often) I just want to be half as interesting as I think Polish politics is. Nothing like where I am from. It’s also very odd. But I am glad you are angry and not depressed. Anger can be a creative emotion. Hope you stay with us.

roman said...

Is it Rumsfeld who said.." it ain't over till its over"?

Tony said...

There was also some talk of "staying the course"...

luridtraversal said...

Don't worry, you're not making me angry whatsoever. The news you report does. Like I said, I've been fairly ignorant of the politics here as my knowledge of the Polish language is all but non-existent. I look forward to having this as a way to keep abreast of local news/politics and such.

roman said...

beatroot,

You said: "it certainly ain’t his prowess as a military planner"

Au contraire, mes ami. His initial invasion of Iraq, with light and nimble forces equipped with advanced technology and weaponry, was heralded as brilliant by almost every military source.
The occupation, however, is a different story altogether.

beatroot said...

What are you talking about?

If a high tech army from the richest country on earth cannot bludgeon a third world army into defeat then it would be a very surprising thing indeed. The US seems to be very talented in this direction. But occupation is part of invasion. The two cannot be separated. The project, from start to finish, was never going to work. The man and his government are dangerous buffoons. Period. And the Democrats are just as bad and just as imperialist.

ig da geez said...

And the Democrats are just as bad and just as imperialist.

>> Maybe, *maybe* worse on the whole as far as imperialism goes. But it's been 6 years so who knows? Hopefully, they have developed some better sensibility. But you can't lump all Democrats together and say that they are all as bad as all Republicans. And even a growing number of Republicans are anti-war (Buchanan and the antiwar.com folks, for example).

hubert h. said...

Hey, weird your lynx disappear to?

beatroot said...

Is antiwar.com linked to paleo-conservatives?

hubert - what lynx? Isn't that an animal?

beatroot said...

Rumsfeld \is a lynx? Anyway...

If anyone is in doubt on the idiocy of Rumsfeld and the other ‘great architects of the shock and awe campaign’ in Iraq, lets remember back to when the war began. The idea was for a media covered ‘shock and awe’ bombing that would make the ba’athists give up and run for the hills (which they mostly did) and so everyone else what bog strong scary boys the US was. Then, as the New York Times wrote at the time, military commanders…

say they are aiming for a rapid and benign occupation of Basra that results in flag-waving crowds hugging British and American soldiers - all of which would create an immediate positive image of American and British war aims while undermining Iraqi resistance elsewhere in the country.'

Now how naïve and dumb was that? What made them think that was ever going to happen? It was never going to happen, and that is not a view I take from hindsight, it was the one I had then.

Rumsfeld was a disastrous fool.

Jannovak57 said...

With Rumsfeld down the road and a power shift in Washington was does it mean for Poland? Is there any merit in continuing close cooperation with the US and are there any expectations of having something to show for it?

beatroot said...

Well, they got Sikorski in the government. A quintessential Polish neocon. The neocons in America have disowned this war for some time. They say it was ‘botched’. Not enough troops blah. Failed to control the looting blah blah. So that’s what the Polish cabinet is hearing. Not that the principle was wrong, but the execution.

But is there any gain for Warsaw distancing itself from the US? Kaczynski has just proposed that any EU army be connected to Nato. And Nato is controlled by America.

So I think there is no change in Polish policy: United States at all costs.

Jannovak57 said...

The political establishment in Poland took a major gamble to jump onto the American bandwagon and it needs to show some results. Thus far the results have only been modest and somewhat cancelled out by the cost of the Iraq and upcoming Afghan commitments.

But the test of this policy direction is rapidly approaching. Poland is expecting the following in the near term:

Additional military Aid
The missile defence base on Polish soil.
The Nato Alliance Ground Surveillance System.

All of this doesn’t amount to the equivalent of Nato combat forces stationed in Poland but it does demonstrate a real commitment to collective security and one that can be seen.

If this doesn’t happen, as it may not, the relationship with the US must be reconsidered. Poland’s security needs (or it’s perception of the same) dictate its relationship to the US. At this time if it were to become apparent that the US self interests no longer intersects Polish interests all bets are off.

The US acts solely for it’s own self-interest without exception, they don’t have friends they just share intersecting interests with some countries for period of time.

beatroot said...

You see, the balancing forces are the US for defense against the EU for defense. So as there will be no EU defense force (who would control it? How?) Poland doesn't really have a choice. But for sure you can bet that Poland is bargaining hard over these anti-missile bases here...and the Bushies are in a weakened position.

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