Yesterday Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld apologized to Iraqis for the abuses of Abu Ghuraib…I think. Rumsfeld often speaks in a way that needs deciphering. Two of my favorite examples are:
“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.”
“There’s another way to phrase that and that is that the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. It is basically saying the same thing in a different way. Simply because you do not have evidence that something does exist does not mean that you have evidence that it doesn’t exist.”
He has a wonderful way of being technically accurate, but mind-numbingly confusing. In his apology, he made it clear by his logic that we are no longer a democary; let me show what I saw.
1. “”These events occurred on my watch,” Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “As secretary of defense, I am accountable for them and I take full responsibility.””
So far so good. Rumsfeld admits he’s the boss of the DoD and all paths lead to him.
2. “watch how democracy deals with wrongdoing and scandal and the pain of acknowledging and correcting our own mistakes and, indeed, our own weaknesses.”
How does a democracy deal with wrongdoing and scandal? Implicit in his statement is that a democracy is different from other forms of government, and in this instance specifically Iraq. In Iraq, some who did something we perceived as wrong, under the orders of their commander, would not necessarily face discipline. The rot starts from the top in Iraq. So, if the US is a democracy, and is different than Iraq, then the people responsible for the abuse at Abu Ghuraib would be removed from positions of responsibility, if not prosecuted for criminal behavior.
3. “”These events occurred on my watch,” Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “As secretary of defense, I am accountable for them and I take full responsibility.””
“Rumsfeld vowed to stay on the job”
So, the conclusion is only one of two possibilities: Rumsfeld lied when he said he was accountable, or we are not living in a democracy. Since we know President Bush promised to bring honor and dignity back to the White House, he wouldn’t keep a liar on the team, therefore we are not living in a democracy. The people responsible for Abu Ghuraib are not being disciplined, they are in positions of responsibility. Josh Marshall has been running extensive coverage about how deep the mistakes were that lead to Abu Ghuraib, and how so many people in the upper echelons of government either established the necessary structures, or were informed much earlier of the abuses and ignored them. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11).
What did Rumsfeld say? America is no longer a democracy.