No tears for war criminals: Donald Rumsfeld was U.S. torturer-in-chief

Abdou Hussain Saad Faleh being tortured by U.S. personnel at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

For the people of Iraq, Donald Rumsfeld was their Hitler. The former Pentagon boss killed over a million people in Iraq. The country is still occupied by Big Oil.

Nobody in Iraq is mourning Rumsfeld, who died June 29. Neither should we.

The world was horrified in 2004 by the picture of Abdou Hussain Saad Faleh being tortured by U.S. interrogators in the Abu Ghraib, Iraq, prison. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld oversaw the torture of thousands. 

He and former Vice President Dick Cheney called waterboarding and other painful cruelties “enhanced interrogation.” Torture centers were set up in Iraq, Afghanistan and the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo, on land stolen from Cuba.

On Dec. 2, 2002, Rumsfeld approved a memo detailing torture methods with one reservation referring to prisoners being forced to stand. He wrote, “I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours?”

Capitalism produces pigs like Donald Rumsfeld and Derek Chauvin, who tortured George Floyd to death. A century before Iraq was invaded in 2003, U.S. occupation forces used waterboarding to torture Filipinos. 

Enslaved Africans were regularly tortured on plantations. Every lynching was torture.

So was the hanging of 38 members of Dakota Sioux nation in Mankato, Minn., on Dec. 26, 1862. Texas Rangers regularly brutalized Mexican and Black people.

Lies are a weapon

The road to invading Iraq was paved with lies. Within five hours after the Pentagon was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, Rumsfeld ordered his flunkies to start making plans to invade Iraq. 

There was never a link between Iraq and the 9/11/01 attacks. That didn’t prevent President George W. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld from claiming there was. 

Even more lies were told about Iraq having “weapons of mass destruction.” The Bush administration was aided by the capitalist media, including the New York Times, which hyped the alleged threat.

Half of the Democrats in the U.S. Senate — including Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry — voted to authorize an invasion of Iraq. The blood of a million people is on their hands too.

There was almost no opposition in Congress to the U.S. invading Afghanistan. The Watson Institute at Brown University estimates that  241,000 civilians were killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Since 2016, 40 percent of those killed by U.S. airstrikes were children. 

These wars were a bonanza for Big Oil. ExxonMobil was making profits of $100 million per day. The rise in oil prices is what made fracking possible.

Iraq became a bloody playground for the Project for the New American Century, whose members included Rumsfeld and Cheney. They were convinced they could return to the days of open colonial rule since the Soviet Union had been overthrown.

U.S. occupation forces allowed the National Museum in Baghdad to be looted. Rumsfeld’s response to 15,000 priceless antiquities being stolen was “stuff happens.” 

White mercenaries who had fought for apartheid South Africa were recruited to kill Iraqis.

GIs were also roadkill. Over 6,700 came home from Afghanistan and Iraq in a box. Thousands of GIs were forced to stay in the military for longer than they signed up for under the Pentagon’s “stop loss” program.

Depleted uranium weapons sickened many. Around 1.7 million veterans of the post-9/11 wars are disabled. They aren’t mourning Rumsfeld either.

War on poor people

For both Rumsfeld and Cheney, their careers began and continued to be connected with the war against Black America and attacking all poor people. While trillions were spent on destroying Iraq and Afghanistan, they let Black and poor people drown and starve in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

As a Republican member of Congress from Illinois in the 1960s, Rumsfeld voted against establishing the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO), part of the “War on Poverty.” 

President Richard Nixon then hired Rumsfeld to wreck it. A particular target was the Legal Assistance Corporation, which provided lawyers for poor people.

Rumsfeld hired Dick Cheney to be his sidekick at OEO. After Nixon was thrown out, Rumsfeld became President Gerald Ford’s chief of staff. Cheney was his assistant.

The tag team covered up the CIA murder of germ warfare expert Frank Olson. He had allegedly jumped to his death from Manhattan’s Statler Hotel (now the Hotel Pennsylvania), across from Penn Station, on Nov. 28, 1953. Future Watergate burglar James McCord made sure there weren’t any clues left in Olson’s hotel room.

More than 20 years later, a congressional committee revealed that Olson had been the subject of a previous LSD experiment. Cheney suggested that President Ford express regret to stop Olson’s family from filing a lawsuit. 

Congress appropriated $750,000 in hush money to the family while Ford met with them in the White House.

Olson was killed a few months after the armistice that ended the Korean War. The World Peace Council charged that the U.S. used germ warfare against Korean and Chinese soldiers.

Frank Olsen had been a scientist at the U.S. Army’s Fort Detrick, Md., germ warfare labs and worked on the CIA’s operation artichoke, which experimented on human beings. Was he about to blow the whistle on U.S. war crimes?

Frank Olson didn’t commit suicide. In 1994 forensic pathologist James Starrs examined Olson’s body and concluded that he “was intentionally, deliberately, with malice aforethought, thrown out of that window.” 

Like the lies they told about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction, the corporate media is trying to blame the COVID-19 pandemic on the People’s Republic of China. It’s the CIA and Fort Detrick that should be investigated instead.

Drug money

President Ford nominated Rumsfeld to be secretary of defense, the first of two times that he ran the Pentagon. But within 14 months he was out the door following Ford’s defeat in the 1976 presidential election.

Now was the time to make real money. Going back to Illinois, Rumsfeld was hired to be drug maker G.D. Searle’s boss. Between 1979 and 1984, Rumsfeld collected nearly $4 million in salary and bonuses.

Rumsfeld didn’t know much about chemistry, but he knew what palms to grease in Washington. He used all of his insider knowledge to get Searle’s artificial sweetener aspartame approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

For years the FDA refused approving aspartame because it kept flunking safety tests. But one day after Ronald Reagan was inaugurated president — with Rumsfeld on Reagan’s transition team — Searle filed again for approval. 

Six months later Reagan’s new FDA Commissioner Arthur Hayes Jr. gave the green light to aspartame. In 1985 Monsanto gobbled up Searle for $2.7 billion — quite a payday for the Searle family and Rumsfeld. 

During the 1980s Rumsfeld traveled to Baghdad twice on behalf of President Reagan to push for continuing the terrible Iran-Iraq War. U.S. big business wanted both these neighboring countries destroyed.

Rumsfeld later became CEO of Gilead, another big drug maker. It later wanted to sell its medication to cure hepatitis C for $1,000 per pill. The medical-industrial-complex is much like the military-industrial-complex. 

Rumsfeld made money off both. He ended up with a stash of $200 million. War crimes do pay. 

Hurry up Henry Kissinger. It’s time to join Donald Rumsfeld in hell.