Donald Rumsfeld is on his book tour, and what better place for him to distort the truth and remember the good old days than with his good comrade, Sean Hannity at FOX News. It's very insulting to watch him laugh about his many press briefings about the Iraq war since we learned that it was a war based on lies and neocon ideology.
Hannity: Those were fun moments...I think you were having a good time.
I don't think our troops or the Iraqi people were having a good time, Sean. Our press corp also bought into his act and didn't come out looking too good either. Back in 2006, a retired CIA analyst for over twenty years named Ray McGovern interrupted a speech by Donald, asking Rumsfeld why he lied about WMD's being in Iraq. At the time it caused quite the controversy.
As usual, The Daily Show and Jon Stewart examined some of the mindless reactions from the press including an incredible fluff job by then-FOX News reporter, Brett Baier:
RAY McGOVERN: And so, I would like to ask you to be up front with the American people. Why did you lie to get us into a war that was not necessary and that has caused these kinds of casualties? Why?
DONALD RUMSFELD:Well, first of all, I haven’t lied. I did not lie then. Colin Powell didn’t lie. He spent weeks and weeks with the Central Intelligence Agency people and prepared a presentation that I know he believed was accurate, and he presented that to the United Nations. The President spent weeks and weeks with the Central Intelligence people, and he went to the American people and made a presentation. I’m not in the intelligence business. They gave the world their honest opinion. It appears that there were not weapons of mass destruction there.
RAY McGOVERN:You said you knew where they were?
Stewart played Rumsfeld's MTP appearance where he stated he knew where the WMD's were and said:
Stewart: To be fair Rumsfeld probably never saw that episode of MTP...
No, but we sure did.
Will Bunch went to a speaking engagement featuring Rumsfeld and a funny thing happened. He never got an answer to a very important question that was never even asked.
Sharply attired in a navy blue suit, seated with hands clasped and uttering “Oh my gosh” in response to about every third or fourth question, Rumsfeld made it feel like 2003 all over again during much of the 70-minute session.
The same could arguably be said about the one controversial topic Rumsfeld did attempt to address in detail last night: The case for the war in Iraq.
Just as the public saw eight years ago, Rumsfeld threw out a jumbled kitchen sink of reasons for invading a country that had not attacked us on Sept. 11. These included violations of the “no fly zone” over Iraq, fears that Saddam Hussein might somehow attack the U.S. in smallpox (a threat that even Fox News debunked at the time), and the subsequent fact that Libya abandoned its weapons program in the wake of the U.S. attack in the region.
Of course, some of the key reasons given to Americans at the time — such as an allegation that Iraq had tried to buy yellowcake uranium in Africa — have long since been tossed down the memory hole.
Answering one of only a couple of audience questions on index cards that were filtered through Beschloss, Rumsfeld said of the different between the Iraq War and Vietnam: “The Vietnamese were not likely to come and attack the United States of America.”
Yet the CIA reported in October 2002 that it was unlikely that Iraq would launch any type of chemical or biological attack against America — unless we provoked the regime by attacking them.
Last night in America’s founding city, the competition of ideas did not involve journalists. There would be no news conference or interviews, no questions from the press at all and few from the public except several pre-screened by Beschloss.
Nevertheless, I grabbed an index card and wrote down a question, in the wildly futile hope that the moderator might select it. I wanted to know why — on the early afternoon of Sept. 11, with the Pentagon still on fire — Rumsfeld scribbled notes later made public about his desire to go after not just bin Laden but Saddam as well.
But like a lot of questions last night, that one remains somewhere in the “unknown” pile.