Rumsfeld: Off the Hook

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has gotten away with committing war crimes. It's time to bring him to justice.

“You want to feel important and powerful and dominant and in control of things? Fine, kill somebody, and while you’re at it, kill a lot of people ...”

The comments by criminologist Jack Levin were aimed at a 19-year-old who gunned down eight people in a mall in Omaha, Nebraska last December, but they reflect the culture of violence that affects all levels of our society. The highest example of this is former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: four years after the sadistic torture techniques of the US army surfaced in the photos of naked, hooded men in the Abu Ghraib prison, the man who orchestrated it all – Rumsfeld – remains “powerful and in control.” So far, five lawsuits claiming torture and human rights abuses have been filed against him by human rights groups, and all five have been dismissed. The latest decision by a French judge to drop the case against Rumsfeld was a heavy blow to activist groups such as the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), both of which had worked to file a lawsuit against him during his visit to Paris last October.

“It’s a license to kill; it’s essentially a license to torture,” says Michael Ratner, president of CCR and a distinguished New York attorney. “You can get away with murder, torture, and never bear any responsibility in the US – I expected that in the US, but I didn’t expect it in Europe.”

Ratner says he plans to make the world a “very small place” for Rumsfeld by filing lawsuits against him around the world, with new cases being filed in Spain and Argentina. His hope is to restrict Rumsfeld’s travel, much like what happened with Henry Kissinger, who has been prosecuted in France, Brazil, Chile, Spain and Argentina for war crimes perpetrated during his role as US Secretary of State in the ’70s. In addition to the kidnapping and killing of Chilean officer René Schneider in 1970, Kissinger is seen as the mastermind behind bloody coups d’état in Chile and Argentina, while his policies are said to have led to the deaths of millions in Vietnam and Cambodia.

Yet, like Kissenger, a few canceled plane tickets may be the heaviest price that Rumsfeld will ever have to pay for destroying the lives of millions of Iraqi civilians and for torturing detainees in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. With the absence of public debate on torture, Rumsfeld has enjoyed total immunity for his crimes, and continues to work as a Distinguished Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute.

So long as men like Rumsfeld are allowed to walk free, we are sending a dangerous message to our next generation: if you want to become an important person, kill someone, and while you’re at it, kill a lot of people. The violation will be treated with astonishing clemency; the victims’ names will be forgotten within a year, maybe two, while yours will be forever etched into memory.

40 comments on the article “Rumsfeld: Off the Hook”

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If Rumsfeld is ever to be brought to justice, you need to first get the Republicans out of power. In order to do that you have to make it impossible for them to challenge the votes of three million black, hispanic and native american voters as they did in 2000 and 2004 when the Democrats actually won. Electoral fraud needs to be stopped for the upcoming election so that the people's votes actually count. Oh the bitter irony of spreading freedom.

Rev. Raikes

While we're handing out indictments, let's start holding the 'merican people accountable for not going stark raving mad with anguish, marching en masse to DC and deposing country/world hijackers. Of this, I too am guilty. Silence is consent.


Yet another assault against Republicans by anti-American enemy appeasers. When compared to all of the world's past empires and superpowers; and when compared to the atheist dictators of the 20th century, and the current terrorist regimes in the Middle EastAmerica and its leaders are extremely nonviolent. Despite our power and wealth, we are the arbiters of the world. We stand for democracy and personal liberty. To accuse our leaders in such a demeaning way is appalling. Despite our numerous errors and bad behavior, we have done more good for the world, singlehandedly, then any other nation on the face of the earth. What we occasionally do that is wrong, is more than compensated for by our endless humanitarian contributions. Without America, the world would be a dark, dark place.

John H

In 2002, I heard Rumsfeld describe the bombs the U.S. was dropping on Iraq as compassionate. Think about that...He was saying the technology we are using in the weaponry was compassionate. It takes a sick, beast to think like that.

Rumsfeld is one of a handful of people that orchestrated 911, He is directly responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths around the world. He is a war criminal and a traitor and I for one, can't wait so see him swinging on the hook. Not the list of criminal charges hook, but a meat hook.


There have been greater nations then America in the world, and they seemed a lot more tolerating and a lot less arrogant. And the nations targeted now are the nations that are the ancestors for those great empires.


I am not a fan of Bush or the administration, or this war. Poor Ingrid, living in delusions, believing the lies that a Democrat won the presidency in 2000 and 2004. Every way that Gore wanted Florida recounted wound up with a bigger lead for Bush. Or so the recounts performed by the USA Today and Miami Herald who wanted Bush OUT found. I guess the more a lie is repeated Dems won in 2000 and 2004, the more people will believe it!


In general the attacks on Rumsfeld reflect anti American sentiment. I watched a video of Russian guards beating prisers on tv the other night. Also china regularly tortures the Fallon Gong. Your going to say will this does not give the us the right to abuse prisoners, but there is a difference between beating, and real torture, versus humiliating a person. If you said making fun of someone is different than pulling their fingernails off, that I would agree with. But then you would not have anything to write about if you made that distinction.

Kurt Cullen

I find paralleling the senseless actions of a 19yearold sociopath with actions of the Defense Secretary of the USA absurd. I would never contest the fact that war sucks, but the legitimized authority we, as citizens, grant to political leaders through democratic venues allows leaders like Rumsfeld the immunity to guide military policy. AntiAmerican authority sentiment like this absurd.

robert feinstein

This is just about the time of the 40th anniversary of the MyLai Massacre in Vietnam when American troops slaughtered over 500 villagers, mostly women & children one officer was charged & convicted, Let's hear it for USof A with that, Hiroshima, Dresden & Nagasaki we're certainly among the top ten killer of civilians in the world. Let's hear it for us!


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