Donald Rumsfeld

Facebook has an application called "Living Social" that's basically a list maker which searches for pictures to go along with your answers. It's fairly popular among the people who are on my friends list, and I've done a few myself. I've always skipped the suggestion "Five people I'd like to punch in the face" list because I like to be funny about these things when possible--on my list of people I'd want on my side in a bar fight I put Bjork, after all--but after this story about Donald Rumsfeld, I might have to revisit that policy.

When Frank Rich talked about this story in his Sunday column, he focused on this side of Rumsfeld:

But Draper’s biggest find is a collection of daily cover sheets that Rumsfeld approved for the Secretary of Defense Worldwide Intelligence Update, a highly classified digest prepared for a tiny audience, including the president, and often delivered by hand to the White House by the defense secretary himself. These cover sheets greeted Bush each day with triumphal color photos of the war headlined by biblical quotations. GQ is posting 11 of them, and they are seriously creepy.
They are, and that part of the article is seriously disturbing, but it's another part of the story that hits me closer to home.
a final story of Rumsfeld’s intransigence begins on Wednesday, August 31, 2005. Two days after Hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleans—and the same day that Bush viewed the damage on a flyover from his Crawford, Texas, retreat back to Washington—a White House advance team toured the devastation in an Air Force helicopter. Noticing that their chopper was outfitted with a search-and-rescue lift, one of the advance men said to the pilot, “We’re not taking you away from grabbing people off of rooftops, are we?”

“No, sir,” said the pilot. He explained that he was from Florida’s Hurlburt Field Air Force base—roughly 200 miles from New Orleans—which contained an entire fleet of search-and-rescue helicopters. “I’m just here because you’re here,” the pilot added. “My whole unit’s sitting back at Hurlburt, wondering why we’re not being used.”

The search-and-rescue helicopters were not being used because Donald Rumsfeld had not yet approved their deployment—even though, as Lieutenant General Russ HonorĂ©, the cigar-chomping commander of Joint Task Force Katrina, would later tell me, “that Wednesday, we needed to evacuate people. The few helicopters we had in there were busy, and we were trying to deploy more.”
The section on Rumsfeld and Katrina goes on for another page and a half, and it only gets worse. Rumsfeld actively resisted putting active duty soldiers to work in the relief efforts after Katrina, while people were suffering and dying all along the Gulf Coast. You really need to read the whole thing.

And yeah, I'd punch Rumsfeld in the face if I got the chance.

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