Donald Rumsfeld

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Donald Rumsfeld : biography

July 9, 1932 –

Prisoner abuse and torture

The Department of Defense’s preliminary concerns for holding, housing, and interrogating captured prisoners on the battlefield were raised during the military build-up prior to the Iraq War. Because Saddam Hussein’s military forces surrendered when faced with military action, many within the DOD, including Rumsfeld and United States Central Command General Tommy Franks, decided it was in the best interest of all to hand these prisoners over to their respective countries. Additionally, it was determined that maintaining a large holding facility was, at the time, unrealistic. Instead, the use of many facilities such as Abu Ghraib would be utilized to house prisoners prior to handing them over and Rumsfeld defended the Bush administration’s decision to detain enemy combatants without protection under the Third Geneva Convention. Because of this, critics, including the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, would hold Rumsfeld responsible for the ensuing Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal. Rumsfeld himself said: "These events occurred on my watch as Secretary of Defense. I am accountable for them." He offered his resignation to President Bush in the wake of the scandal, but it was not accepted.Bush, George W. (2010), p. 88

In a memo read by Rumsfeld detailing how Guantanamo interrogators would induce stress in prisoners by forcing them to remain standing in one position for a maximum of four hours, Rumsfeld scrawled a handwritten note in the margin reading: "I stand for 8–10 hours a day. Why is standing [by prisoners] limited to four hours? D.R.".

Various organizations, such as Human Rights Watch, have called for investigations of Rumsfeld regarding his involvement in managing the Iraq War and his support of the Bush administration’s policies of enhanced interrogation techniques. In 2005 the ACLU and Human Rights First filed a lawsuit against Rumsfeld and other top government officials, "on behalf of eight men who they say were subjected to torture and abuse by U.S. forces under the command of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld." In 2005, a suit was filed against Rumsfeld by several human rights organizations for allegedly violating U.S. and international law that prohibits "torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment." Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel filed suit against the U.S. government and Rumsfeld on similar grounds, alleging that they were tortured and their rights of habeas corpus were violated.http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2011/08/09/donald-rumsfeld-faces-another-torture-lawsuit/ Donald Rumsfeld Faces Another Torture Lawsuit by Patrick G. Lee August 9, 2011 WSJhttp://www.presstv.ir/usdetail/194090.html Court allows torture lawsuit against Rumsfeld Aug 15, 2011 Press TVhttp://gulfnews.com/opinions/editorials/iraq-crimes-return-to-haunt-rumsfeld-1.849853 Iraq crimes return to haunt Rumsfeld; Former US defence secretary can no longer deflect responsibility for abuse of detainees August 11, 2011 Gulf Newshttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2024036/2-Americans-CAN-sue-Donald-Rumsfeld-tortured-US-army-Iraq.html?ito=feeds-newsxml Two American men CAN sue Donald Rumsfeld after ‘being tortured by U.S. army in Iraq when they worked for security firm’ by Oliver Pickup August 9, 2011 Mail Onlinehttp://articles.boston.com/2011-08-09/news/29868919_1_appeals-court-interrogation-techniques-torture Rumsfeld must face torture suit, appeals court says August 9, 2011 Bloomberg News via Boston.com In 2007, U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan ruled that Rumsfeld could not "be held personally responsible for actions taken in connection with his government job." The ACLU tried to revive the case in 2011 with no luck.

Resignation

Eight retired generals and admirals called for Rumsfeld to resign in early 2006 in what was called the "Generals Revolt," accusing him of "abysmal" military planning and lack of strategic competence. Commentator Pat Buchanan reported at the time that Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, who traveled often to Iraq and supported the war, claimed that the generals’ and admirals’ views mirror those of 75 percent of the officers in the field, and probably more."Creator’s Syndicate editorial, Pat Buchanan. Available via Rumsfeld rebuffed these criticisms, stating that "out of thousands and thousands of admirals and generals, if every time two or three people disagreed we changed the secretary of defense of the United States, it would be like a merry-go-round." Bush defended his secretary throughout, and responded by stating that Rumsfeld is "exactly what is needed".