[Marxism] Rumsfeld sounds defensive; German foreign minister fears US failure

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sat Feb 7 23:58:15 MST 2004

Rhe appeal is becoming more and more exclusively to the emotions --
patriotism, America Firstism, shoot first and ask questions later or
better yet, don't ask.
Rumsfeld blames the weakening of the US image internationally, which
he acknowledges, on the US media.  (Perhaps he now subscribes to the
Militant, which has taken to excoriating the "mostly liberal media"
for telling lies in order to discredit what the Militant regards as
Washington's epoch-making Iraq victory. The Militant explains that the
"mostly liberal media" is doing tis as a dirty-tricks effort to
prevent the re-election of Bush.)

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer's comments reaffirm the
interimperialist dispute over Iraq, but highlight its limits.  The US
problems in Iraq are undermining the chances that France and Germany
will be successfully frozen out of that market, but a US defeat would
undermine the stability of the whole imperialist system and make it
harder for any and all imperialist powers to enforce their will.
Fred Feldman


Agence France-Presse February 7, 2004


NICH -- US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made an emotional defense
of the US-led war on Iraq but acknowledged that it has taken a toll on
the US image in the world.

"I know in my heart and my brain that America ain't what's wrong in
the world," he told an audience of defense and foreign policy
luminaries here that included some the fiercest European opponents of
the war.

Rumsfeld spoke shortly after German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer
told the same audience that events in Iraq had proven Germany's
anti-war position to be right.

But Fischer said that everyone would be losers if the US coalition in
Iraq were to fail now.

Despite his "deep skepticism," the German minister said that Berlin
would not stand in the way of deeper NATO involvement in Iraq but it
would send no troops of its own.

The debate came at the annual Munich security conference in this
southern German city.

Rumsfeld defended the war in emotional terms as an action to free a
brutalized people from a tyrant who passed up a final opportunity to
fully disarm under the terms of UN Security Council resolutions.

At one point, he appeared to choke up on the podium as he recounted
seeing the name of a high school friend on a memorial to US dead in
the 1950-53 Korean war.

He recalled being questioned later by a South Korean journalist who
asked why Koreans should go all the way to Iraq to risk death.

"That would have been a fair question for an American journalist to
ask. Why in the world should an American go halfway around the world
to Korea to be wounded or die?"

"We were in a building that looked out over the city of Seoul.  I
said, 'I'll tell you why. Look out that window.'  And out that window
you could see life, and cars and energy," he said.

Rumsfeld skirted questions about the US failure to find weapons of
mass destruction in Iraq, a key rationale for the US invasion.

Asked about the intelligence failures, Rumsfeld said it was a question
of critical importance that would be looked at by a commission named
Friday by President George W. Bush.

But he argued that preemptive military action had to be weighed in a
world in which terrorists and the proliferation of weapons of mass
destruction raised the prospects of thousands of people being killed
in attacks.

"If someone is going to throw a snowball, you may not want to have a
preemptive attack," he said.  "You can afford to take the blow, and
live with it and do something after the fact."

"As you go upscale from snowball to weapons of mass destruction, at
some point where the risk gets high enough it's not going to be a
snowball in your face," he said.

"It could be a biological weapon that is going to kill tens of
thousands of human beings.  Then you have to ask yourself if you have
an obligation to take the blow and do something afterwards."

Rumsfeld acknowledged an assertion that the US image in the world had
been hurt but blamed it on media coverage, which he called "shocking,
absolutely shocking."

"To think what was going on in Iraq a year ago with people being
tortured, rape rooms, mass graves, gross corruption, a country that
had used chemical weapons on its own people, used them on their
neighbors, defiant to the United Nations through 17 security council
resolutions," he said.

"And look at the way it was treated in the press.  There were
prominent people who represent countries in this room who opined that
they didn't think it made a hell of a lot of difference who won," he

Fischer defended Germany's decision not to join the US-coalition.

"It was a political decision not to join the coalition because we were
not and we are still not convinced of the validity of the reasons for
war," he said.

But he said the allies must look forward and work together.

"The forces of violence and terror must not win the upper hand," he

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