According to news reports, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is under fire for his “breathtaking arrogance.” Even William Kristol, one of the Iraq war’s most ardent supporters and editor of the neocon Weekly Standard, said no wartime defense secretary had ever “so breezily dodged responsibility and so glibly passed the buck.”
Some people in government are calling for Rumsfeld’s resignation. These include Senator John McCain, who obviously is positioning himself as an opponent of Mr. Bush following the disaster in Iraq. This week McCain said he had “lost confidence” in the Pentagon chief.
And now Rumsfeld is being charged as a war criminal. Earlier this week, lawyers acting for a U.S. advocacy group filed war crimes charges in Germany against several U.S. administration officials – including Rumsfeld, former CIA chief George Tenet, and eight other officials – for their alleged role in torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. “German law in this area is leading the world,” Peter Weiss, Vice President of the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, a human rights group, was quoted as saying last Tuesday in the Frankfurter Rundschau.
Don’t expect Rumsfeld to be tried, at least any time
soon. No foreign government will ever arrest a U.S. official. In fact,
it’s obvious that no one connected to Iraq under President Bush will ever
be held accountable for their actions. A 13-page internal investigation
submitted one month before the Abu Ghraib story broke stated that torture
was being used and was tacitly approved by Washington. Did that make any
difference in U.S. policy? Not when the White House thinks it’s OK to use
information gained through torture.
How many heads have rolled over the brutal disaster that is Iraq today? Not one. Mr. Bush has not held a single person accountable and he will not. Everyone in power is squeaky clean. As the president claimed in his 2003 State of the Union Address, there is “power, wonder-working power, in the goodness and idealism and faith of the American people.”
But that’s not the end of the story.
We poor sinners – all of us – will one day be judged by the Word of God and stand before the bar of Christ. How ridiculous to act as though we might escape the justice of God! Conditions that should put the nation at the mourners’ bench are subjects of wisecracks and ridicule. Our delinquent generation, juvenile and adult, will not get back on track until it hears the One who chastens and rebukes.
Arrogance is not just Rumsfeld’s problem. It is our national sin. A generation that flouts the law and makes sport of justice will meet its match when it comes against the bar of God’s justice. Arrogance is moral leprosy, and to put up with leprosy is to die of leprosy. If, as a nation, we do not deal with the malignancy it will deal with us, and malignancy tolerates nothing.
There’s a lesson to be learned from Secretary Rumsfeld. We cannot break God’s laws. We break ourselves against them. Nor can we pass the buck to others. One day men will call on the rocks and mountains to hide them from the wrath of the Lamb.
Rumsfeld’s trial – and ours – is inevitable. The man who has any doubts about his readiness to die can do nothing better than to start right now by pondering his “day in court,” his appointment with the Almighty.
December 16, 2004
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com. He is the author of Why I Stopped Listening to Rush and numerous other books.