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The episode aired Feb 23, 2011
The following will be my own comments on what I feel was a remarkable interview. I love Jon Stewart, I'm not convinced he's entirely real, but he does manage to get important guests, and grill them, nearly to my satisfaction. Rummy was his usual black-eyed, stoney self. He was slightly less coy than usual. He always has a slight smile. He has every reason to. Some people in positions of power get to see the man behind the curtain, Rummy knows them all.
Rumsfeld, who has been in the whitehouse, off and on, since Nixon, is one of the star players of the new world order and we should all be particularly happy when he is capable of stating anything. Anyone who knows Rummy, or has listened to him speak, (which should be all of us,) knows him to be the King of Filibuster. So when he makes the following statements in the interview, it becomes clear why I have chosen to comment and how the interview gains its importance:
-There was very little attaching Al Qaeda to Saddam Hussein.
-It is fair to say that convincing Americans to go into Iraq was both a harder sell than going into Afghanistan, as well as where the bulk of the administration's efforts were focused.
-We were wrong about the intelligence that lead us to war.
These sentences are paraphrazed, but you get the gist of the tone of the discussion. Jon tries so hard to be diplomatic about what he's saying, but ultimately he has to come out and ask it, "You are the authors and owners of this war and shouldn't you be held accountable?"
The thing is, Rummy doesn't disagree. I mean, he tries to disagree, and uses several diversions, but ultimately, careful semantics break him down.
Saying that the word "sell" was too strong a word to use when describing the intentionality of the Bush admin. meant only that "convince" was good enough. The first prong in Stewart's attack took some minor adjusting by the semantic deceptor, but ultimately he admits that there was purposeful momentum created for Iraq. He did not agree with Jon's definition of said authors of such momentum needing to be held accountable for such actions... He will only argue that "Saddam was bad" or that "America hasn't had an attack in ten years."
The next, quite interesting angle taken by Jon was something I was going to write up anyway, in terms of the current Libyan crisis. I was going to persue something along the lines of, "Did everybody get fucking amnesia?" Gaddafi was a crazy dictator 30 years ago, he's still there now. The only thing that has changed is our attitudes about people like him. When he has our oil, we put up with him. Hell, we'll even let him kill a jet full of people. You know what, forget even that, we'll go as far as to let you have the terrorist behind it back, a national hero. Enjoy your right to terrorize, you crazy kook, come to the G20!
Oh, sorry. Human moment....
Jon persued it with his usual diplomatic candor. I think that perhaps we all feel like, there were 19 highjackers, none of them from Iraq. Why are they not the targets of your intentions? Why didn't we move on Pakistan, Sudan, Saudia Arabia?
He even brought up the Project for a New American Century. Jon did everything he could to be blatant about the direction and desire of the administration being known by the public, admonishing it. "There is no reason at all for us to be in Iraq and we are made no safer by the war there."
Of course Rumsfeld disagrees. Yet it seems to me, he does so half heartedly. It almost feels to me as if he wants to come clean, but in his heart of hearts, actually cares about the monsters he protects.