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The Slander That Launched Don Rumsfeld's Career

Posted: 2006-04-12
From: Chris Floyd
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Photo: Nitze


Written by Chris Floyd
Tuesday, 11 April 2006
An anecdote from James Carroll's magnificent new book, House of War (which I'll be reviewing here soon) provides a brief but penetrating glimpse at the gutter politics and moral nullity that have marked the entire career of the Pentagon warlord -- and the rest of his cohorts in the Bush gang.

In 1963, John F. Kennedy nominated Paul H. Nitze as Secretary of the Navy. This was actually a demotion for Nitze, who, as Carroll notes, had been at the very heart of American power for almost 20 years by then. He was in fact one of the godfathers of the Cold War, a Wall Street blue-blood turned high-level bureaucrat who served several presidents but was always driven by the same vision: projecting American dominance to the four corners of the earth, using an ever-expanding nuclear arsenal as the tip of the spear. For Nitze, thoroughly marinated in the "paranoid school" of U.S. political thought, no Pentagon budget was ever too big, no policy was ever too aggressive (including first-strike nuclear attacks), no restriction on American liberty was ever sufficient to stave off the demonic, all-powerful "evil empire" of the Soviet Union, which threatened, at every moment, to destroy America and its "way of life."

Nitze was the author of NSC-68, the document that more than any other engineered the militarization of American society and constituted the re-founding of the country as a "National Security State," controlled by the military-industrial complex and driven by a nightmare vision of exaggerated threats, craven fear, secrecy and deception, bellicosity and brinkmanship. This vision has waxed and waned in intensity at various times over the years, but it has never been displaced as the central dynamic of American power. The demonic, all-powerful enemy has now morphed from the Soviet Union to Islamic extremism, but the paranoid rhetoric and "Pentagon uber alles" philosophy of the Cold War has been seamlessly transferred whole cloth to the supposedly transformed "post-9/11 age."

And in the Bush administration, this nightmare Nitzean philosophy has reached its apotheosis in the war-making, liberty-gutting dictatorship of the Commander-in-Chief that George W. Bush proclaims more openly every day. Thus Nitze is one of the Founding Fathers of the new Bushist State, and Rumsfeld is one of his most dutiful sons.

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