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Friday, September 27, 2002
Deborah Zabarenko of Reuters is reporting that Secrety of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was in Atlanta today arguing for military action against Iraq.
Zabarenko says that Rumsfeld compared attacking Iraq the actions of John F. Kennedy that lead to the Cuban Missile Crisis and quotes Rumsfeld as saying:
"(Kennedy) decided to engage in pre-emptive action -- preventative action, self-defense, call it what you wish -- and he went out and blockaded ... them, put the world into a very tense, dangerous, among the most dangerous of my lifetime, circumstances, and prevailed because he did take preventative action," Rumsfeld said. "So I don't think it's a new thing."This is a good point and yet not very convincing. Leaving aside the obvious difference between prevening a country from placing weapons in a particular place and taking over a country, the Cuban Missile Crisis was provoked by an understandable desire by the U.S. to have a military advanatage over the Soviet Union -the U.S. already had nuclear weapons near Turkey's border with what was the Soviet Union- that was justified by hypocritical means since the U.S. did not publicly acknowledge that the Soviets were just seeking parity of weapons placement. This is a lot like the hypocritical ways in which people in the U.S. justify trying to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of other countries.
And while it is true that Kennedy was not implying that he had the intentions of going around the world overthrowing governments the U.S. didn't like, Seymour Hersh makes it clear in his excellent book The Dark Side of Camelot that the 35th President was interested and involved in such actions and arguably obsessed with removing Fidel Castro from power.
The Cuban Missile Crisis stemmed from the imperial desires of the U.S. every bit as much as the Bush Adminstrations plans for invading Iraq do now. It is too bad Rumsfeld can't just be honest about it.