August 3rd, 2007

Donald Rumsfeld Gilds The Lily One More Time, For Old Times’ Sake (With a Teary Eyed Look Back at Martha Rainville)

by Philip Baruth

dick and rummy

Like old times.

One of VDB’s favorite targets suddenly wandered back into range yesterday. That’s right: Donald Henry Rumsfeld. Back in the day, we injured our right rotator cuff, banging so hard and so frequently on Rummy, and here he was again, older, grayer, rheumy in the eyes, and trailing the same stale scent of mendacity.

This time it was the Pat Tillman affair: the lies to Tillman’s family, the use of a false narrative of heroism to sell the Global War on Terror, the new suspicions of not merely friendly fire, but all-out fragging.

But Rummy knew nothing, and could be made to know nothing.

And so the whole thing was nearly a wash, until the end of his testimony, when Rumsfeld managed a rhetorical dismount that even Ziegler in his prime might have passed up as too intricate, too risky.

Asked if he had learned the truth about Tillman’s death, and if he and the White House had ever discussed it during the month before the Tillmans were told, Rumsfeld had this to say:

I can say without qualification that I can’t recall ever having a discussion with anyone in the White House on press strategy relating to the Tillman matter in any aspect of it,” Rumsfeld said

Rummy has, in other words, unshakeable confidence in the extent of his selective amnesia, and he doesn’t care who knows it.

It’s worth remembering that three things cost Martha Rainville the seat in Congress she so desired: 1) she refused to overtly criticize the progress of the War; 2) she refused to promise that she wouldn’t vote to return Dennis Hastert to the Speaker’s Chair; and 3) she refused, again and again and again, to call for the head of Donald Rumsfeld, even when events like Abu Ghraib showed his heart to be shriveled and smudgy black.

martha, in camoAnd now he is gone. And so is she.

We like to think that they meet occasionally for lunch, at some Red Lobster out in Maryland, where they have an Early Bird Special, and Don picks up the tab and always wears a bit of extra BrylCream and his one decent Italian suit.

We like to think that they have a few Manhattans and talk about what might have been.

And each gets a little lit near the end of the lunch, and tears come to their eyes when they consider the vast unfairness of it all.

But mostly we like to think about the part where they each get back into their cars, and they each head back to their own custom-made Beltway purgatories.

Bad as it is, Rumsfeld has it easier: he returns to an empty, loveless condominium in the wasteland of Northern Virginia, and there he has only to deal with recriminations, the scorn of his colleagues, and the collective disapproval of humanity.

Martha, of course, punches back in at FEMA.