torsdag 19. desember 2013

“No decent targets in Afghanistan, so bomb Iraq”

I try to be “neutral” to how people look. I really do. I have to admit, though, that the US Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld - serving under President George W. Bush - always gave me this creeping feeling down my spine when I saw and heard him on TV. I never said this aloud to anyone, since he also presented himself as both tough and a man of action. Our own Defence Minister at the time, Kristin Krohn Devold, even seemed to have a crush on the man. She most notably would beam in his presence.

Having now learned what Secretary Rumsfeld did and said in internal top level meetings in the White House in the immediate aftermath of the terror attacks on September 11th 2001, I trust my feelings - creeping or not - to peoples’ looks more than ever. The story is told in the book “Against All Enemies” by Richard Clarke, who was chairman of the Anti-Terrorism Group and an important advisor to the Bush administration the years before and after the attacks. He took part in the meetings and the discussions. Here is from his book, chapter 1:

“By the afternoon on Wednesday [after Sept. 11], Secretary Rumsfeld was talking about broadening the objectives of our response and "getting Iraq". Secretary Powell pushed back, urging a focus on al Qaeda. Relieved to have some support, I thanked Colin Powell. "I thought I was missing something here," I vented. "Having been attacked by al Qaeda, for us now to go bombing Iraq in response would be like our invading Mexico after the Japanese attacked us at Pearl Harbor.".

Powell shook his head. "It's not over yet." Indeed, it was not. Later in the day, Secretary Rumsfeld complained that there were no decent targets for bombing in Afghanistan and that we should consider bombing Iraq, which, he said, had better targets. At first I thought Rumsfeld was joking. But he was serious and the President did not reject out of hand the idea of attacking Iraq. Instead, he noted that what we needed to do with Iraq was to change the government, not just hit it with more cruise missiles, as Rumsfeld had implied.”.

I am really grateful on behalf of mankind that this person and his President were not in charge in the US during the Cold War, when the nuclear power Soviet Union was the adversary No 1.
I say no more!

Knut Harald Nylænde is a Norwegian businessman and investor who through his investment company Moxie AS invests in and gives advice to smaller growth companies and real estate projects.