Jesus, Cockburn, how obviously are you going to play the schizophrenia card?
(NOTE: There is an error in the following. Please see the correction in the comments below.)
Andrew Cockburn, I was going to challenge you to a debate, but I see now you do an even better job of dismantling yourself.
One week you attack 9/11 skepticism using every cheap shot worthy of a Limbaugh, reducing it all to a laughable caricature that you yourself must recognize as unfair. (The families who lobbied for the 9/11 Commission ended up condemning it? Really? How would a busy fellow like you know that?)
The next week, you try to compensate - for the lost subscriptions, perhaps? - by reaching for the "Art Students," as though the only intelligence agencies who could have known that 9/11 was in the works would have had to be Israeli.
Now you present this great profile of Rumsfeld in the 1990s, the little emperor of a self-appointed Shadow Government who enjoyed nothing more than playing Strangelove in a bunker, firing off all his missiles and killing everyone. (READ MORE...)
You tell me: What does the following passage, taken from Salon's excerpt of Andrew Cockburn's forthcoming biography, tell us about Rumsfeld? Does it not make plausible the idea that a Rumsfeld could easily plan a "strategy of tension" - by orchestrating a 9/11, or planning it as a false-flag attack? In an echo chamber full of his fellow angry paranoids, losing a couple of thousand New Yorkers as the necessary sacrifice before launching an eternal world war would seem like peanuts!
Insofar as the COG games gave the illusion of reality, they taught Rumsfeld and his fellow players some dangerous lessons, particularly when the fall of the Soviet Union induced some changes in the usual scenarios. Although the exercises continued, still budgeted at over $200 million a year in the Clinton era, the vanished Soviets were now customarily replaced by terrorists. The terrorism envisaged, however, was almost always state-sponsored. Terrorists were never autonomous, but invariably acted on behalf of a government. "That was the conventional wisdom," recalled retired air force colonel Sam Gardner, who has designed dozens of war games for the Pentagon and related entities. "Behind the terrorist, there was always something bigger, and the games reflected that."
There were other changes too. In earlier times the specialists selected to run the "shadow government" had been drawn from across the political spectrum, Democrats and Republicans alike. But now, down in the bunkers, Rumsfeld found himself in politically congenial company, the players' roster being filled almost exclusively with Republican hawks.
"It was one way for these people to stay in touch. They'd meet, do the exercise but also sit around and castigate the Clinton administration in the most extreme way," a former Pentagon official with direct knowledge of the phenomenon told me. "You could say this was a secret government-in-waiting. The Clinton administration was extraordinarily inattentive, (they had) no idea what was going on."
Excerpted from "Rumsfeld" by Andrew Cockburn. Copyright © 2007 by Andrew Cockburn. Reprinted by permission from Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
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