The Other Donald

Andrew Cockburn in his book on Donald Rumsfeld, has Donald running outside of the Pentagon on 9/11 and picking up a piece of scrap, looking at it, and saying “Flight 77.” Apparently, it ended up as a souvenir in his office.

Not much gets talked about regarding the chain of command on the morning of September 11, 2001. The general in charge of the National Military Command Center headquartered at the Pentagon, Montague Winfield, appeared only after the Shanksville incident. The Hijack coordinator, Michael Canavan, the go beteen the FAA and Donald Rumsfeld, was in Puerto Rico with no designated replacement. Condoleezza Rice in her testimony to the 911 Commission, stated she could not get a hold of Rumsfeld on that most historic of mornings. Like Winfield and Canavan, the United States Secretary of Defense was nowhere to be found.

Nowhere, that is, until the Pentagon was hit. At that point, Rumsfeld coordinated the care of wounded and helped pick up bits of debris from the Pentagon lawn. There are lots of pictures to prove it. It’s great except that in June 2001, rules of engagement for hijackings were changed so all coordination of response went directly to the Secretary of Defense. Without his input, the chain of command had to be second guessed together. You can hear the frustration in the tapes of the NORAD and FAA personnel.

In short, it was really cheeky for the guy in charge of coordinating hijack response to be out on the Pentagon lawn during the first major hijacking out of a U.S. airport in 25 years, as well as the second, third and fourth. How did he know that there wouldn’t be a fifth, sixth, or even seventh in short order? And there he’d be, photographed on the lawn while another plane disintegrated with all its contents.

Apparently, he did such a good job that day that Donald Rumsfeld stayed on as Secretary of Defense through George W. Bush’s entire first term. Strange things unrelated to any hijackings started happening. Wesley Clark stated that on that very day, September 11, 2001, plans to invade Iraq were underway, even though Iraq had no pertinence to the debris spread on the lawn of the Pentagon.

Interestingly, Donald Rumsfeld gave a speech on September 10, 2001, which if you listen to it, is kind of a pep talk for military contractors. You could argue that the private sector benefited the most from 9/11. The endless wars blamed on 9/11 terrorists needed endless supplies. Ironically, the Naval accounting office suffered the direct hit.

Errol Morris produced a film about Donald Rumsfeld. He has Rumsfeld golly goshing he never said Saddam Hussein was involved with the events of 9/11. Then there is a tape of Rumsfeld circa 2003, golly goshing about gee whiz it’s so obvious Hussein was involved.

Serial killers like to keep momentos of their victims. Their real genius, the genius that keeps them free from prosecution, is a chameleon like ability to be able to go to the crime scenes, to help with the cleanup, and to seem like golly gosh such normal people. I think about that when I think of Donald Rumsfeld. What a really strange guy.