Monday, March 20, 2006


Leaving Iraq now would be the same as handing postwar Germany back to the Nazis, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in a column published on Sunday, as retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton called Rumsfeld incompetent and urged him to resign.

"Turning our backs on postwar Iraq today would be the modern equivalent of handing postwar Germany back to the Nazis," Rumsfeld wrote in an essay published in The Washington Post on the third anniversary of the start of the Iraq war.

Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski both let it be known that the comparison is absurd:

Henry Kissinger, who served with U.S. forces in Germany at the end of World War II and who served as secretary of state under Republican Presidents Nixon and Ford, said the situations are not analogous.

"In Germany, the opposition was completely crushed; there was no significant resistance movement," the German-born diplomat told CNN's "Late Edition."

Zbigniew Brzezinski, who served as national security adviser under President Carter, a Democrat, was less charitable.

"That is really absolutely crazy to anyone who knows history," he said. "There was no alternative to our presence. The Germans were totally crushed. For Secretary Rumsfeld to be talking this way suggests either he doesn't know history or he's simply demagoguing."

I think it's the former. Rumsfeld has proved over and over that he does not have the slightest understanding of the Iraqi people or Iraqi history, and he has made it abundantly clear that he has no interest in understanding European culture or history, either.

I don't know a lot about Brzezinski, but as for Henry Kissinger: He may be morally and ethically impaired, but he is indisputably brilliant and knows more about history on his worst day than Rumsfeld does on his best.

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