"...what made Rumsfeld's performance special was the preview it offered of the ambitious propaganda campaign planned between now and Election Day. An on-the-ropes White House plans to stop at nothing when rewriting its record of defeat (not to be confused with defeatism) in a war that has now lasted longer than America's fight against the actual Nazis in World War II.
Here's how brazen Rumsfeld was when he invoked Hitler's appeasers to score his cheap points: Since Hitler was photographed warmly shaking Neville Chamberlain's hand at Munich in 1938, the only image that comes close to matching it in epochal obsequiousness is the December 1983 photograph of Rumsfeld himself in Baghdad, warmly shaking the hand of Saddam Hussein in full fascist regalia. Is the defense secretary so self-deluded that he thought no one would remember a picture so easily Googled on the Web? Or worse, is he just too shameless to care?
...Well before Rumsfeld's trip, Amnesty International had reported the dictator's use of torture -- 'beating, burning, sexual abuse and the infliction of electric shocks' -- on hundreds of political prisoners. Dozens more had been summarily executed or had 'disappeared.' American intelligence agencies knew that Saddam had used chemical weapons to gas both Iraqi Kurds and Iranians.
According to declassified State Department memos detailing Rumsfeld's Baghdad meetings, the American visitor never raised the subject of these crimes with his host..."
[Neville] Chamberlain's political legacy is defined by his dealings with and appeasement of Nazi Germany. He signed the Munich Agreement with Adolf Hitler in 1938 which effectively allowed Germany to annex the Sudetenland, leaving Czechoslovakia vulnerable to German attack, one of the steps on the road to World War II. Chamberlain remained in office during the Phony War, from September 1939 to May 1940, but resigned the premiership immediately after Germany invaded the Netherlands, Belgium and France, and died of cancer within six months.
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