Donald Rumsfeld

Torture Connection: 
Set the tone at the Pentagon for trickle-down torture
  • Born 1932, Evanston, Illinois.
  • Graduated from Princeton. Attended Georgetown University Law Center but did not graduate.
  • Elected to U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois beginning in 1962.
  • Joined Nixon White House in 1969. Served in several positions, eventually at cabinet level and as U.S. representative to NATO.
  • Became White House Chief of Staff, then Secretary of Defense for President Ford.
  • Headed corporations including G.D. Searle pharmaeuticals and General Instument.
  • Served as George W. Bush's Secretary of Defense, 2001-2006.
  • In retirement, named a one-year fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

Rumsfeld approves brutal interrogation methods, invites military to ask him about pushing the envelope even further

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld supervised the military’s planning for extreme interrogation methods outlawed by the army field manual and the Geneva Conventions. He arranged for legal memos to approve additional techniques, and he personally signed off on specific methods, sometimes with jokes to the effect that the techniques were more coddling than torture. He invited commanders in the field to propose even more varieties of torture, leaving the clear impression that he was eager to approve whatever they would like to try. The waterboarding, stress positions, use of dogs, and other techniques were initially approved for use at Guantanamo but soon spread throughout the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Rumsfeld’s approval of torturous interrogation “a direct cause” of Abu Ghraib abuses

Rumsfeld encouraged widespread use of torture during interrogations of detainees. He sent Gen. Geoffrey Miller from Guantanamo to Iraq to “Gitmo-ize” interrogation procedures at Abu Ghraib. His torture policies “conveyed the message that physical pressures and degradation were appropriate” in prisons run by Americans; the eleven low-ranking soldiers eventually convicted of abusing Abu Ghraib prisoners were not the rare “bad apples” in our army, as Rumsfeld and other officials insisted, but rather were reflecting the tone of our entire military occupation, as set from the very top, in a “trickle down” culture of torture.

Sources on Donald Rumsfeld

Global Researc
The Dissenter
The Christian Science Monitor
The Daily Beast
Daily Kos
Al Jazeera English
The Sacramento Bee
In These Times
New York Times
Fire Dog Lake
The Guardian
Huffington Post
Seattle Times
Senate Judiciary Committee hearing