Rumsfeld leaves a trace on his way out

rumsfeld-i-dont-see-a-civil-war2.jpgRead the text of a classified Nov. 6 memorandum that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld sent to the White House suggesting new strategic options in Iraq. The memorandum was sent one day before the midterm Congressional elections and two days before Mr. Rumsfeld resigned. These options reveal to us how they think. It will be interesting for us to see what of these will be adopted by the remaining two years of the current US administration and possibly future democratic administration. In any case, just pick these two option for illustrative purpose:

“Publicly announce a set of benchmarks agreed to by the Iraqi Government and the U.S. — political, economic and security goals — to chart a path ahead for the Iraqi government and Iraqi people (to get them moving) and for the U.S. public (to reassure them that progress can and is being made).”

Here the request is for a set of target/benchmarks against which military intervention in Iraq is measured and assessed. Measurement here has a function of double coupling: on hand hand to couple US political, economic and security goals to Iraqi Government and on the other to couple US military intervention in Iraq with domestic aspirations of the public (i.e. factroy of consent).

Another interesting point is the application of disciplinary processes to engineer “behavioural changes”.

¶Stop rewarding bad behavior, as was done in Fallujah when they pushed in reconstruction funds, and start rewarding good behavior. Put our reconstruction efforts in those parts of Iraq that are behaving, and invest and create havens of opportunity to reward them for their good behavior. As the old saying goes, “If you want more of something, reward it; if you want less of something, penalize it.” No more reconstruction assistance in areas where there is violence.

Here resources for reconstruction are not seen as tied to a general political goal which might bring benefit to the US in the future, but as a specific strategy of subjectification, of creation of subjects behaving in certain ways. Interestingly, this was the idea for the entire of Iraq, once they got in in the first place. When they invaded, the plan was indeed to make of the whole of Iraq a “havens of opportunity” to hold as a exemplary case of a fully neoliberal state in the hearth of the Middle East.

And what to say of this other piece, in which Rumsfeld advice to use some old Saddam Hussain methods to gain support in Iraq: “Provide money to key political and religious leaders (as Saddam Hussein did), to get them to help us get through this difficult period.” Wasn’t Goring who said that the methods of propaganda, corruption and denunciation of “anti-patriotism” were applicable to all systems of government?

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