The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Friday, February 28, 2003  

Spanish Government Says: "Muzzle Him!"
German Relatives Say: "We're Embarrassed!"

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld may get Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, and Kennedy all hot and bothered -- an effect he apparently has on President George W. Bush as well, to say nothing of Wolf Blitzer, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Michael Kelly, Mickey Kaus, Howard Kurtz, Andrew Sullivan, Mark Steyn, and George Will -- but he's apparently disgusting pretty much everyone else who comes across his path.

The Spanish government, which has been largely supportive of the Bush administration's impending 21st Century Crusades, has had enough of Rumsfeld's tiresome shtick.

The Wall Street Journal ("Spain's Aznar Tells Bush: Allies Need Political Cover," by Frederick Kempe and Carlta Vitzthum) reports:

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, one of America's staunchest allies on the United Nations Security Council, said in an interview that he has urged President Bush to help European leaders withstand the mounting political pressures they face over possible war with Iraq, including muzzling Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Mr. Aznar, who met with Mr. Bush over the weekend in Crawford, Texas, said: "I did tell the president that we need a lot of [Secretary of State Colin] Powell and not much of Rumsfeld," who has become a lightning rod for growing European opposition to the U.S. position against Baghdad. . . .

"Ministers of defense should talk less, shouldn't they? The more Powell speaks and the less Rumsfeld speaks, that wouldn't be a bad thing altogether," Mr. Aznar said.

And The Telegraph (London) earlier this month reported that Rumsfeld's German relatives, who once proudly welcomed the defense secretary into their homes, have disowned him.

The Telegraph's Tony Paterson writes ("Rumsfeld Family Tie is First Victim of War"):

The Rumsfelds of Weyhe-Sudweyhe, an unremarkable red-brick suburb of Bremen, were once proud of their long-lost cousin, America's secretary of state for defence [sic] -- but no longer.

Like many Germans, they are appalled by Donald Rumsfeld's hawkish attitude to military action against Saddam Hussein. About 18,000 anti-war demonstrators marched through Munich yesterday to protest at his presence at an international security conference -- chanting slogans such as "No room for Rumsfeld!"

"We think it is dreadful that Donald Rumsfeld is out there pushing for a war against Iraq," Karin Cecere (nee Rumsfeld), 59, said . . . last week. "We are embarrassed to be related to him," she told The Telegraph.

Margarete Rumsfeld, her 85-year-old mother, was equally dismissive: "We don't have much to do with him anymore. Nowadays he's just the American defence [sic] secretary to us, but for God's sake, he'd better not start a war," she added.

And so, in the event that Secretary Rumsfeld one day needs to find a home in exile -- Why is that we Americans don't send our disgraced politicians and government officials into exile? -- it looks like Spain and Germany are out of the question.

Paraguay, anyone?

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