A special kind of satisfaction often accompanies the phenomenon of ordinary internet users trolling and embarrassing corrupt politicians, media corporations, and war criminals on Twitter. In the recent past, CNN, Hillary Clinton, and Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz have taken to the social media site — only to feel the wrath of internet users who call bullsh*t on their public personas and statements.
On Monday morning, former Bush defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, attempted to participate in the political conversation on Twitter. “At 83, I am close to losing hope that I will live to see a flat tax,” he tweeted, apparently lamenting America’s highly convoluted tax policy.
At 83, I am close to losing hope that I will live to see a flat tax.
— Donald Rumsfeld (@RumsfeldOffice) April 18, 2016
But Twitter users proved more concerned with Rumsfeld’s behavior as a top Bush official. He has been accused of lying to build public support for the Iraq War, as well as committing war crimes. The ill-fated invasion and occupation has cost over $2 trillion and over 500,000 lives. Because of his role in the conflict, many Americans still wonder why he and other Bush-era officials, like Dick Cheney, are not behind bars.
.@RumsfeldOffice at 18, I am close to losing hope that I will live to see you prosecuted for war crimes
— 100% literal garbage (@badtweets4u) April 18, 2016
— Evan Roskos (@EvanJRoskos) April 18, 2016
.@RumsfeldOffice – you go to war with the tax structure you have, not the tax structure you want. (PS you are a very bad person)
— jeff rotkoff (@jrotkoff) April 18, 2016
@RumsfeldOffice I’m losing hope that you will ever express remorse about destroying a country & killing a few hundred thousand people
— Joe (@NewsConnoisseur) April 18, 2016
@RumsfeldOffice the rest of us are losing hope that you’ll ever see the inside of a prison where you belong.
— Jasun Mark (@jasunmark) April 18, 2016
@RumsfeldOffice I hope you’re sentenced at The Hague
— Parm (@ParmB) April 18, 2016
@RumsfeldOffice I worry more about the families who lost loved ones in Iraq due to your bad decisions.
— Molly (@CSSRMolly) April 18, 2016
— New Mexican (@tohajilee) April 18, 2016
Donald Rumsfeld’s involvement in the Iraq War has drawn ongoing criticism and outrage. In 2011, anti-war activists attempted to arrest him for his lies, war crimes, and complicity with torture at Guantanamo prison, and in 2014, documentary filmmaker Errol Morris confronted him on his role in deceiving the American public into supporting the Iraq invasion. In 2006, while he was still in office, four anti-war activists were arrested outside his Washington D.C. home for protesting U.S. military actions.
Even former president George H.W. Bush — who is no stranger to war crimes — has criticized Rumsfeld. In his recently released biography, he wrote:
“I think he served the president badly. I’ve never been that close to him anyway. […] There’s a lack of humility, a lack of seeing what the other guy thinks. He’s more kick ass and take names, take numbers. I think he paid a price for that.”
The former president also called him “arrogant.”
Rumsfeld was a member of the Project for a New American Century, a neoconservative think tank focused on promoting American militarism. There, he was in the company of chairman William Kristol, as well as former vice president, Dick Cheney, and former deputy secretary of defense, Paul Wolfowitz. All three are recognized as architects of the Iraq War (the PNAC website has long been suspended, but you can view its archives here).
Try as he might to escape his role in what has been, arguably, the most ill-fated war in American history, Rumsfeld’s Twitter mishap shows Americans are not ready to let him downplay his crimes.