Published on Global Research.ca, by Paul Schreyer, January 28, 2013.
… Getting backing:
The prospects in his Chicago home district were unfavorable. He was inexperienced and almost without any voter base, compared to the other candidates. But the dynamic and ambitious Rumsfeld impressed some of Chicago´s business leaders, such as the boss of pharma heavyweight Searle. They paid for his campaign. With this economic power in his back also one of Chicago´s newspapers supported him. Rumsfeld won the election in 1962 and went to Washington as a republican representative.
At the beginning of the 1960s he visited lectures at the University of Chicago, where Milton Friedman was teaching, one of the most influential economists of his time. Friedman was one of the founding fathers of neoliberalism. He called for less influence of the state and praised the self regulation of the markets. In 1962 his bestseller Capitalism and Freedom was published. Rumsfeld was impressed by these thoughts. In a speech honoring Friedman 40 years later he remembered: “Government, he has told us, has three primary functions: It should provide for the military defense of the nation. It should enforce contracts between individuals. And it should protect citizens against crimes against themselves or their property.” (1) This self-imposed restriction of politics was also the core of Rumsfeld´s belief while he served in Congress in the 1960s.
An apprentice in politics:
Cheney, 9 years younger than Rumsfeld, meanwhile studied political science as well. First at Yale, where he left soon because of poor grades, then at a less prestigious university in the Midwest. Contrary to the forceful Rumsfeld he appeared rather defensive, quiet and cautious. His imminent recruiting to the Vietnam war he avoided by getting deferred from military service because of his study at the university and the pregnancy of his wife, until he couldn´t be recruited because of his age in 1967.
At the age of 27 Cheney was looking for a job in Washington. He applied for an internship at Rumsfeld´s office. But Rumsfeld rejected him. The failed interview was embarrassing for Cheney who in later times liked to tell the story of this flop as an anecdote. But soon both men found together.
Under president Nixon, Rumsfeld had switched in 1969 from Congress to government. First he ran the Office of Economic Opportunity. There he administered federal social programs – not exactly one of his major concerns, but still one step forward in career. Rumsfeld was looking for new staffers to pass on work. By recommendation of a befriended representative he employed Cheney as his assistant. Cheney was a diligent worker and quickly made himself indispensable. Whoever wanted something from Rumsfeld, learned soon to try it via Cheney.
Rumsfeld´s career developed. People started becoming aware of him nationwide. He looked good, was energetic and had a catching smile. His intelligence was outstanding. But he also liked to exaggerate and escalate conflicts and often was unnecessarily blunt to others. Soon he became president Nixon´s advisor (who would praise him as a “ruthless little bastard”). Three years later he went to europe becoming NATO´s ambassador there – escaping from Washington shortly before the Watergate affair would kill the careers of many of Nixon´s advisors.
Tasting power: … //
… A national economy under arms:
If one looks at the development of defense spending in the United States since 1940, some far-reaching conclusions arise. (44) It seems as if the attack on Pearl Harbor and the following involvement in World War II led to a structural change of the American economy. The budgetary value of the military was never reduced to a “normal” level after that. On the contrary it increased decade by decade. Thus the whole economy got into a fatal dependency on the defense business.
This ongoing development came to a halt only with the fall of the Soviet Union. Ten years later then 9/11 became the catalyzing event to kick-start the military buildup again – with all its broad economic effects on the country.
Cheney and Rumsfeld don´t seem to be driving forces in this “game”, but merely two talented managers, risen to the top in the stream of events. Author James Mann, who had disclosed their involvement in the COG plan first in 2004, described their political role this way:
–“Their participation in the extra-constitutional continuity-of-government exercises, remarkable in its own right, also demonstrates a broad, underlying truth about these two men. For three decades, from the Ford Administration onward, even when they were out of the executive branch of government, they were never far away. They stayed in touch with defense, military, and intelligence officials, who regularly called upon them. They were, in a sense, a part of the permanent hidden national-security apparatus of the United States, inhabitants of a world in which Presidents come and go, but America keeps on fighting.” (45)
(full long text and notes 1 to 45).