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Posted at 1:33 PM ET, 01/ 7/2011

Rumsfeld satirized in dark novel from McSweeney's

By Stephen Lowman

donald.JPGHe’s been out of office for four years but, as a caustic new novel shows, Donald Rumsfeld still has the power to raise the ire of those on the political left. “Donald,” a work of fiction, lampoons the former defense secretary’s memoir “Known and Unknown.” The parody will be released on Feb. 8, the same day as the real-life Rumsfeld’s work. And while the two share a similar cover — a confident-looking Rumsfeld standing against the backdrop of commanding mountains — it shouldn’t be hard to spot the satire: Rumsfeld is wearing an orange prison jumpsuit reminiscent of a Guantanamo Bay detainee.

According to its publisher McSweeney’s, “Donald” asks the question:

What would happen if Donald Rumsfeld, former defense secretary and architect of the war on terror, was abducted at night from his Maryland home, held without charges in his own prison system, denied a trial, and kept in a place where no one could find him, beyond the reach of the law? Donald is a high-wire allegory that answers this question, in equal parts breakneck thriller and gradual descent into madness…[It is] a novel rooted in the harrowing stories of real people caught in America’s disastrous military campaigns.

Though a satire, many people will find no humor here -- this is a dark, angry novel. As satire often does, the book goes to extremes to bring home its points.

It opens with Rumsfeld reading in a library. He is soon confronted by an angry young man that questions the way military prisoners were treated while he was secretary of defense. Two chapters later, several men break into Rumsfeld’s house and threaten to kill his sleeping wife if he opens his mouth. The intruders then wrap his head in a hood, cut off his clothes, put him in a diaper, and inject him with something that makes him pass out. He awakes handcuffed in a strange room.

A similar publishing event occurred in 2009 when Sarah Palin’s “Going Rogue: An American Life” was released. The spoof “Going Rouge: An American Nightmare” hit shelves the same day. That book, however, was a collection of essays by writers who examined her time in Alaska and effect on the Republican Party.

By Stephen Lowman  | January 7, 2011; 1:33 PM ET
 
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Next: BOOK WORLD - January 9, 2011

Comments

That would be a fitting end for both he and Cheney!

Posted by: buzzsaw1 | January 7, 2011 6:00 PM | Report abuse

"He is soon confronted by an angry young man that questions the way ..."
It's "who", not "what", when talking about people. Another case of sloppy, lazy writing and editing?

Posted by: jv26 | January 7, 2011 7:22 PM | Report abuse

What would happen if Rumsfeld were an active member of a terrorist force that had killed many innocent American civilians? not much of a parody. now if he lived in a country run by the aclu, that would be a parody...

Posted by: LaSp | January 7, 2011 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Rumsfeld should be indicted and tried by the World Court in the
Hague just like Slobo was handled. Both are made from the same clothe. Dick Cheney is another who belongs in front of that Court. These were men who had a dark side and used it erroneously to "protect" us.

Posted by: npsilver | January 7, 2011 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Before Rumsfeld, some 100,000 people died on average every year at the hands of Saddam over the quarter century of his reign. Some estimates put the numbers higher.

After Rumsfeld, some 15,000 Iraqis have died on average due to resisting the invasion and the subsequent sectarian violence. This assessment from the the left leaning iraqbodycount.org.

Thus Rumsfeld contributed mightily to a cause which has seen some half to one million Iraqi lives saved cumulatively over the last 8 years.

In a world where the Nobel Peace Prize was not a prize for promoting the left wing agenda, Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld would have been recipients years ago. As it is, they--and those who followed their commands--are among the greatest humanitarians of the modern era.

And all this is even before consideration of what regard is due them should it happen that the democratization of Iraq proves durable, and spreads.

Posted by: lowfinance | January 8, 2011 10:33 AM | Report abuse

In the US Constitution it places ratified Treaty Law as the law of the land taking precedence over all other laws.

When the US joined the UN it signed and ratified a Treaty that did not allow the US to wage an Offensive War. The Bush administration lied about Iraq and their intentions towards the US. That obvious lie that Iraq had intentions to harm the US was a cover to wage what they said was a defensive war and not a offensive war. As a one time alley of the US it was preposterous that Iraq had intentions of harming the US. This was a premeditated violation of the treaty and should make those in power during that time subject to prosecution as war criminals.

The US signed and ratified the Geneva Convention. The US violated the terms of that treaty in the treatment of prisoners of war. Those in power at the time in the US should be subject to prosecution.

The US invasion of Iraq was no different than the German invasion of Poland in 1939 both aggressors tried to trump up threats from those they wanted to invade.

The US illegal treatment of prisoners that goes on to this day, shames every American now an into the future for our appalling inhumanity.
The people behind these crimes like Donald Rumsfeld should have to answer to the people of the world in a court or law.

Posted by: xerxes4 | January 8, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

lowfinance uses made up numbers to excuse Rumsfeld's war crimes. In fact, using international protocols (Bloomberg School of Public Medicine) to count the dead, the war resulted in hundreds of thousands more deaths than would have occurred without the US invasion. Counting dead Kurds who were fighting with Iran against Iraq and southern Shia who were in open rebellion against Iraq (with GHW Bush's encouragement) is intellectually dishonest, unless one believes ANY country (including the US) would allow armed rebellion of its citizens without military action against them. Hussein was a bad man in a world with lots of bad men. Reagan, Rumsfeld, the Bushes and Cheney are bad men who increased his power and then used that power as an excuse to wage war to steal Iraqi oil. They all belong in the darkest depths of hell for the carnage they created.

Posted by: fingersfly | January 8, 2011 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Well, it would be difficult to write a friendly upbeat account of Rumsfeld. Hurt feelings don't go away that quickly, especially as his aftermath is still so apparent and ongoing.

Posted by: sarahabc | January 8, 2011 2:27 PM | Report abuse

"Dark". Typical WaPo idiocy. Rumsfeld is a war criminal, pure and simple. He is in PRECISELY the same way as was von Ribbentrop. Would the WaPo whine that a satire of, say, Herman Goering was "dark"?

Posted by: SGlover910 | January 8, 2011 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Not a huge fan of the Iraq war or Rummy, but I think it is only fair to remember that, after 9-11, with a young and untested President, Rumsfeld's FDR-like demeanor played a critical emotional role in calming the nation.

Posted by: scientist1 | January 8, 2011 9:35 PM | Report abuse

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