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Rumsfeld Handshake Proves Popular

Wall St Journal | September 9 2006

With Defense Secretary Rumsfeld making “appeasement” the big buzzword of the month, the George Washington University’s National Security Archive notes that its single most-downloaded file is now the once-classified batch of documents, photos and video documenting Rumsfeld’s handshake and meeting with Saddam Hussein in December 1983. President Reagan had sent Rumsfeld to Baghdad to help restore diplomatic ties with Iraq and aid Baghdad in its fight against Iran.

“Rumsfeld meeting Saddam has now far outpaced the previous winner, which was Elvis meeting Nixon,” says Thomas Blanton, director of the archive, which collects and posts significant declassified documents under the Freedom of Information Act.

Rumsfeld last week warned of a rise of Islamic fascism and said that people should not fall into the trap of appeasement as did those who tried to accommodate the Nazis in the 1930s. The remarks led many pundits to compare Rumsfeld’s 1983 meeting with Hussein to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s meeting with Adolf Hitler in 1938. One liberal hawker of political posters is now offering one that features photos of the two meetings with the caption “Appeased to meet you…hope you guessed my name.”

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