Rumsfeld pushes book in Philly; few protesters push back

Barbara Quintiliano (left) and Ann Agee (right) were protesting in front of the National Constitution Center where Donald Rumsfeld was discussing details from his new book. (Jan Ransom / Staff)

Former U.S Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld just doesn't draw protesters like he used to.

Rumsfeld made his first stop on his highly-anticipated national book tour at the National Constitution Center Wednesday evening. His new book, "Known and Unknown," is a memoir covering his extensive career in public service, including his four terms in Congress and his service with former Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and George W. Bush.

Seven protesters gathered in the freezing cold, clutching posters and chatting about politics and all things Rumsfeld in front of the National Constitution Center shortly after 6 p.m., and vowed to hang around until the event ended.

The handful of protesters from the National Religious Campaign Against Torture and the Brandywine Peace Community said that they wanted to remind Rumsfeld and his supporters that torture is unacceptable and inhumane.

Throngs of people marched from the sides of the building into the lobby to hear Rumsfeld discuss previously undisclosed details about the Bush administration, 9/11 attacks and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - all to be found in his book.

No one seemed to notice Ann Agee, 70 - that is, until she walked right up to the Center and held her sign up to the glass to show the mass of people in the lobby what she had to say.

"Senate Armed Services Committee found responsibility at the highest levels," Agee's sign read.

Her sign was addressing a portion of Rumsfeld's book claiming that the torture and abuse of detainees that occurred at Abu Ghraib were the actions of "a small group of prison guards who ran amok."

"This guy doesn't have it all together in his head," said Agee of Rumsfeld. "Everybody counts as much as anybody else."

Agee was escorted away from the entrance of the Center and back to a spot near the street.

Robert Smith, 60, of Germantown, said that back in 1978 he had stood outside of Rumsfeld's house to protest the use of nuclear weapons. It was the first time the two had met. Smith was arrested that day.

But that didn't stop Smith from coming out yesterday.

"It has to do with the question of international law," Smith said. "Donald Rumsfeld represents a violation of international law and everything that happened in Guantanamo."

Joan Broadfield, of Chester, hovered with several others, her sign hung from her neck.

"I think Rumsfeld forgot what he did," Broadfield said. "I'm thinking about all these young kids who have no clue and think he's telling the truth - he's not.

"No one's there to remind people he's lying," she said. "Either we're allowed to torture or allowed to do torture against the people we hate."