Just Above Sunset
December 12, 2004 - Rumsfeld and his tin ear, and AWOL heart and mind...

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Here’s a framing quote -


The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt’s evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk.


- Garrison Keillor, In These Times.


And Garrison Keillor LIKES Republicans – the Eisenhower Republicans he used to know.  They’re all gone now.


On Rumsfeld and that question and answer session with our troops in Kuwait mid-week…


Rumsfeld vs. the American Soldier

What Rummy's survival says about Bush's plans for his second term.
Fred Kaplan - Posted Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2004, at 3:01 PM PT  SLATE.COM

Donald Rumsfeld gave every grunt in the Army a good reason to hate him today.


At a cavernous hangar in Camp Buehring, Kuwait, the secretary of defense appeared before 2,300 soldiers to boost their morale before they headed off to Iraq.  During a question-and-answer period, Army Spc. Thomas Wilson of the 278th Regimental Combat Team, a unit that consists mainly of reservists from the Tennessee Army National Guard, spoke up to complain about their inadequate supply of armor.


"Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to up-armor our vehicles?" Wilson asked, setting off what the Associated Press described as "a big cheer" from his comrades in arms.


Rumsfeld paused, asked Wilson to repeat the question, then finally replied, "You go to war with the army you have." Besides, he added, "You can have all the armor in the world on a tank and it can be blown up."


Such a leader of men.


Kaplan has it right.  He basically told them to stop whining.  One thinks of Patton slapping the shell-shocked soldier in the Italian military hospital in Italy in WWII.  At least he didn’t sneer and call them all girly-men.


But Kaplan doesn’t let up


Rumsfeld's answer was, first, unforgivably glib, reminiscent of his shrugged line about the looting in the days after Saddam's fall ("Stuff happens"), but more shocking because here he was addressing American soldiers who are still fighting and dying, 20 months after Baghdad's fall, as a result of Rumsfeld's decisions.


More than that, his answer was wrong. If you're attacked by surprise, you go to war with the army you have. But if you've planned the war a year in advance and you initiate the attack, you have the opportunity—and obligation—to equip your soldiers with what they'll need. Yes, some soldiers will get killed no matter the precautions, but the idea is to heighten their odds—or at least not diminish them—as they're thrust into battle.


So here stands the secretary of defense, long and widely despised by officers for rejecting their advice before the war and now openly criticized by the grunts for failing to give them proper cover as the war rages on all around them.


And yet Rumsfeld is the one Cabinet secretary who has received explicit assurances that he will keep his job, with President Bush's full confidence, into the second term. …


Ah – it is a mystery.


And this from Andrew Sullivan, who is pro-war…


We are almost two years into a conflict and critical defense weaponry is not available to soldiers who might die needlessly as a result.  This is not that complicated.  When Rumsfeld said, "you go to war with the Army you have," he was apparently forgetting that we went to war months and months ago.  The fact that soldiers are still unprotected, that we still have too few troops there, that prisoner abuse is still occurring, that the borders are still not even close to being sealed, that the insurgency is still threatening the entire future, that we still haven't confronted the question of our global manpower needs ... well, these issues go to the heart of the question of Rumsfeld's and Bush's competence.  This is not knee-jerk anti-war sentiment.  This is knee-jerk pro-war sentiment.  The question of whether we should fight is to me an obvious one.  The question of whether Bush and Rumsfeld have a clue what they're doing is less easily answered.  But we sure know they think they're perfect.  And their arrogance has just intensified. Not encouraging.


And this at BartCop -


Gee, Rummy knows how to say "fuck you" in so many different ways.  I hope these soldiers are happy with their "We Love Bush" votes.  They could've had a Commander-in-Chief who's been there and done that, a man who understands what war is about and understands what soldiers go through, but these guys decided they wanted a snot-nosed, drunken, coked-out rich prick in charge of their lives, instead, so they're forced to live with that (or die from it) for at least the next four years.  Not a smart move, guys.


And Sullivan again


The issue of unprotected troops seems finally to have caught the administration's attention. John Kerry didn't manage to get them to notice. But a reporter-goaded soldier did.  Part of Rumsfeld's response was:


Rumsfeld said the problem was "essentially a matter of physics," with production of armored Humvees taking time to catch up to demand.


Hmm.  Here's a story about the sole company assigned to make protective plates for the army. Money quote:


Armor Holdings Inc., the sole supplier of protective plates for the Humvee military vehicles used in Iraq, said it could increase output by as much as 22 percent per month with no investment and is awaiting an order from the Army.


So he’s a liar.  But a liar who hates people who whine.


And this –


Bush: Soldiers’ equipment gripes heard

To colleagues’ cheers, soldier complained about armor to Rumsfeld

NBC, MSNBC and news services

Updated: 8:15 p.m. ET Dec. 9, 2004


The concerns expressed are being addressed, and that is we expect our troops to have the best possible equipment," the president said in response to a reporter's question at the White House.


"If I were a soldier overseas wanting to defend my country, I'd want to ask the secretary of defense the same question, and that is, 'Are we getting the best we can get us?'"


American soldiers "deserve the best," the president said, adding that "I've told many family I've met with, 'We're doing everything we possibly can to protect your loved ones.'" ...


Liar.  You, Bush, are the one who initially hired and now supervise Rumsfeld.  You are his boss.  And Rumsfeld lied and called our troops – one in my family and all serving with him - cry-babies and whiners who don’t understand reality, who don’t understand life is tough and you just suck it up and go on, and maybe die.


Rare direct editorial comment from the editor here: I just spoke with my sister who is gathering stuff to send with her son for his deployment to Iraq next month, stuff the Army doesn’t provide.  These guys cannot be forgiven, and what they are doing, and not doing, can be excused.  Ever.


Ah heck.  I’m just being protective because I like the kid, right?





Note that Bush loyalists are pushing the fact that there was a reporter involved in getting the question asked  - and that is proof that Rumsfeld was "set up."   So let’s not make a big deal of this?


And note new reports that there are already homeless Iraq vets – and that’s their fault too – as they too are losers and whiners.


So who is getting angry?



Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
for the purpose of illustration and commentary,
as permitted by the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law. 
See the Details page for the relevant citation.

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Paris readers add nine hours....