Sunday, February 06, 2005
Rumsfeld Speaks Out
I just watched Rumsfeld on the Russert show, and I now feel compelled to write about it. First off, I thought Rumsfeld was brilliant. I especially like the way he defended himself with respect to the SPC Wilson question. He did exactly what we milbloggers have been doing since the whole episode happened- he whipped out a copy of the transcript and showed how the MSM lied and lied and lied about how the exchange went down. I think he made Russert feel ashamed of himself for using the same old trick (showing the dialogue selectively out of context) right then and there on his show.
Now Ted Kennedy is on- please oh please, let him say "Barack Obama Osama Yo' Momma" again. I haven't had a laugh like that in quite a while. Thanks to Cranky Greg for capturing that brilliant soundbyte.
Back to Rumsfeld. I did disagree with one thing he said. Maybe not what he said but the way in which he said it. When asked about why he had twice offered to resign, he talked about how upset he was with the whole Abu Ghraib episode. Of course he was disappointed- we all were. But he went on to say, "that's not how we act in America." Wrong. We need to get away from the notion that Abu Ghraib was some crazy anomaly that could only have been brought about by corrupt policy and tainted memos. Abu Ghraib was no such thing. Go to any strip club, frat party, nightclub, etc.- and you'll probably see some things that will remind you of Abu Ghraib. Any time I watch TV after midnight, I see commercials for videos that look like Abu Ghraib on speed. The fact is we do act like that in America. We may not be proud of that fact (no country or society is perfect), but we do behave in such a way. We need to acknowledge this, because it's the only way to truly understand why such things happen. Leaders need to be aware of this so that they know what the potential shortfalls are- so that they can take action to prevent such things.
To simply assume that "Americans don't behave in such a way" is a surefire way to suffer a dramatic leadership failure on or off the battlefield- just ask anyone who served in the Abu Ghraib chain of command. I've said it once and I'll say it again: boot camp is effective, not magical. The only way to effectively lead soldiers is to know and understand the society from which they came. If I were to have a face to face conversation with the SECDEF, this is the sort of thing I'd like to discuss with him. Overall, he was fantastic on the show this morning. Tim kept trying to catch him in lies and contradictions (Tim's a tough interviewer and he's good at what he does- I don't fault him for it), and each and every time Rumsfeld came back at him with perfectly logical and reasonable explanations. Nice work.
Ted Kennedy just keeps digging and digging. He wants a timeline for troop withdrawal (absurd) and keeps insisting that we're not doing enough to train the Iraqi troops. Sure thing, Ted. Drink a few more, and then see if you have the courage to speak such nonsense to LTG Petraeus' face. Didn't think so. How can someone who's been so wrong about so many things for such a long time stay in office for an eternity? If the Red Sox can finally win a World Series, is it so unimaginable that the Massachusetts voters might one day find a way to dump the drunken Senator? What's the hold up, anyway? Are they afraid of him? He can't drown each and every one of them, can he? C'mon folks! Stand up and take charge over there...
Argghhh! has a more in-depth review...