...busting up my brains for the words

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Rummy stays

A new sport seems to have arisen in the country called Let's Get Rummy. But this version of the game has a different spin than the way the game was played before, as even NeoCons and Republicans are stacking their chips in.
There is little disagreement that Donald Rumsfeld possesses a style that is seen as abrasive and arrogant by some, even many. For my own part, I love those qualities about Rummy, as they were on high display in just about every press conference I've seen him conduct. For instance, my nose was glued to the television screen the day that Jim Lehrer interviewed the Secretary of Defense exclusively for PBS's News Hour back in September of 2003. (Yes, crowds have been after Rummy's skin for quite some time.) On the question of why all the resistance had not yet been mopped up in Iraq, Lehrer asked Mr. Rumsfeld, "What's taking so long?"
Rummy murdered Jim Lehrer right there with his reactive look before thousands of innocent t.v. viewers.

JIM LEHRER: ... Why can't we find these Baathists and get rid of them?
DONALD RUMSFELD: They are. They're finding them all the time. They're continuing to --
JIM LEHRER: Why is it so difficult? Why is it taking so long?
DONALD RUMSFELD: It's been four-and-a-half months. What's taking so long? Jim! My goodness, four-and-a-half months since May 1st! It's amazing to think that people think that you can take a country the size of California, 23 million people, and 30 years or 20-plus years of Saddam Hussein with a Stalinist economy, with a repressive regime, turn 110,000 criminals loose, have foreigners come in and try to attack the people, have the Baathists with lots of money hiring people to do these things, and you say why is it taking so long?

When Donald Rumsfeld says "My goodness!" to you, you know you're being skewered by one abrasive, arrogant man.
I would posit that it is Lehrer and other "news journalists" who are abrasive and arrogant. Questions like this one asked in the manner that Lehrer asked it should be responded to in the most abrasive and arrogant manner conceivable. Or they should be simply snickered at for their shallowness of understanding.

'"Why is it taking so long?' Ha! Good one, Mr. Lehrer. Okay, can we be serious now?"

One of the most interesting analyses of the Rumsfeld situation is posted by Captain Ed of Captain's Quarters. It's worth reading the whole thing, as it points out that circumstances went contrary to Rummy's wishes in the prosecution of the invasion when the United Nations was courted in the run-up. But then when things got complicated after Rummy's advice was ignored, they blame Rummy.

If a lot of this makes you nervous about a great Secretary of Defense getting ousted for simplistic and political reasons then read John Podhoretz's article from the New York Post. I hope Podhoretz is right, as strong leadership is one of the reasons I voted for George W. Bush last November. Mister Podhoretz's is a voice that can well be trusted when speaking of W. He's made a nitch for himself in understanding how this great president thinks and operates, as anyone who read Bush Country will tell you.

I'm a huge admirer of William Kristol of the Weekly Standard. He's been drumming for the past year that we need more troops in Iraq. But we don't have the luxury of comparing what the situation in Iraq would look like if we'd had those extra troops in Iraq all along. There is something to be said for the line of thinking that more troops in Iraq means more targets for terrorists to kill. If that were the case, then what would we be saying? I think we might might be saying things like, "Even though we've had plenty of troops in Iraq to quell the insurgents, we've lost too many troops and the militants keep popping up like whack-a-moles across the country. It's a quagmire!"

I should qualify that by saying "we" would not be saying those thing. But you know who would.

And to them I say, buy yourself a spine Mr. Lehrer and all the rest of you Rummy critics. This is a two front war we are waging. One front is at flashpoints with terrorism abroad. The other is on the homefront. This attempt to oust the Secretary of Defense plays into the hands of the enemy to cripple or lessen the effectiveness of the president's offensive. Sorry, Bill Kristol, you're wrong.
My cards are held by President George W. Bush who says of Rummy;

Well, first of all, when I asked the Secretary to stay on as Secretary of Defense, I was very pleased when he said "yes." And I asked him to stay on because I understand the nature of the job of the Secretary of Defense, and I believe he's doing a really fine job.
The Secretary of Defense is a complex job. It's complex in times of peace, and it's complex even more so in times of war. And the Secretary has managed this Department during two major battles in the war on terror -- Afghanistan and Iraq. And at the same time, he's working to transform our military so it functions better, it's lighter, it's ready to strike on a moment's notice. In other words, that the force structure meets the demands we face in the 21st century.
Not only is he working to transform the nature of the forces, we're working to transform where our forces are based. As you know, we have recently worked with the South Korean government, for example, to replace manpower with equipment, to keep the Peninsula secure and the Far East secure, but at the same time, recognizing we have a different series of threats. And he's done a fine job, and I look forward to continuing to work with him.
And I know the Secretary understands the Hill. He's been around in Washington a long period of time and he will continue to reach out to members of the Hill, explaining the decisions he's made. And I believe that in a new term, members of the Senate and the House will recognize what a good job he's doing.

And now today, Donald Rumsfeld goes on the offensive against his critics. That outta rile people against this abrasive and arrogant man.



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