Thursday, December 09, 2004

Context, my friend

As always, it's important to get the WHOLE story, as opposed to the byte-sized portions spoonfed to us by the MSM. Notice how Rummy doesn't come off NEARLY as defensive or dismissive when you read the entire transcript:

Q: Yes, Mr. Secretary. My question is more logistical. We’ve had troops in Iraq for coming up on three years and we’ve always staged here out of Kuwait. Now why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromise ballistic glass to up-armor our vehicles and why don’t we have those resources readily available to us? [Applause]

SEC. RUMSFELD: I missed the first part of your question. And could you repeat it for me?

Q: Yes, Mr. Secretary. Our soldiers have been fighting in Iraq for coming up on three years. A lot of us are getting ready to move north relatively soon. Our vehicles are not armored. We’re digging pieces of rusted scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass that’s already been shot up, dropped, busted, picking the best out of this scrap to put on our vehicles to take into combat. We do not have proper armament vehicles to carry with us north.

SEC. RUMSFELD: I talked to the General coming out here about the pace at which the vehicles are being armored. They have been brought from all over the world, wherever they’re not needed, to a place here where they are needed. I’m told that they are being – the Army is – I think it’s something like 400 a month are being done. And it’s essentially a matter of physics. It isn’t a matter of money. It isn’t a matter on the part of the Army of desire. It’s a matter of production and capability of doing it.

As you know, you go to war with the Army you have. They’re not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time. Since the Iraq conflict began, the Army has been pressing ahead to produce the armor necessary at a rate that they believe – it’s a greatly expanded rate from what existed previously, but a rate that they believe is the rate that is all that can be accomplished at this moment.

I can assure you that General Schoomaker and the leadership in the Army and certainly General Whitcomb are sensitive to the fact that not every vehicle has the degree of armor that would be desirable for it to have, but that they’re working at it at a good clip. It’s interesting, I’ve talked a great deal about this with a team of people who’ve been working on it hard at the Pentagon. And if you think about it, you can have all the armor in the world on a tank and a tank can be blown up. And you can have an up-armored humvee and it can be blown up. And you can go down and, the vehicle, the goal we have is to have as many of those vehicles as is humanly possible with the appropriate level of armor available for the troops. And that is what the Army has been working on.

And General Whitcomb, is there anything you’d want to add to that?

GEN. WHITCOMB: Nothing. [Laughter] Mr. Secretary, I’d be happy to. That is a focus on what we do here in Kuwait and what is done up in the theater, both in Iraq and also in Afghanistan. As the secretary has said, it’s not a matter of money or desire; it is a matter of the logistics of being able to produce it. The 699th, the team that we’ve got here in Kuwait has done [Cheers] a tremendous effort to take that steel that they have and cut it, prefab it and put it on vehicles. But there is nobody from the president on down that is not aware that this is a challenge for us and this is a desire for us to accomplish.

SEC. RUMSFELD: The other day, after there was a big threat alert in Washington, D.C. in connection with the elections, as I recall, I looked outside the Pentagon and there were six or eight up-armored humvees. They’re not there anymore. [Cheers] [Applause] They’re en route out here, I can assure you. Next. Way in the back. Yes.

Curtsy to Rich Lowery at The Corner.



At December 9, 2004 at 2:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Message received loud and clear: Bush invaded Iraq w/ the Army he had, not the one he wished he had.

At December 9, 2004 at 2:38 PM, Blogger Ralph Phillips said...

Exactly. Bush went to war with the Army that Clinton and people like the distinguished Senator from Massachusettes worked so hard to deplete for most of the 90s (and prior, in Kerry's case).

Further, the message you hear loud and clear is the one you want to hear loud and clear, facts be damned. Ignore everything the SecDef says, except that which can be extracted to make him and the Administration look foolish. There's an anchor job waiting for you at CBS, chum.

At December 9, 2004 at 4:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neocon logic perplexes me. When the army doesn't perform to expectations, e.g., Iraq, Clinton is to blame. After all, it was Clinton-era policies that allegedly depleted the military. However, when war campaigns like Afghanistan go well, Bush is praised and gets all the credit. Unbelievable. Whatever happened to the party of 'Personal Responsibility'?

If you want to head down that road of playing loose with facts, shall we start with these three letters? W, M, and D?

It also amazes me how, given what we know now, there are still numbskulls out there that would have invaded Iraq anyway.

At December 9, 2004 at 4:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, reading the text of Rumsfield's response is altogether different from hearing it. The text fails to capture the nervous sentence pauses and the tense body language displayed by our Sec'y of Defense. All of these nuances help paint the entire picture of man who clearly didn't want to answer that question. In the future, perhaps Rummy should have his news conferences held at the Fox news studios. People can ask him leading questions like:

1. Now that Iraq has running water, Iraqis can now flush their poo, right? Tell us about that.
2. Despite not being able to provide adequate protection for our soldiers, tell us about OPERATION MCGUYVER and the soldier's ingenuity in turning a plastic bottle of coke into kevlar.

At December 10, 2004 at 11:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rummy's gotta be kicking himself for embedding those darned reporters. After the popularity of Shock and Awe wore off, they actually started reporting instead of manufacturing a Hollywood blockbuster.


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