Thursday, December 09, 2004

Rumsfeld and the Troops

Well, it looks like Bush was absolutely right to put his faith in Donald Rumsfeld for a second term as Secretary of Defense. Obviously GWB knew exactly the caliber of man he was getting when he persuaded Rumsfeld to stay on. That was proved today when Rumsfeld fielded questions, many of them combative, from U.S. troops in Kuwait getting ready to move into Iraq. To Spec. Thomas Wilson's concern about his unit having to root through junkyards to get armor for their Humvees, Rumsfeld replied, "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." Ohhhhh, okay. My mistake. I thought this was the best prepared and equipped military in the world. I seem to remember Rumsfeld's boss saying anything the troops needed, they would get. Apparently, "anything" doesn't include armored vehicles when traveling through a war zone.

To a woman who said she was being forced to stay in the military against her will because of stop-loss policies that kept her on after her enlistment time was over, Rumsfeld told her it wasn't a perfect world. Well, yeah, if it was a perfect world, military superpowers would not invade third-world countries that had done nothing to provoke an invasion.

Rummy got another chance to address the subject of equipment when a member of the Idaho National Guard asked him why the regular Army units were getting the newer equipment, while Guard units were getting the oldest and most "antiquated" equipment. Rumsfeld outdid himself. The military is trying to be fair, he said; but somebody has to get the ancient stuff.

Even when taking a question seriously, Rumsfeld managed to stick his foot in his mouth. Told that many of the soldiers were not getting all the pay that was due to them, he requested that someone get him the details of the unit being referred to, because, he said, "That's just not right." Meaning, all the issues soldiers had brought up before that point *were* right -- or at least not wrong, and not a problem.

Obviously, no one should be surprised at Rumsfeld's performance. After all, he became wealthy as the CEO of G.D. Searle and then General Instrument Corporation by striking terror into the hearts of employees all too aware of Rummy's reputation for massive layoffs. He is not exactly the warm and fuzzy type.

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