Thursday, December 09, 2004

I was going to let the Rumsfeld Q/A with soldiers go from yesterday because I'm sure everyone already saw and/or read. But there's just too much buffoonery to pass up. The whole session is here. Favorite questions and answers include:
Q (from a soldier from Nashville!): 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.
Atrios has the answer refuting that wishful thinking here.
Q: Specialist Skarwin (Sp?) HHD 42nd Engineer Brigade. Mr. Secretary [Cheers] my question is with the current mission of the National Guard and Reserves being the same as our active duty counterparts, when are more of our benefits going to line up to the same as theirs, for example, retirement? [Cheers] [Applause]

SEC. RUMSFELD: [Laughter] I can't imagine anyone your age worrying about retirement. [Laughter] Good grief.
What kind of leader responds this way? Meanwhile Iraq veterans are already turning up in homeless shelters. (Update: Longer version of the story here.) Rumsfeld et al "didn't anticipate" the insurgent tactics that have left troops in unarmed vehicles needlessly, they "couldn't imagine" Bin Laden's World Trade Center bombing plan in time to stop it, and the wealthy SOBs "can't imagine" why troops, or anyone would worry about retirement. Maybe if the Pentagon displayed the kind of foresight for the troops' well-being that this reservist shows for herself, it might at least be worthy of respect for competence and care for the soldiers. Instead, military and civilian leadership have collaborated on a national embarrassment. And Rumsfeld the head embarrassment. What, exactly, do they plan for?

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