'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Does Rumsfeld Regret Being a Prick? 

From a DoD Q&A today with Lawrence Di Rita, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs:

Q: On the armor issue. I wanted to revisit that a second. Last week you got criticism not only for the armor and the pace of up- armoring, but remarks that have been described as cocky and condescending by the secretary to that soldier. In retrospect -- you've answered the how we're up-armoring -- in retrospect, does the secretary regret the tenor and tone of his response to that soldier?

MR. DIRITA: Well, I won't speak to that in that -- let me answer the question, first of all, by encouraging anybody who hasn't done so to look at the video of that event. Nobody who saw that video would believe that the secretary was being cocky and condescending. I feel confident in asserting that most people who made that comment did not see the town hall meeting with the secretary, which was, by participants in the town hall, soldiers, was generally seen as a sort of typical meeting that the secretary has with the forces. It was -- they were very appreciative that he was there. He wanted to be there. There was a good give and take on a -- across a range of issues.

[ ... ]

Q: Didn't it come off, though, as a little impatient, patronizing --

MR. DIRITA: Certainly not with respect to the individual. He didn't feel that way. And as I said, if you watch the video, I don't think anybody could accept that interpretation. But probably what didn't come out as much as I've seen it in other venues is the secretary's own sense -- his shared sense with that soldier of let's move along, let's get this department doing what it needs to be doing now as opposed to being organized for a different era.

First of all, the main thing that you notice when you watch "that video" is the thunderous applause that the question received.

And, furthemore, this talk of the DoD "doing what it needs to be doing now as opposed to being organized for a different era" is code for Rumsfeld's pet project of waging war on the cheap, and isn't it this fixation that led to the US forces being under-supplied and under-armored in the first place?

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