Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The nighttime musings of Donald Rumsfeld

From a press conference yesteday with the Secretary of Defense:

Q Is the country [that would be Iraq] closer to a civil war?

SEC. RUMSFELD: Oh, I don't know. You know, I thought about that last night, and just musing over the words, the phrase, and what constitutes it. If you think of our Civil War, this is really very different. If you think of civil wars in other countries, this is really quite different. There is -- there is a good deal of violence in Baghdad and two or three other provinces, and yet in 14 other provinces there's very little violence or numbers of incidents. So it's a -- it's a highly concentrated thing. It clearly is being stimulated by people who would like to have what could be characterized as a civil war and win it, but I'm not going to be the one to decide if, when or at all.


We're going to ignore for a moment, if we can, the sheer idiocy of Rumsfeld's metaphysical musings about the meaning of the words "civil war." Instead, let's focus on the breathtaking historical ignorance displayed by Rummy's remark. Rumsfeld seems to think, or certainly implies, that because the civil war in Iraq is confined to Baghdad "and two or three other provinces," it is "really very different" from the American Civil War (and some other civil wars he fails to identify). First, I will concede a general point: there are profound cultural, economic and political differences between the two wars. But this is not Rumsfeld's point at all. His view is based on geographic scope of the conflict. Not only is this a stupid way to compare civil wars, it's not even remotely connected to the reality of history. The American Civil War was fought "in or around Washington D.C. and other states." Yet in 25 other states, there was very little violence or incidents. So it was a --- highly concentrated thing.

Morons. We've got morons running the government.

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