Thursday, October 26, 2006

Sec. of Defense Donald Rumsfeld

From Rumsfeld's press conference today, regarding the timelines we apparently aren't giving the Iraqi government (contrary to Pres. Bush's assertions):

Q Sir, what I don't understand about the benchmark plan, if we can call it that, is what happens if and when the Iraqi government fails to meet the timelines, projections, whatever you want to call them, for some of the major benchmarks? I mean, we've been told that they're not given ultimatums. We've been told -- but we've also been told by the president in recent days that U.S. patience is not unlimited. So there's -- but I don't understand; there must be consequences or responses built into this plan. Can you address that at all?

SEC. RUMSFELD: Well, it's a political season, and everyone's trying to make a little mischief out of this and make -- turn it into a political football and see if we can't get it on the front page of every newspaper and find a little daylight between what the Iraqis say or someone in the United States says or somebody else in the United States says.

[Length windbag portion omitted]

Now, you're looking for some sort of a guillotine to come flowing down if some date isn't met. That is not what this is about. This is complicated stuff. It's difficult. We're looking out into the future. No one can predict the future with absolute certainty.

[More windbagginess]

And so this is something they're going to work through. And I wouldn't waste a lot of newsprint trying to find daylight between everybody on this, or try to find things that are wrong with it. I think -- the idea of saying, "We're here, we want to get there, here are some steps to get there. Let's go ahead and tell the world that we think those are the steps we want to get there, we've kind of agreed on them," and then see if we can't do it. And then, of course, you can point with alarm and say, "Oh my goodness, you didn't make it." And you can have a front-page article and everyone will have a good time. And we'll say, "That's right, you didn't make it." And then the ones that we make earlier than we thought, we'll never see it on the front page.

We need to pause at this point to remember what Sec. Rumsfeld's one redeeming quality is/was supposed to be, and that is, his ability as an administrator. Yet here we have someone asking Secretary Rumsfeld about having benchmarks for progress in Iraq, and Rumsfeld acts as if these are "political footballs" that lead to front-page news articles that everyone will have a good time over. Whatever that means.

Here's the deal, Rumsfeld: if you set up benchmarks for progress in Iraq, and then fail to meet those benchmarks, everyone should point with alarm and go, "Oh my goodness, why is the Secretary of Defense such a fuck up, and why does he still have a job?" Understandably, you might find this a bit inconvenient, due to your complete inability to acknowledge the dire situation we've gotten ourselves trapped in, but this is hardly a political football. This is war. And this is America losing the war, due to idiots like you.


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