Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Girls! Girls! You’re Both Pretty!

It would appear that our esteemed Secretary of Defense and our new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have a few disagreements to hammer out before they go on camera.

Encouraging reporters to consult their dictionaries, the defense secretary said: "These people aren't trying to promote something other than disorder, and to take over that country and turn it into a caliphate and then spread it around the world. This is a group of people who don't merit the word 'insurgency,' I think."

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Peter Pace, standing at Rumsfeld's side, evidently didn't get the memo about the wording change. Describing combat in Iraq, he paused and said, "I have to use the word 'insurgent' because I can't think of a better word right now."

"'Enemies of the legitimate Iraqi government' -- how's that?" Rumsfeld proposed.

"What the secretary said," Pace continued, to laughter. [ed. - HA! HA! Dead people...] But Rumsfeld's new description -- ELIG, if you prefer an acronym -- didn't stick with the general. Smiling, he uttered the forbidden word again while discussing explosive devices.

The secretary recoiled in mock horror. "Sorry, sir," Pace explained. "I'm not trainable today."
Oh, and that’s not all. The bickering defense staff have different ideas on how to solve the torture problem.
When UPI's Pam Hess asked about torture by Iraqi authorities, Rumsfeld replied that "obviously, the United States does not have a responsibility" other than to voice disapproval.

But Pace had a different view. "It is the absolute responsibility of every U.S. service member, if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to intervene, to stop it," the general said.

Rumsfeld interjected: "I don't think you mean they have an obligation to physically stop it; it's to report it."

But Pace meant what he said. "If they are physically present when inhumane treatment is taking place, sir, they have an obligation to try to stop it," he said, firmly.
I think General Pace wanted to say, “with all due respect…” but quickly reconsidered when he realized that calling him “sir” was giving him much more than the respect he’s due.
Reuters's Charlie Aldinger asked about "uniformed death squads" in Iraq. Rumsfeld replied: "I'm not going to comment on hypothetical questions."
Secretary Rumsfeld, what do you say to the reports of gravity keeping the earth in orbit around the sun?

“I’m not going to comment on hypothetical questions.”
When Aldinger protested that the question was not hypothetical, Rumsfeld replied that Iraq is "a sovereign country" and suggested the death-squad allegations could be politically motivated. "I just don't know," he said. "I can only talk about what I know." With an exaggerated shrug, he added: "That's life."
Hey, we all end up in a box six feet under, am I right? Donald Rumsfeld – the Jean-Paul Sartre of the 21st century.

And in a particularly sarcastic twist, the WaPo's Dana Milbank sums up the press conference thusly:
Fortunately for the Iraqis, things are going well there, in Rumsfeld's view. He rattled off a series of improving statistics -- "seven operational divisions and 31 operational brigade headquarters"-- accompanied by a collection of favorable descriptions: "Largely peaceful . . . liberating and securing . . . solid progress . . . positive . . . a darn good job."

"The strategy is working, and we should stick to it," Rumsfeld judged.

Particularly now that the insurgents have become ELIGs.


emeryroolz said...

Are we allowed to put pictures with boobies in them on this site? Think of the children!!!

Michael Grant said...

Note to parents – this site is not suitable for children. Of course, these days neither is CNN. It’s best to just lock them in a box in the basement.

Don’t forget to feed ‘em at least once a week!