Wednesday, December 08, 2004

War at a Time of Our Choosing

This morning's lead story on NPR and other thoughful media outlets is Defense Sec. Rumsfeld's visit to troops in Kuwait. "Chummy Rummy" thought he was going have a heart-to-heart with his troops, but instead the photo-op became a video-taped gipe session with American troops complaining about the lack of armored vehicles, which are popular targets for attack. The B2 administration likes to wax about the bravery of American troops, but when it comes to laying out the cold hard cash for basics, they lack the resolve of the nation's pocketbook. When given a blunt assessment by someone actually "on the ground," Rumsfeld dismissed it out of hand, "You go to war with the Army you have," and in a follow-up, "You can have all the armor in the world on a tank and it can (still) be blown up." If this is support for our troops (be it material or moral), the Defense Department now has as much charm as the Pinochet regime.

Now if you thought those quotes were zingers, try the following on for size:

"The United States did nothing to deserve or invite this threat, but we will do everything to defeat it. Instead of drifting along toward tragedy, we will set a course toward safety."

President Bush said those words upon giving Saddam Hussein 48 hours to leave Iraq. A year and half later, they are eerily ominous given the deteriorating nature of the occupation and a nascent insurgency that threatens to become a full-blown rebellion. And that take on even more dark hues when juxtaposed with Michael Massing's recent article on Iraq and the 2004 election in the latest New York Review of Books.

UPDATE At 3:00 PDT Fred Kaplan posted an article on Rummy's diss to National Guard troops at Slate online.

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