Monday, September 04, 2006

They're Not Blind, They're "Morally and Intellectually Confused"

Rumsfeld’s speech last week to the American Legion—which he’s now trying to say wasn’t directed at anybody, it was an abstract historical discussion (yeah, right)—just angered me phenomenally. My response is less a column than a speech I’d love to give at a campaign rally after dropping the parentheticals (and then the candidate still can decry partisanship etc., or as we call it in the trade, “the usual David Broder B.S.” after I've given the 'send Bush a message, vote for Pederson/Mitchell/etc.' message.) Do people still chant refrains these days?

The best part is that bashing Rumsfeld is pretty much a free shot these days, no 'wingers are emailing to say he's really doing a heck of a job. And it's even unfair to Rumsfeld in a way (hence the refrain with Cheney and Bush) because to the extent Rumsfeld has done a lousy job, it's because he's been carrying out the policies of Bush and Cheney (to the extent that Bush plays a role in formulating those policies, that is.)

The newspaper version is here in case you want to link to that.

East Valley Tribune, Sep. 3, 2006

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld gave a speech last week and said, “This country can no longer afford any moral and intellectual confusion about who and what is right and wrong.” He was so right -- just not in the way he thought.

Because the people who have been morally and intellectually confused -- about what the Constitution requires, about fighting terrorism effectively, and about the costs and benefits of their schemes to remake the world based on crackpot theories that sound vaguely plausible in a 700-word op-ed piece, but are hopelessly impractical in the real world -- are Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney, and President George W. Bush.

The people who have been wrong, who were enthralled by what they think they know about history, grabbed what they like and ignored the rest, treating history like intelligence, something to be “cherry-picked” to justify pre-existing views, and who have misunderstood the needs of the present and the future -- are Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Bush.

The people who want to pretend it’s 1938, or 1914, or 1998, or whatever, but who in 2006 made Iraq “the central front in the war on terror” but made a mess of it, who sent our troops into battle with inadequate armor, insufficient numbers, and incompetent battle plans -- are Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Bush.

The people who dismissed dissenting views on whether Iraq represented any sort of current threat to the U.S., on how many troops we’d need to secure the country, on how our troops would be greeted by the populace, on how long it would take and how much it would cost, on whether our invasion would benefit Iran more than us, and who decided to go ahead anyway, regardless -- are Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Bush.

The people who can’t argue straight up, but who rather need to demonize their opponents and impugn their patriotism, because their only hope is to argue against straw men, not real ones -- are Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Bush.

The people who only have two methods of statecraft at their disposal, either “being nice” or bombing, who see all other forms of power and persuasion as weakness -- are Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Bush.

The people who, over three years after the “Mission Accomplished” speech on the aircraft carrier, can’t decide if we need to “stay the course” or if we need to “adapt to win,” who think bombast and blaming the media can mask years of incompetence and error -- are Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Bush.

The people who mishandled the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, who left Americans in Fourth World conditions, waiting for help from Third World countries, who saw the biggest natural disaster in U.S. history as an opportunity to cut the estate tax on the absolute wealthiest -- are Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Bush.

The people who refuse to recognize publicly that we face threats that require cooperation -- from Americans of differing political views, and from our allies and even countries that on most issues, aren’t our allies (in the way the Bush administration opened back-channel communications with Iran over our mutual interests in removing the Taliban from Afghanistan, or cooperated with Sudan over fighting al Qaeda), and who thereby make our task more difficult and less certain -- are Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Bush.

The people who have been wrong so consistently, and whose argument for trusting them now boils down to “things are now so messed up that you have no choice but to keep us in charge” -- are Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Bush.

And let’s not forget that among the people who have enabled Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Bush to make these mistakes unchallenged, who run from their oversight responsibilities in the same way they got deferments from the draft, who have no interest in making sure that we don’t make the same mistakes in Iran all over again, include Jon Kyl and J.D. Hayworth, who never met a folly of which they didn’t approve -- so long as it’s a folly of Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Bush.

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