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Quote Of The Day - Rumsfeld Derangement Syndrome Edition

"Do you know what we just saw? We just saw the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff tell the Secretary of Defense to sit down and shut up. In public. In front of reporters. This is bigger than you can imagine. Rumsfeld has lost the US military. There's nothing left for him but to resign or get fired."
Jim Macdonald, at lefty blog Making Light, reading way, way between the lines of a Washington Post story relating details of a Pentagon press conference with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. Peter Pace. Even Kos moonbat king Armando didn't try to make that hyperbolic leap. The actual transcript (shown below), which none of the liberal commentators bothered to link to, hardly seems worthy of such liberal schadenfreude.

SEC. RUMSFELD: Pam.

Q Sir, taking on Charlie's question a bit -- and I can give you actual examples from coalition forces who talked to me when I was over there -- about excesses of the Interior Ministry, the Ministry of Defense, and that is in dealing with prisoners or in arresting people and how they're treated after they're arrested. What are the obligations and what are the rights of the U.S. military over there in dealing with that? Obviously, Iraq is a sovereign country now, but the United States is responsible for training and expects to turn over the security mission to them. So what is the U.S. obligation in addressing that, preventing that? And what can we do? And what are we doing?

SEC. RUMSFELD: That's a fair question. I'll start, and Pete, you may want to finish. But we are working very hard to train and equip the Iraqi security forces. So is NATO. So are some neighboring countries. There are a lot of people involved in this and dozens of countries trying to help train these Iraqi forces.

Any instance of inhumane behavior is obviously worrisome and harmful to them when that occurs. Iraq knows of certain knowledge that they need the support of the international community, and a good way to lose it is to make a practice of something that's inconsistent with the values of the international community. And I think they know that.

Now, you know, I can't go any farther in talking about it. Obviously, the United States does not have a responsibility when a sovereign country engages in something that they disapprove of; however, we do have a responsibility to say so and to make sure that the training is proper and to work with the sovereign officials so that they understand the damage that can be done to them in the event some of these allegations prove to be true.

Q And General Pace, what guidance do you have for your military commanders over there as to what to do if -- like when General Horst found this Interior Ministry jail?

GEN. PACE: It is absolutely the responsibility of every U.S. service member, if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to intervene to stop it. As an example of how to do it if you don't see it happening but you're told about it is exactly what happened a couple weeks ago. There's a report from an Iraqi to a U.S. commander that there was possibility of inhumane treatment in a particular facility. That U.S. commander got together with his Iraqi counterparts. They went together to the facility, found what they found, reported it to the Iraqi government, and the Iraqi government has taken ownership of that problem and is investigating it. So they did exactly what they should have done.

SEC. RUMSFELD: But I don't think you mean they have an obligation to physically stop it; it's to report it.

GEN. PACE: If they are physically present when inhumane treatment is taking place, sir, they have an obligation to try to stop it.


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Comments (8)

I looked at the transcript ... (Below threshold)
epador:

I looked at the transcript and the video.

Rummy made a big boo boo and he got corrected. Normally a politically savvy general wouldn't correct the SOD on tape, but in this case its imperative he do so considering the seriousness of the error and the mileu. Everyone took it fairly graciously, and rather than conclude it means he's lost the military I'd say they saved our country from the consequences if they hadn't made the correction recognizing the negative consequences for Rummy with the public correction. A tough "battlefield" decision, but the general showed his stuff.

The ultimate fallout may indeed be loss in confidence, but only time will tell - didn't see that in the exchange or in subsequent interactions.

I'm just guessing, but you ... (Below threshold)

I'm just guessing, but you never served in the US military, right?

That interpolated "sir" in GEN Pace's comment was deliberately insulting.

I agree with epador. I thin... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

I agree with epador. I think Rummy unwittingly set himself up by the way he worded his question. I never got the impression Pace was trying to embarrass Rummy. To me it just seemed like a frank question and answer exchange that these two gentlemen would usually have in a private briefing but unfortunately it occurred in a public forum and, hence, is now available to be blown out of proportion. Now if Pace would be working for the CIA, then I would certainly believe he would take any opportunity to embarrass Rumsfeld.

I have to say this seems to... (Below threshold)

I have to say this seems to me a definate example of derangement syndrome--Rumsfeld and Pace have worked closely together for five years and Rumsfeld supported Pace for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. It looks to me like Rumsfeld was trying to leave the situation as flexible as possible should a soldier find him or herself in this position but he didn't know the specific policy and Pace corrected him. Neither seemed rattled or taken aback by the exchange which is probably pretty typical. Perhaps the deranged ones should consider that this episode demonstrates that the military is not afraid to correct Rumsfeld and that he doesn't mind being corrected? Now isn't that a thought?

The seriousness of Rumsfeld... (Below threshold)

The seriousness of Rumsfeld's "error" some might say is that it reflects his casual approach to what he calls "abuse" and others call torture. I have linked to that Defense Link transcript link for the three separate posts. It is not only notable for Rumsfeld's corrected "error." This transcript and the video also possess the charm of Rumsfeld declaring there are no legitimate insurgents in Iraq as well as General Pace taking some ownership of the controversy of white phosphorus in Fallujah.

Those who will claim Pace's comments in response to Rumsfeld are no big thing may be as mistaken as those who believe Pace told Rumsfeld to shut up. "Context" too can be a tired thing, a way to find an out for certain discomforting realities. Pace said exactly what he said: It is absolutely the responsibility of every U.S. service member, if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to intervene to stop it.

People who talk about this as if it means something else would deny that the words themselves have no meaning. The meaning here is quite clear: Soldiers have a responsibility to stop inhumane treatment when they see it.

That is no less than a reclamation of honor for the armed forces who have seen some dubious policy decisions from above that have cast a shadow on what can and cannot be done to those in our charge. Another take on this subject here

Macdonald:When you... (Below threshold)

Macdonald:

When you have to correct your superior in public, over a large mistake he just made, you'd *better* put that "sir" in there.

If he *hadn't* put in that bit of politeness, the knives would be out, and with certain tones of voice on the "sir," there might be a tiny bit of a nudge, but it's really just a case of an officer correcting someone up the chain.

Now, if the'd said something like "The Secretary is wrong about this. What a moron," you might have a point.

And the President is Comman... (Below threshold)
Mikey:

And the President is Commander in Chief. He hasn't "lost" that position, and he names SecDef. Be a damned ballsy person to do a revolt - that leads nowhere good for the uniformed side.

'Sides, my little bro is an army officer, and they like Rumsfeld.

I did wonder why Gen Pace l... (Below threshold)
Juggernaut Lind:

I did wonder why Gen Pace looked so miserable sitting next to Rummy a couple of weeks ago on CNN Late Edition with Blitzer. He looked as if he wanted to be 8,000 miles away. Maybe they have had a falling out.




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