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Wednesday, December 08, 2004


rummy's complete delusion

it's long been contended in many quarters that defense secretary donald rumsfeld is an arrogant ideologue fighting his war in iraq irrespective of all practicality. that he's lied to the american media and people constantly about what he's doing and why should, by now, be for reasoning people a given.

but it puts a very fine point on the depth of his self-delusion that he will lie even to the troops who know better.

"Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to uparmor our vehicles?" Wilson asked. A big cheer arose from the approximately 2,300 soldiers in the cavernous hangar who assembled to see and hear the secretary of defense.

Rumsfeld hesitated and asked Wilson to repeat his question.

"We do not have proper armored vehicles to carry with us north," Wilson said after asking again.

Rumsfeld replied that troops should make the best of the conditions they face and said the Army was pushing manufacturers of vehicle armor to produce it as fast as humanly possible. And, the defense chief added, armor is not always a savior in the kind of combat U.S. troops face in Iraq, where the insurgents' weapon of choice is the roadside bomb, or improvised explosive device that has killed and maimed hundreds, if not thousands, of American troops since the summer of 2003.

"You can have all the armor in the world on a tank and it can (still) be blown up," Rumsfeld said.
if that is not the height of fantastical self-delusion, i don't know what is. these men are getting shot at and killed in an iraq "as chaos mounts" (wall street journal's front page words today) and "starting to look like a civil war" (long feared by yours truly) such that they're forging their own armor out of scrap -- and rummy tells them, "armor is really no help."

and there's more.

Yet another soldier asked, without putting it to Rumsfeld as a direct criticism, how much longer the Army will continue using its "stop loss" power to prevent soldiers from leaving the service who are otherwise eligible to retire or quit.

Rumsfeld said that this condition was simply a fact of life for soldiers at time of war.

"It's basically a sound principle, it's nothing new, it's been well understood" by soldiers, he said. "My guess is it will continue to be used as little as possible, but that it will continue to be used."
au contraire
, mr secretary -- it is quite probably a violation of contract, and amounts to conscription.

The first legal challenges to the policy were brought by two California National Guardsmen, identified as John Doe. Both were combat veterans who, after completing active duty, enlisted in the California Army National Guard under Try One, a one-year program for veterans. Both were notified to report for tours of duty that would extend far beyond a year and probably would send them to Iraq. Michael Sorgen, one of the lawyers representing both men, said this changed them ''from volunteers into conscripts."

Other challenges have involved reservists who were called up after completing their contracts. The number of soldiers affected by the policies changes with the number of troops deployed. According to the nonpartisan website Operation Truth, under mobilization of the Individual Ready Reserves, 5,600 service men and women who have been discharged will be forced back into service.

Jay Ferriola, 31, an Army Reserve captain from New York, served in South Korea and Germany, completed the terms of his contract, and resigned his commission in June. In October, he was ordered to return to active duty for 18 months, including time in Iraq. He sued, charging that the orders were a breach of contract and a violation of his constitutional right against involuntary servitude. He prevailed in court, earning a temporary stay of deployment. The Army later agreed to give him an honorable discharge.
such betrayal of their word in the context of an ongoing foaming-mouth foreign policy is likely, i think, to destroy the volunteer army. what rational person with civilian alternatives would hazard affiliation with such an organization as mr rumsfeld is running?

for this and so many other reasons, one is compelled to ask again: if we really have accountable, prudent, responsible government, why is rumsfeld still here?

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