Wednesday, November 02, 2005

An Interview with the Secretary of Defence

Can we have complete agreement that Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld is at least controversial?

He does have some good points as well as bad points, I somehow think the Armed Forces, the President and the country would have been better served if he was enjoying a non-stressful retirement.

One of his most persistent critics, from a “Is this good defense policy?” basis is Joe Galloway of Knight Rider

Unlike the hysteria from the anti-war movement he knows what he is talking about and delivers clear, accurate, and concise reports. He was the reporter that was with the 2-7th Cav at Ia Drang and has covered most US military actions wars as an “embedded” reporter, almost a novelty, before the Iraq invasion. In addition to an encyclopedic knowledge, he as a very good feel for what is plausible and what is pure BS. And always his foremost concern for the solider, marine, sailor, and airman, because that is who he is and not as a political ploy.

His latest article A battle joined with the Pentagon's upper echelon is an interview with Secretary Rumsfled and five other leaders form DOD,

Then the battle was joined: "I'm not hearing anything like the things you are writing about," Rumsfeld said. I responded that it had been my experience that information coming up the chain to someone with Rumsfeld's reputation was often not the whole truth. Him: "Oh, I know that but I talk to lots of soldiers all the time. Why, I have given over 600 Town Hall meetings and anyone can ask me anything." Uh-huh.

The Secretary’s screaming in staff meetings and publicly humiliating senior people who disagree with him is legendary. Can’t think of a better way to discourage constructive criticism.
Galloway responded that half of his sources are current active duty, some in the pentagon, and “perhaps some even on his staff.

Rumsfeld said he had told Iraqi leaders that the American forces needed to begin stepping back because the growing casualties were having an impact on American public support for the war "and they understand that and agree with it."

Well, think the military situation calls for it, but is the Secretary making decisions on the basis of military reality of domestic politics?

When I asked why would the Army send bill collectors out to pursue soldiers who lost limbs to a bomb or mine because they didn't check in their armor and the equipment on leaving Iraq or Afghanistan, or were dunned or their paychecks docked for overpayment of combat pay and benefits, Cody and Rumsfeld spoke of a Pentagon computer system that had been running on automatic.

It is true that the systems were running on automatic. But he is the Secretary of Defense, they are his troops, did he ever ask before it became a news item what problems the war was causing to administrative systems and the state of medical care? I assume he does care, but this is not the first time he has been tone deaf to the needs of his troops. We should also remember that the situation is the result of many years pressure from both parties and the governments accounting agencies that wanted a more “automatic” system of debt collection to prevent frauds waste and abuse. There are many more guilty here than the Secretary of Defence.

(Marine General) Pace (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) said he agreed totally with one recent column that decried the apparent return to the use of enemy body counts in Iraq. Rumsfeld said flatly: "We are NOT going to do body counts." Me: But you ARE doing body counts and releasing them; been doing it for a year and the frequency is growing. If you don't want to do body counts then stop doing them.

I agree with everybody we shouldn’t be doing body counts; I thought there was an order against that. They are at best a distraction. Let’s (issue it and) enforce it.

On the way out the defense secretary said, in parting: "I want you to know that I love soldiers and I care about soldiers. All of us here do." I replied that concern for the troops and their welfare and safety were my only purpose "and I intend to keep kicking your butt regularly to make sure you stay focused on that goal."

Way to go Joe.

Read the whole thing, and his other columns. You will have a much better perspective than the normal pro and con.

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