Friday, May 05, 2006

What did the SecDefense know about what the SecDefense knew and when did he know it?

William Arkin on the "lying" question:
The protestors screeching impeachment and "lying" yesterday, as well as McGovern, can't accept that there is a difference between being wrong and deceiving. They are so stuck in a mode of accusation and certainty they don't really think there is any point in political dialogue with the administration. Bush is Hitler, and with that he, nor Rumsfeld, deserves human courtesy.

Human courtesy would mean understanding fallibility, fear, pride, the drive of false certainty in office. I'm not asking anyone to accept the war or the dominant national security orthodoxy, which I abhor. I just don't want the only answer to be pulling a lever every four years; there are alternatives, even politicians and the administration learns. We are here as citizens to teach and guide them.

In the end, my respect for the Secretary went up when he said, responding to another protester that accusations of lying are "so wrong, so unfair and so destructive."

My guess is that the impact of the confrontation won't be for Donald Rumsfeld to seek forgiveness. More likely, the Secretary will just become ever more careful to say nothing at the podium or in interviews in the future.

The best reason for Donald Rumsfeld to step down as Secretary is that he has become the debate, a lightening rod who can no longer continue to perform this important duty. America needs someone in charge of the military who can give candid answers without fear of having yesterday's candid answers thrown back in their face.

America also needs to give its leaders a chance to be wrong. The implications such intolerance to error is to push human beings up against the wall, a place where there is no good outcome.
Rick Moran notes that Rumsfeld stretched the truth in his back-and-forth yesterday, and then expands his point:
The inability of public servants to admit to mistakes has gotten to the point of surrealness. There is something dreamlike about Rumsfeld’s continuing defense of the Pentagon’s performance and assessment of what has been happening in Iraq. It isn’t just a matter of Pollyanish briefings about the capabilities of the Iraqi army (although there has been marked improvement in the last 6 months) or about the level of sectarian strife (100,000 people fleeing from the violence and dozens of bodies being found every day). Rumsfeld’s folly extends to decisions made going all the way back to the beginning of the war starting with the number of troops that would be needed to pacify the country following the overthrow of Saddam. Despite the lawlessness that plagues Iraq to this day, the Secretary of Defense refuses to admit error in this regard.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Blake said...

It's obvious that both Bush and Rumsfeld lied throughout the whole buildup and first two years of this war.

Rummy and Bush are both at 33% approval. So why is there only talk of Rummy stepping down?

1:40 PM  
Blogger copy editor said...

I'm afraid that Number 2 is worse.

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn those Republican liars! Now, where are those stones we can throw from our glass house?

3:25 PM  
Blogger zen said...

It's always so pathetic to attempt to excuse wrong-doing by pointing to others' wrong-doing.
Oh those Red Herring anonymous drive-by comments.

3:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:28 PM  

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