07 February 2005

Rumsfeld Nailed Russert

Watching the Sunday talking head shows yesterday, I was very pleased to see SecDef Donald Rumsfeld nail Meet the Press' Tim Russert.

Russert pulled an old MSM trick, that of selective editing to present some scenario in a manner that supports their "template" or worldview. Russert used a selectively edited piece of video showing Rumsfeld answering a question about US soldiers scrounging through dumps looking for scrap metal in order to up-armor their HUMVEES last fall.

Russert acknowledged that the question was formulated by a reporter from Chattanooga, TN. The footage Russert and his producers chose to show of course, made Rumsfeld appear cold and heartless, thus reinforcing their view of Rumsfeld.

Rumsfeld was having none of it. He stopped the interview and pointed out that that was unfair. I thought at first Rumsfeld was talking about the question. Then he pulled out a transcript of the whole exchange and proceeded to read his whole response, which placed the selected excerpts in context. GOTCHA!!

Despite the lefts unsubstantiated claims about Rumsfeld, he is one of the sharpest people in the Bush Administration, and we are extremely fortunate to have him as SecDef. -SpinDaddy

Update 07FEB05 2201hrs: Opaque Lucidity has a great post on this topic with excerpts from the transcript. Read it for yourself, and you can see how well Rummy nailed Russert. Hat tip to Opaque Lucidity, great work. -SpinDaddy

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: That was unfair and it was selectively taking out two sentences from a long exchange--there it is--that took place. And when you suggested that that's how I answered that question, that is factually wrong.

MR. RUSSERT: No, we...

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: That is not how I answered that question.

MR. RUSSERT: But, Mr. Secretary, it clearly represents the exchange and...

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: It does not.

MR. RUSSERT: All right. What is missing?

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: You want to hear the exchange? There is it. It's right here. I'll read it to you.

MR. RUSSERT: I just...

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: If you're going to quote pieces of it, I'll give you the exchange. He asked that question, and I said, "I talked to the general coming out here about the pace at which the vehicles are being armored. They have been brought from all over the world, wherever they're not needed, to places where they are needed. I'm told they are being--the Army is--I think it's something like 400 a month are being done now. And it's essentially a matter of physics. It's not a matter of money. It isn't a matter on the part of the Army's desire. It's a matter of production and capability of doing it. As you know, you go to the war with the Army you have. They're not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time.
"Since the Iraq conflict began, the Army has been pressing ahead to produce armor necessary at a rate that they believe--it's a greatly expanded rate from what existed previously but a rate that they believe is the rate that can be accomplished. I can assure you that General Schumacher and the leadership of the Army and certainly General Whitcomb are sensitive to the fact that not every vehicle has the degree of armor that would be desirable to have, but that they're working at it at a good clip.
"It's interesting. I've talked a great deal about this with a team of people who've been working hard at the Pentagon. And if you think about it, you can have all the armor in the world on a tank and the tank could still be blown up. And you can have an up-armored Humvee and it can be blown up. And you can go down and the vehicle--the goal we have is to have many of those vehicles as is humanly possible with the appropriate level of armor available for the troops. And that's what the Army's been working on. And, General Whitcomb, is there anything you want to add?" And then he spoke.
Now, that answer is totally different from picking out two lines. And I think it's an unfair representation and it's exactly what some of the newspapers around the country did. Now, let's go back to Susan Collins' comment, Senator Collins...

MR. RUSSERT: Well, let me just finish on the Humvees because...

SEC'Y RUMSFELD: You bet. OK. I'll tell you right now where we are. By February 15th, nine days from now, there will not be a vehicle moving around in Iraq outside of a protected compound with American soldiers in it that does not have an appropriate level of armor.

Update 08FEB05 0951hrs :Joefish's Freshwater Blog has a great post this topic, and another great post by Justin Katz over at Dust in the Light. The title of the post is called "I Happen to Have That Right Here" and it makes a good point that many politicos or others being interviewed wish they had thought to do; such a thing as have a transcript with them. It is really telling of the thoroughness of Rumsfelds approach to any task. A quality to be much admired in a SecDef.
Anyone who was watching that exchange should clearly understand who was in command on the set, and it was not Tim Russert. -SpinDaddy