Thursday, April 06, 2006

Is that how a warped brain like yours gets its kicks? By planning the death of innocent people?

John Belushi was a comic genius. It frustrates me to no end that he threw his life away in a speedball overdose some years ago. A complete and utter waste.

If I was to try to imagine what went through Belushi's drug-addled brain in the moments before his death I see all sorts of psychedelic visions of flying ponies, talking hamburgers and, more than likely, Donald Rumsfeld talking about Iraq's "known unknowns." Listening to Rumsfeld is just about that surreal of an experience.

I can't for the life of me remember an administration appointee from ANY administration that came into office with as much hype as Rumsfeld only to fail so miserably. Rumsfeld was going to modernize the military and bring it into the 21st century. Left unspoken was that his concept of modernity was the stuff of Star Wars fantasy. Literally. A missile defense shield which fails even fixed tests that he convinced the President was ready to spend billions of dollars deploying in Alaska. No doubt he had to promise the President he'd get the first lightsaber.

Don't even get me started on his approach to the human element of the military. If there was a way to cut costs and go it on the cheap it, especially at the expense of our men and women in uniform, he'd find it. Cut down on support. Check. Cut armor for humvees. Check. Cut benefits and hazard pay. Check. The man is obviously more in love with technology, especially unproven, over the health and well being of the actual soldiers who serve under him.

In public he comes across as a sort of bespectacled Mr. Spock, more computer than man. This is supposed to demonstrate his value as Secretary of Defense. Coldly and impeccably logical. Cool in the face of danger. A slave to reason. All complete bullshit.

There has been nothing in our strategy towards the war in Iraq that has been logical. From the lack of appropriate numbers of soldiers at the start of the war, to the allowances for looting, to the disbanding of the Iraqi military because of worries about Sunni officers-- it's been one downright stupid move after another.

So I found Rumsfeld's public jabs at Condi Rice amusing on a couple of levels. The first is that Rumsfeld wants to play a semantical game. Rice referred to mistakes in Iraq as "tactical errors." Because she's talking about the bigger picture and not the actual prosecution of the fighting by our military I assume she ment to say "strategical errors." In military terms "strategy" is the planning made by generals and above before and during the war to achieve victory. "Tactics" are what the troops on the ground put together to implement the strategy. Rumsfeld is pretending he doesn't understand Rice and, in the process, is being too cute by half:

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said he did not know what Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was talking about when she said last week that the United States had made thousands of "tactical errors" in handling the war in Iraq, a statement she later said was meant figuratively.

Speaking during a radio interview on WDAY in Fargo, N.D., on Tuesday, Rumsfeld said calling changes in military tactics during the war "errors" reflects a lack of understanding of warfare. Rumsfeld defended his war plan for Iraq but added that such plans inevitably do not survive first contact with the enemy.

"Why? Because the enemy's got a brain; the enemy watches what you do and then adjusts to that, so you have to constantly adjust and change your tactics, your techniques and your procedures," Rumsfeld told interviewer Scott Hennen, according to a Defense Department transcript. "If someone says, well, that's a tactical mistake, then I guess it's a lack of understanding, at least my understanding, of what warfare is about."

I'd just point out one final thing: Rumsfeld's entire "understanding of what warfare is about" could easily fit on one side of a post-it. But listening to him talk is quite the high.


Don Snabulus said...

Rumsfeld seems to live his life as a series of decisions based on clever quips he's collected over the course of his life. His bumper sticker philosophy hasn't served him very well.

Dean Wormer said...

Hasn't served our servicemen well either.