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Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Battle Rumsfeld - Challenger - Second Rebuttal

Click below to hear my rebuttal.
Ara3.jpg

Listen to Ara

(Audio by InstantAudio)


Transcript

Hey Rosemary! I loved your opening line:
When I go to a restaurant it's because I want something special.
As do I. But put yourself in the shoes of the restaurant owner, Rosemary. What if YOU owned that restaurant and your livelihood, your family's survival, depended on the satisfaction of your customers?

What if one of your wait-staff was rude, or incompetent? How many times would you put up with that before you dismissed them?

What if the cook or the chef burned the food? What if all the orders were late? What if the food looked un-appetizing? How long would you wait for things to turn around? How long could you afford to hope things would get better? How many prayers would you say pleading for a better outcome?

If your livelihood depended on it, you would do whatever was necessary to protect your investment. You'd pitch in behind the stove; you'd personally talk to the customers. And if necessary you'd replace the employees that couldn't do the job because it's up to YOU to be a leader.

YOU have to show the way; YOU have to know the way; and YOU have to GO the way, if necessary, to make it happen.

President Bush, the CEO President, is faced with a similar choice. His Defense Secretary has performed in such a way that the entire war that the President pushed for, is in danger of failing. The consequences of such a failure would be monumental. And yet, the Secretary continues on in office. How much longer will it be before the President does what is so long overdue?

Donald Rumsfeld must go.

How much more proof do we need that his performance as Secretary of Defense has been pretty dismal?

Sec. Rumsfeld planned poorly for the war right from the beginning. He insisted that we could win this war with no more than 150 thousand troops. Not only was the folly of that PREDICTABLE, it was acutally PREDICTED at the time. Yet Sec. Rumsfeld ignored the advice of knowledgeable generals as well as the lessons of history.

The result? Our brave military men and women are hanging on, battling a spreading insurgency. We've extended their tours of duty beyond the promised one-year deal. And yet, Sec. Rumsfeld continues to resist calls from civilian authorities and military authorities alike to send in the necessary reinforcements to relieve our brave fighting men. Will he adjust his mindset? I hope so. Will it be too late? I hope not.

Rosemary, you asked me what my plan would be.
If you have a real plan on how to fix things, could you tell us what it would look like? More troops? Less troops? Nicer to civilians? Meaner to civilians? Kill more Iraqis? Kill less? Get more involvement from allies? Go more alone? What is it you want done, Mr. Challenger?
I'll be blunt: I want a new Secretary of Defense. Duh!

Beyond that, you can read more elsewhere about what I would feel comfortable backing at this point.

Make no mistake, however -- our options are fewer and considerably less palatable now than they were one year ago, or even 6 months ago precisely because of this administration's botched war planning and execution.

And as time goes on, we'll have fewer options still, unless we stop and make the necessary corrections NOW.

Step One: Donald Rumsfeld must go.

Now let me make another point here: Mr. Rumsfeld's disastrous record as SecDef only began with his willful low-balling of troop strengths.
  • He was wrong about WMD, saying, "We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad."

  • He planned for an invasion of Iraq without planning for an exit from Iraq. Senior military officers are reportedly questioning whether we can avoid ongoing casualties in Iraq for years to come.

  • Contrary to conventional wisdom, it was Sec. Rumsfeld who sent our boys into Iraq without body armor, vehicle armor, and defense systems on helicopters, despite getting every penny that he asked for from Congress.

  • He was wrong about the force levels that were necessary to secure Iraq's infrastructure after the war and to protect the Iraqi people.

  • He was wrong about the true cost of the occupation. Oil revenues have yet to displace the monthly cost to the US Treasury of supporting this war, let alone pay back the $150 billion so far spent by US taxpayers.

  • He was wrong about the ability to create and support a provisional authority that was anything more than a puppet government ill-equipped to stand on its own without massive security guarantees from our army.

  • He was wrong about when our soldiers would be able to come home.

  • He was wrong about the degree of resentment and anger that our occupation has engendered among the Iraqi people.

  • And since you want to talk so much about Abu Ghraib, it was Sec. Rumsfeld who so disdainfully spoke of the Geneva Conventions that it set the tone for what came afterwards. Then, a year ago, as reports of prison mistreatment began to surface in Iraq, it was Sec. Rumsfeld who ignored repeated requests from US Admin Bremer, the International Red Cross and Sec. Powell to do something about it.
Now, Rosemary, you can suggest that this debate is supposed to be only about Abu Ghraib and his culpability; go ahead, be my guest.

But I would suggest that while you are obsessing on this, Iraq is sliding into the abyss and taking us with it.

I will not let that happen.

If I'm in charge, I'm firing Donald Rumsfeld yesterday and replacing him with someone who sees things the way they are and not the way he wishes them to be.

And if his real Boss won't fire Rumsfeld, I'll be glad to fire Rumsfeld's Boss in November.

P.S. There is more than meets the eye with your "brilliant" link to Fred Kaplan : Kaplan wrote the article 10 months ago; in case you haven't noticed, a lot has changed since then. But never mind that -- here's what Kaplan said back then about the brilliant Rumsfeld plan:
Rumsfeld assumed that a new and friendly regime would be quickly installed, that all but the most unsavory remnants of Saddam's government would be co-opted, and that, faced with utter defeat, the surviving Iraqi fighters would surrender, assimilate, or, in the case of the undaunted few, be hunted down and killed.

Alas (and here's where the obtuse part comes in), his anointed new leader, Ahmad Chalabi, turned out to be—as many other officials had warned—not much different from puppet leaders of the past; he'd oversold his political support and, even more, the competence of his militia, the "Free Iraqi Fighters." And so, the U.S. occupation authorities found themselves out on a limb.
Ara Rubyan
E Pluribus Unum

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