Monday, November 21, 2005

Rumsfeld Forgets Administration Talking Points During Odd Interview About Iraq and Terrorism

It was as if Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had forgotten his talking points.

Speaking on ABC's This Week, had a very strange response to last week's call from Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) to withdraw all U.S. troops within six months.

Rumsfeld told host George Stephanopoulos yesterday that talk of withdrawal tells insurgents that "if they wait, they prevail, and they'll be able to turn that country into a haven for terrorism."

The argument doesn't make any sense.

"They'll" is short for "they will." It's the future tense. So, one could reasonably argue that Rumsfeld's words could just as easily mean "they are not currently able to turn that country into a haven for terrorism."

Iraq is not currently a haven for terrorism? Has Rumsfeld not been paying attention ... to the official statements of the Bush Administration?


In yesterday's news, you have word -- although deemed "not credible" by the administration -- that a gunfight in the Iraqi city of Mosul took the life of al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

The U.S. has a $25 million bounty on al-Zarqawi's head. Why? Because it believes he's a terrorist. From where is he launching his terrorist attacks? The administration says Iraq.

But even when al-Zarqawi is not mentioned, the administration has -- at least since it couldn't find weapons of mass destruction -- made Iraqi terrorism a central argument for why we're fighting in Iraq.

For example, President Bush said this in his prime-time June 28 speech to the nation:

BUSH: Some wonder whether Iraq is a central front in the war on terror. Among the terrorists, there is no debate.

Seems pretty straightforward. But that was one of the few straightforward sentences Bush delivered that night. Maybe Rumsfeld was confused as Bush discussed terrorists and "their objectives," as if Al Qaeda and the Iraqi insurgency thought as one. Maybe he got lost as he heard the president use the mysterious "they" or "them" 39 times to describe the blended "terrorists."


Still, the administration talking point about terrorism in Iraq goes back to when the administration outlined its pre-war "intelligence" on Iraq.

You may remember Bush's infamous speech in Cincinnati, in October, 2002. That was the speech in which Bush first used claims made by captured Al Qaeda commander Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi -- eight months after the Defense Intelligence Agency had issued a report stating that it was "likely" that al-Libi was “intentionally misleading” his debriefers.

In that same speech, Bush said this about Iraq and terrorism:

BUSH: Over the years, Iraq has provided safe haven to terrorists such as Abu Nidal, whose terror organization carried out more than ninety terrorist attacks in twenty countries that killed or injured nearly 900 people, including 12 Americans.

Of course, a lot of things in that speech turned out to be untrue. Maybe Rumsfeld didn't pay attention to the spin then. Maybe he's not paying attention to the spin now.


At another point in the interview with Stephanopoulos, Rumsfeld said, "I didn't advocate invasion."

This bit of revisionist history contradicts several other accounts. For example, CBS News, citing notes by Pentagon officials, reported that Rumsfeld told his aides to come up with plans for striking Iraq hours after the September 11, 2001 attacks on Washington and New York.

And CBS' version of history is supported by the former White House terrorism czar, Richard Clarke, who has said that days after the September 11 attacks, Rumsfeld was pushing for retaliatory strikes on Iraq, despite questions over Iraq's links to Al-Qaeda.

In 2002, Newsweek reported Rumsfeld was "the most visible and certainly the most colorful frontman for attacking Iraq."

Are we to believe that in an administration that frowns upon dissenting views about Iraq -- look at what happened to Clarke, former chief weapons inspector David Kay or Army Chief of Staff Eric Shineski after they disagreed with the administration -- allowed its Defense Secretary to have a dissenting view about pre-emptive war against Iraq?

That's as preposterous as Rumsfeld's statement yesterday.

This is what happens when Karl Rove gets distracted -- people in the administration forget what the official talking points are ...


Anonymous cliss said...

I think they probably tried to present a unified front...
they probably spent many hours trying to forge talking points, good defenses, be prepared for anything, etc ad nauseum.

It's tough keeping your lies straight!!! Especially when people keep track, write down quotes, ask you questions, force you to remember and so on. The tape recorder is always on!!!

This ugly fact must have given them countless stomach aches and sleepless nights, trying to keep their shit together.

But, the biggest problem with these men is that they have big egos. It's really hard to get them to follow orders.

11:49 PM  
Anonymous countmyvote4real said...

Can you really trust the "logic" of a man who argued that the initial looting in Baghdad was not as pervasive as it appeared because it was just the same video clip played over again on many networks?

If we follow that logic, the staged for cable TV toppling of the Saddam statue is even more fake. We were played (although I never bought into it) and Rummy is a snake. We have pictures of him shaking Saddam’s hand, shortly after securing the deal for the gasses that Saddam could use on his own people.

This cabal is pure evil.

1:07 AM  
Blogger don dzikowski said...

More evidences that the Bush Administration's spin on Iraq -- shoved down the throat of the American public with assistance from the MSM these last few years --- is becoming completely unraveled.
A lie can only persist for so long before it falls apart.
We have nonsensical, contradictory rationalizations from Cheney, Bush, and the latest example from Rumsfeld above.
Such insane rationalizations, folks, continue to keep us in this war.

10:09 AM  
Anonymous Disturbed said...

This War Criminal has no credibility left except maybe with click their heels Bush Cult.

10:22 AM  
Anonymous kstewart33 said...

I saw Rummy on the ABC show and I was surprised at how he was distancing himself from the war. Who is running the war? It seems as though no one is taking responsibility for running it.

10:52 AM  
Anonymous Norquist Nemesis said...

Did anyone hear him say Bush didn't ask his opinion about Iraq?
Last night on a local talk show, the RWinger hose said Rummy stated Bush never asked for his opinion. The host claimed he was "stunned" when at that statement.

10:54 AM  
Anonymous Babe Hill said...

Did he forget them or did JABBS just get it wrong. Considering the hateful rhetoric presented daily on this Blog about the President and this Great Country, I'd guess it was the later. Shocking!

11:55 AM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

Babe -- feel free to defend your points. What is "hateful?" What did JABBS get wrong?

JABBS' information is attributed. Yours should be, too.

12:11 PM  
Anonymous rob of wilmington, del. said...

Why is that any conservative who trolls this site has to either resort to name calling, or make some swiping stereotypical statement not backed by any fact?

Why can't conservatives have a meaningful debate?

Defend Rumsfeld! Defend the charges made by JABBS -- which are charges being made by many Americans!

If someone thinks JABBS is wrong, then articulate why.

It's so childish to just snicker and name call. It only suggests that JABBS is right, and the conservatives who troll here have nothing meaningful to say to counter it.

12:17 PM  
Anonymous John said...

Nice connections. At least more and more people are recognizing this as delusion and not being cowed into support out of fear.

2:12 PM  
Anonymous mark said...

I don't think it matters that much whether the point he's making works logically. If logic and reason were important, a lot of talking points wouldn't have made it out the door. To me the most astounding part of the interview is Rumsfeld claiming that he didn't advocate invasion, and that he wasn't asked! I thought this level of revisionism wasn't supposed to swing into high gear until after the war was over.

Seriously, I find it hard to believe that Rumsfeld thinks that anyone would buy this. I added him to my "Because their lips are moving" list.

3:09 PM  
Anonymous ash said...

How many Sunday gabfests was he on this weekend? I count at least four.

Here's my rule of thumb: the more programs on which a particular administration mouthpiece appears, the more desperate he is to control the damage.

BTW: anyone know whether he contradicted himself from appearance to appearance?

3:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now we also have Cheney connecting every Middle Eastern attack on the U.S. over the last two decades to Iraq, and again referencing the contribution of Al Quada terrorists' to the insurgency.
Of course, Cheney conveniently fails to address the two main arguments: (1) the U.S. invasion and ongoing occupation have actually increased terrorism both within Iraq and on a global scale, and (2) whether the lack of any discernable progress in defeating the insurgency justifies the U.S. military's continued involvement in Iraq.
In obscuring the real issues, Cheney and Rumsfeld can spout most any propaganda about Iraq lacking any substance or historical context. The MSM fails to ask questions and consequently plays a willing role in the propaganda.
And all America suffers for it.

5:06 PM  
Blogger Cian said...

Rumsfeld has been involved in many various interventions in the middle east over the years.
Recall Farenheit 9/11 with the footage of the man and saddam. He has a knack of evading the consequences of his actions. The sudden move away from the Iraq invasion resembles his teflon coating over his role in Iraq up to and including Gulf I. The guy is an operator.
He didnt deviate from his talking points. he has an eye on his next post. You cant retire a rumsfeld. 2008 is on his agenda and if he is to make it there with a portfolio for another run at reconstructing a new american century he needs to jettison Iraq from his baggage now.
Just a thought.

8:22 PM  

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