Abstract Musings

Documenting the random thoughts of a cluttered mind

Targeting Rumsfeld

Old media, having failed to take down President Bush, now seems to have its sights set on Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. First, came the up-armor non-story. Here’s what one National Guardsman serving with the 278th in Northern Iraq thinks about the up-armor controversy.

Now comes the revelation that, Rumsfeld didn’t sign the letters of condolence sent to the families of U.S. service members killed in action.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has decided to personally sign condolence letters to the family members of U.S. troops killed in action rather than letting a machine affix his signature.

Republican and Democratic members of Congress criticized the embattled Pentagon chief on Sunday for not signing the letters himself all along.

Let me make sure I understand this. Rumsfeld is not fit to be Secretary of Defense because he didn’t put pen to paper when signing these condolence letters. In what way does this impact his ability to lead the nation’s armed forces?

What it amounts to is a political jihad to get Rumsfeld’s scalp by some politicians sniffing the wind and noticing that Rumsfeld’s approval rating is falling. If the issue is with the composition of the armed forces, or the number of troops in Iraq, or the failure to anticipate a guerilla war in Iraq, or some other factor Rumsfeld had (or should have had) control over, fine. Maybe he deserves to be run out of Washington for any (or all) of these reasons. But to focus on a completely manufactured and bogus issue, or one as trivial as whether the signature on a letter was ink from a pen or ink from a stamp seems ridiculous to me.

Well, at least President Bush is sticking by his Secretary of Defense.

Rumsfeld over the weekend was accused of being insensitive after admitting he did not personally sign letters of condolence to families of more than 1,000 soldiers killed in Iraq but instead had them signed by auto-pen.

Rumsfeld later said he would now sign them by hand.

“Sometimes, perhaps his demeanor is rough and gruff. But below that rough and gruff, no-nonsense demeanor is a good human being who cares deeply about the military and deeply about the grief that war causes,” Bush said.

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