July 05, 2005

Laura Ingraham and Peggy Noonan Fret

Laura Ingraham interviewed Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, her "good friend", in early June. The conversation between the two is revealing in that every question she asks is a setup. They all sound somewhat like this: "Mr. Secretary, the liberal press has been saying bad things about the war in Iraq and about the President, and about you. Don't you think the liberal press is as bad as I do"? "Mr. Secretary, isn't China bad too?" "Mr. Secretary, the liberals are stopping John Bolton from becoming Ambassador to the UN. Aren't they really bad to do that?"

During the interview, she confessed that she and Peggy Noonan had chatted the other day and they fretted together about the downsizing of the US military, worrying that we would be more at risk at a time when the Chinese are growing their military.

Rumsfeld set her straight, making it clear that, in fact, we are not downsizing our military, "We're increasing the size of the Army and the Marines and have been by some 30,000 in the active force. What we're doing is not downsizing, as such, what we're doing is making our capabilities more capable and more agile and more lethal."

We are making our capabilities more capable, more agile, more lethal. Even more shock and awe-like, I suppose.

Rumsfeld went on: "Even though the press reports downsizing, the fact is that we've had substantial excess in infrastructure and the funds from that need to be put into capabilities that can do the country some good rather than being wasted in infrastructure that requires force protection and repair and a great deal of expense that doesn't really add to the military capability of the Department of Defense. So the process it's going through, the Base Closing and Realignment, is going to make our military defense, our military capabilities much greater than they were previously. We'll be more joint, we will have more of the funds the Department receives from the taxpayers of the United States focused on where they're needed."

Sounds like a vague cop-out to me, doesn't it? Here's a conclusion I can draw: If it weren't for all the money we have spent on "excess in infrastructure" (does that mean stuff like decent housing for the troops, health care, veteran's care?) and "force protection and repair" (does that mean like armored Humvees, bullet-proof vests, more secure bases in Iraq?), we'd be better off in Iraq and Afghanistan. Does he actually mean to blame troop losses and lack of protection in Iraq and Afghanistan on the costs of maintaining bases at home? What does he mean by "do the country some good?"

At the end of the interview, when Ingraham asks if Rumsfeld watches the Fox TV show 24, she is surprised when he says no. She then says she will send the entire collection of DVDs of the first season to him and makes him promise he will watch them.

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