>> Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Donny Rumsfeld, not quite lying:
In his speech at West Point last night, Obama claimed that before he took office, "commanders in Afghanistan repeatedly asked for support to deal with the reemergence of the Taliban, but these reinforcements did not arrive."
Rumsfeld is now strongly denying that claim, calling it a "bald misstatement."
"I am not aware of a single request of that nature between 2001 and 2006," Rumsfeld said. "If any such requests occurred, ‘repeated’ or not, the White House should promptly make them public. The President's assertion does a disservice to the truth and, in particular, to the thousands of men and women in uniform who have fought, served and sacrificed in Afghanistan.”
There is a sense in which Donald Rumsfeld is telling the truth. The sense in which he is telling the truth is structured as follows: Donald Rumsfeld either intimidated or outright fired anyone in the military brass who tried to make a formal request for additional troops, in either Afghanistan or Iraq. He made it clear from a very early point in his tenure that he would view such requests as acknowledgments of defeat, both in terms of the wars in question and for his project of military transformation. As Bradley Graham details, when the idea of reinforcement was mooted or when informal requests were made, Rumsfeld brusquely interrogated the generals in questions until the topic was dropped. Sending more troops was not something that Rumsfeld was prepared to entertain, and he was careful to surround himself with people who made certain that the topic was never seriously raised.
So yes, Don Rumsfeld is telling the "Truth." Virtually everyone understands the worthlessness of this "Truth;" even wingnuts, enamored of the post-Rumsfeld surge, are reluctant to man this particular barricade. Recognition of Donald Rumsfeld's incompetence is perhaps the last truly bipartisan consensus in modern American politics.