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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Rummy Speaks

Reichsmarshal Rumsfeld held a news conference yesterday. He started with this:
I recently returned from Asia, where I had the pleasure and opportunity to visit with U.S. troops serving in South Korea, to thank them for their service and their sacrifice.

I noted to them that within my lifetime, the same now free and prosperous South Korea that they're helping to defend was almost completely destroyed by a terrible conflict. In the three years of the Korean War, nearly 40,000 Americans would fall in brutal combat, and U.S. forces endured many setbacks along the way.

President Harry Truman, now remembered as a fine president, would leave office in 1953 with an approval rating of about 25 percent, one of the lowest recorded ratings since folks started measuring those things.

Back then, a great many people questioned whether young Americans should face death and injury in Korea, thousands of miles from home, for a result that seemed uncertain at best. And today the answer is the Korean peninsula.

Satellite photo, Demilitarized Zone. This is Pyongyang, the capital. And it gives you a little idea of the contrast between a free political system and a free economic system. Same people, north and south. Same resources, north and south. The only difference is, the north has a repressive political regime and a command economy, and people are starving, and in the south the free economic system and free political system have created an economic miracle. But the question was, should young Americans be sent over there to -- at the risk of their lives? And of course the answer to that question is clear to anyone who visits the Korean peninsula today or who have the privilege of meeting, as I have done, some of the 3,000 South Korean troops who are helping the people of Iraq rebuild and secure their newfound freedom.
A fairly extended ends-justifies-the-means argument by Herr Rumsfeld. So, 65 years after a war fought on shaky legal and constitutional grounds, which killed some 2.5 million people, left a peninsula divided and heavily armed and facing possible nuclear annihilation with the northern part under dictatorship ever since and the southern part under dictatorship for 30 years, and is still technically not over, a portion of the country has economic vitality and some semblance of democracy. Iraqis must be SO excited! Not to mention the 38,000 or so American families who may have to lose their loved ones in order to bring W's ratings down to 25%.

DOD didn't include the satellite photo Rummy referred to--I'm assuming that it compared Pyongyang with Seoul. How about bringing out another pair of satellite photos, comparing communist Shanghai with, say, free-market New Orleans?

And, using Rummy's logic--where would Germany and Japan be today if they hadn't started WWII? Sure, 50 million dead, whole countries destroyed--but just look at their modern free-market economies today!

Of course, Rummy wasn't finished:
This week in Iraq, candidates and political parties representing all of the ethnic groups will begin campaigning in the parliamentary elections to be held on December 15th, something that's truly remarkable. Consider that just under three years ago, this same Iraq was home to one of the most vicious regimes of the 20th century, a regime that had invaded two of its neighbors, harbored and rewarded terrorists, filled mass graves with hundreds of thousands of its own people.
I think he's referring to the guy on the right in the photo below, who was helped by the guy on the left.

Rummy adds this:
I've watched the spread of Communism and the fall of Communism, the spread of Fascism and the fall of Fascism.
Heck, he's watched the spread and fall of everything from Bonapartism to Baathism to Neoconservativism, chipping in to make things worse whenever possible.

Rummy then answered some questions (emphasis added):
Q One of the implications of all of these questions right now is that there was somehow -- there are aspersions being cast on the integrity with which this administration went to the war in Iraq. And I wonder if that's anything you'd like to respond to. That's one of things that Colonel Wilkerson was talking about. It's one of the questions that seems to be spiralling out of this whole indictment of Lewis Libby. Is that anything you'd like to talk about --

SEC. RUMSFELD: Well, what you've got is you've got an indictment pending, and then you have people who are going to have to work their way through those things. And it seems to me that opining on it from the side is not a useful thing to do or a particularly thoughtful thing to do. We know -- anyone who looks at this process knows what it was. The president of the United States made some judgments based on the best advice he received, and he went to the Congress, and the Congress received the same information. He went to the United Nations, and the United Nations had the same information. And he made a decision, and the process, I think, was transparent.
I know I saw right through it.

WIIIAI has comments on other parts of Rummy's performance.