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August 28, 2003

BOOTS ON THE GROUND....The headline in today's New York Times is "General in Iraq Says More G.I.'s Are Not Needed," but if you read closely that's not exactly what General John Abizaid really said:

"You can't underestimate the public perception both within Iraq and within the Arab world about the percentage of the force being so heavily American," the general said in an interview here at his headquarters.

....Rather than increasing the American force, General Abizaid said the priority should be to increase the size of the reconstituted Iraqi security services — now at about 60,000 people....

So it's not that we don't need more troops — as Donald Rumsfeld keeps insisting — it's that we don't need more American troops. An All-American occupying force, you see, lacks the legitimacy that it needs in the Arab world.

That sounds familiar, doesn't it? Of course, Iraqi security services aren't the only way to internationalize the force, and General Abizaid, not being a stupid man, knows it. Let's pick up that paragraph where we left off:

....the priority should be to increase the size of the reconstituted Iraqi security services — now at about 60,000 people — and to persuade other nations, particularly Muslim countries, to contribute military forces like military police, special operations forces and civil affairs specialists.

...."A campaign plan exists, but what we need to do is sharpen it up," the general said. "There's a need for a synchronization of effort, not only by the United States, but the international community and coalition forces."

....General Abizaid said any sticking points were likely political rather than military, saying, "There are innovative ways of working the chain of command that are acceptable from a military point of view and a unity of command point of view."

This is rather plainly stated, isn't it? We do need more troops, we ought to have a multinational force, and the military has no problem with this. All it takes is for George Bush to get over those "political" sticking points and do his job. Now would be a good time to start.

POSTSCRIPT: The more I think about Rumsfeld's recent comments, the more they piss me off. Here's what he said three days ago:

There are some recommending that more U.S. forces go in. I can tell you that if Gen. Abizaid recommended it, it would happen in a minute. But he has not recommended it.

Technically that's true: Abizaid doesn't want more U.S. forces. But he does want more forces.

Crikey. Can you trust a thing these guys say without parsing every single phoneme to within an inch of its life?

Posted by Kevin Drum at August 28, 2003 08:59 PM | TrackBack


Comments

Can you trust a thing these guys say without parsing every single phoneme to within an inch of its life?

No. That is probably the single biggest reason I did not support this war: I was mistrustful of the doublespeak and astounded at the lack of a sober explanation of what the war might cost in lives, time, and money.

Posted by: Thersites at August 28, 2003 09:25 PM | PERMALINK

No, and you can't trust anything that they say, even after parsing. They are dishonest people, who've been successful with dishonesty. There is no reason for them to change now.

Seconding Thersites' thoughts - when tricky operations are undertanken by such people, the results are only good if there is great good luck.

Posted by: Barry at August 28, 2003 09:51 PM | PERMALINK

Um, Rumsfeld was addressing the question US forces, so that's what he talked about: US forces. what's the problem? You have to "parse" a straightforward statement?


You seem to want him to have broadened his statement to the more general question of whether "troops" oughta go to Iraq, but you're forgetting (or ignorant of) somethin': Rumsfeld is not in charge of whether OTHER countries send troops to Iraq. That's, like, their decision n stuff. He doesn't have control over other countries' troops, you can't ask Donald Rumsfeld to "send" say French troops to Iraq, and it's frickin stupid to blame him for not addressing the question of whether Belgian troops ought to go to Iraq when that's not even his jurisdiction.


I mean, damn. seriously guys. I know Bush and Rummy is dumb and evil and stuff but sometimes straightforward statements about things within his purview are just that.


Next time Bush says "I don't think US taxes ought to be raised" are you gonna jump over him for not addressing the question of whether "taxes", in general, including those of Russians, ought to be raised? Hatin' Bush and wantin' do to the opposite of what he wants is fun and all but just cuz he's so dumb doesn't mean you don't have to use your own brain either.

Posted by: Name: at August 28, 2003 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

I think we should be spending our time parsing the Schwarzenegger Oui interview.

Posted by: hackaus at August 28, 2003 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

"They will offer more lectures, and legalisms, and carefully worded denials.

"We offer another way...a better way... and a stiff dose of truth."

link

Posted by: JP at August 28, 2003 11:02 PM | PERMALINK

must we parse every phoneme...

No. That's what they WANT you to do. You'll get tired, not parse anything, and they've won.

Questions?

D

Posted by: Dano at August 28, 2003 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

The problem is, Name, that argument doesn't gel with the quotes. Let me pull a larger cite:

Speaking at a Veterans of Foreign Wars meeting in San Antonio, Rumsfeld said that analysis by the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff indicated the United States had enough troops in Iraq to execute its mission.

Rumsfeld told reporters after a visit to nearby Lackland Air Force Base that U.S. Central Command chief Gen. John Abizaid, who is responsible for U.S. military operations in Iraq, has told him the number of troops in Iraq is "appropriate at the present time for the tasks that he has."

"There are some recommending that more U.S. forces go in. I can tell you that if Gen. Abizaid recommended it, it would happen in a minute. But he has not recommended it," Rumsfeld said, adding, "And the facts change continuously, on the ground, and we have to watch it continuously."

Would you, upon reading these paragraphs, conclude that there were enough troops in Iraq to "execute [our] mission"? It would seem a reasonable conclusion, especially given the omission of the crucial qualifier "the number of -US- troops" in the second paragraph. But that would actually be wrong, as General Abizaid said today (see quotes in main post); the correct interpretation is that although we may have enough *American* troops in Iraq, we do need more *non-American troops* as well.

Now, there are a number of possible explanations for this:

* The reporter did a bad job, either misquoting or writing ambiguously
* Rumsfeld is just being careless with his terminology
* Rumsfeld is being "technically correct", but deliberately misleading

Since I don't think the reporter's at fault here -- I can't believe someone could completely mischaracterize Rumsfeld's remarks, although I'd appreciate a cite to the full text if anyone's got it handy -- we're left with some awkward conclusions. Something ain't right here.

Posted by: Anarch at August 28, 2003 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

Thersites complains that " I was mistrustful of the doublespeak and astounded at the lack of a sober explanation of what the war might cost in lives, time, and money."

Perhaps I'm getting my news from completely different sources, but I do recall Mr. Bush and others in the Administration making it quite clear, well before the war and up to it, that the cost in lives could be high, the cost in time for any reconstruction would be in "years", and the cost in money would be substantial, though it was felt that Iraqi oil could pay for the majority of the reconstruction.

I see nothing so far that contradicts that. We've lost several hundred American soldiers -- that is a significant cost, and we should grieve for each one. Perhaps the liberal end of the political spectrum missed the timeline, but it was quite clear on the conservative end -- years. Iraqi oil is not paying for reconstruction to date and getting that oil to flow has been much more difficult than predicted. The timeline is still early, however.

One could peruse the whitehouse.gov site and find any number of speeches by Mr. Bush that would, in any fair reading, make clear that there was no attempt to downplay the cost in lives, time or money.

Posted by: Steve White at August 28, 2003 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

To be a little more rigorous in this analysis, consider the following pair of sentences:

A) The United States has enough troops in Iraq to execute the mission.
B) There are enough troops in Iraq to execute the mission.

At a purely logical level, A clearly implies B. Thus Rumsfeld contradicted Abizaid at this purely logical level: if the US has enough troops in Iraq to execute the mission, then there are necessarily enough troops in Iraq to execute the mission and therefore there is no need for any more troops, foreign or otherwise.

Now, these two statements need not be consequences of one another if we play fast and loose with the definition of "execute its mission". For example, when Rumsfeld said "execute its mission" he might have been using the possessive to signal that he was only referring to a specific slice of those things which need to be done in Iraq, e.g. guarding a pipeline. Abizaid, when he said B -- the exact quote is the first paragraph of Kevin's second cite -- might be referring to a broader notion of "mission" than Rumsfeld. The context of Rumsfeld's remarks, however, clearly implies that the two notions of "mission" are the same: in both cases, the implied meaning of mission is to restore order to Iraq. All told, this means that the best defense Rumsfeld has is that yes, his remarks were "technically true"... but deeply deceptive, exactly as Kevin remarked.

Addendum: There are actually plenty of other ways to weasel out of this, e.g. noting that Abizaid never actually said "need", he said "priority", and so forth, but IMO they all boil down to a sophistry that conceals something fundamentally wrong with the way in which this is being portrayed.

PS: Kevin, you should probably note that the emphasis in that key graf is yours, not the Times'.

Posted by: Anarch at August 28, 2003 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

How could we have possibly known?

"fas-cism (fâsh'iz'em) n. A system of government that
exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging
of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism.
[Ital. fascio, group.]"


Pitt to Parliament… (1778): "My lords, if I were an American as
I am an Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country I would
never lay down my arms- never, never, never".

Posted by: Sovereign Eye at August 29, 2003 01:09 AM | PERMALINK

Steve White, I recall that the administration was asked several times what projected costs and casualties would be and that over and over we were told, by Rumsfeld in particular, that there was no way to know until we got there. In fact, Kevin posted several blog entries about exactly this point, the gist being, yes, there's no way to know exactly how it's going to work out, but that we pay a lot of smart people to draw up projections that should be in the ball park of eventual reality.

From what is being reported now, those projections were made but apparently ignored. They certainly were not espoused by the administration. Why they were ignored is central to the competency of the current administration, IMO.

I think that you are conflating Bush's general statements about the "war on terrorism" versus the Bush war in Iraq. Remember also, we're not talking here about statements made after the fighting started, we're talking about statements, or lack thereof, during the build up to invasion.

Posted by: Jeff Boatright at August 29, 2003 04:36 AM | PERMALINK

OT, but...

BBC is now reporting -- confirmed by Reuters --that SCIRI member Ayatollah al-Hakim was killed in the blast in Najaf.

Here's the CNN story. Bizarre the difference in number reported dead.

Posted by: Anarch at August 29, 2003 05:18 AM | PERMALINK

And here's the Reuters story confirming the death of Ayatollah al-Hakim. Sorry for the bipartite post, but the web pages weren't getting updated :/

Posted by: Anarch at August 29, 2003 05:25 AM | PERMALINK

Steve White, You conveniently utilize BushCo's CYA terminology now that the grand plan of quick victory, instant democracy, and overnight oil profits hasn't panned out. Enough CYA was laid out that words could be found that would cover any possible outcomes. But the message that BushCo was clearly marketing and most Americans bought was that the effort would be nearly painless. Now, the word scam comes to mind.

Posted by: danuube at August 29, 2003 06:24 AM | PERMALINK

One might think that in light of the US "mission" in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, an increase in the number of US troops -- possibly via a renewed military draft (although this is still unacceptable talk in polite company) -- would be the answer, as many senators such as Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Dick Lugar and Joe Biden have indicated.

And yet the colonial logic is unerring -- "boots on the ground" wearing the American flag are far more costly than boots wearing the flag of somebody else.

American G.I.'s cost around $60,000 a year. Compare this to the rough cost of $40,000 to maintain a Polish peacekeeper in Iraq for a year (and that includes deployment costs), or roughly $10,000 for a Ukrainian one. I've got to believe the cost of a Pakistani peacekeeper would be much less still.

One way or another the US will be paying for the boots on the ground in Iraq. But like any responsible businessman, Rumsfeld wants value for his money. When the European powers ran out of cheap home-grown troops to fight in Europe during the world wars, they imported the necessary forces from the colonies. The US is keeping up the same fine tradition.

Posted by: General Glut at August 29, 2003 06:29 AM | PERMALINK

Steve White, as a matter of fact, i went through many bush speeches during the run-up to war, and other than the most generic and meaningless pablum, he said nothing about the difficulties and risks until the night the war began. For you to think otherwise is merest projection.

Name, not only did Rumsfeld play it cute, but yes, as a matter of fact, considering that Rumsfeld is a key voice in the administration's policy-making, he does have a great deal to do with whether other nations provide troops, whereas bush does indeed have nothing to do with other country's taxes.

Posted by: howard at August 29, 2003 07:02 AM | PERMALINK

hey, I thought the coalition was made up of close to 50 countries, if each of them sends only 1000 troops the problem is solved for the time being ;)

Posted by: novakant at August 29, 2003 07:14 AM | PERMALINK

Rumsfeld is not in charge of whether OTHER countries send troops to Iraq.

Yes, he is, indirectly. Other nations (e.g. France and India) have already signalled a willingness to send troops if there was a UN mandate. If the administration were willing to make any concessions on the mission and command of such a force, the foreign troops would already be there.

Next time Bush says "I don't think US taxes ought to be raised" are you gonna jump over him for not addressing the question of whether "taxes", in general, including those of Russians, ought to be raised?

Since you've done a good job recently pointing out oversimplifications in argument, it's surprising to see you make such a gross oversimplification here.

Posted by: Biff at August 29, 2003 07:42 AM | PERMALINK

Good post, Kevin, but as you note in closing, the headline is in fact precisely true, once you parse it. Same goes for Rumsfeld (though Anarch makes a good argument). Same goes for "it depends what the meaning of is is." It does depend.
Don't expect honesty from our new arrival Name.

Posted by: John Isbell at August 29, 2003 08:12 AM | PERMALINK

Yesterday I was going through my leadup-to-the-Iraq-invasion clip file (which I started keeping in September 2001), and came across an article reporting on the administration's first testimony to Congress with an actual figure on their estimate of the cost of the war. Would anyone care to take a guess on the date (without Googling)?

Posted by: Nell Lancaster at August 29, 2003 08:14 AM | PERMALINK

Anarch:


Would you, upon reading these paragraphs, conclude that there were enough troops in Iraq to "execute [our] mission"?


Enough US troops, sure. There's one (1) part where only the word "troops" without the "US" modifier is used, but I notice that that's not a quote from Rumsfeld - it's the reporter. Should I get mad at Rumsfeld because his quotes get paraphrased by reporters in ways I have to "parse"?



Since I don't think the reporter's at fault here --


Based on.. what? Of course you don't think the reporter's at fault if you start from the premise that Rummy must be at fault, I s'pose


Something ain't right here.


Just for the sake of it can someone explain why it matters what Rumsfeld says about where he thinks non-US troops should and shouldn't go? I still can't figure that part out. Donald Rumsfeld is the US Secretary of Defense, not of The World. He can't send non-US troops somewhere even if he thought this was a good idea and wanted to.


Further, if you're all so convinced (as you seem to be) that convincing France, etc. to send their young men into Iraq to die (and why France would EVER agree to do this is not obvious to me) is so necessary (i.e. not just cuz Bush doesn't seem to want to and Bush must be wrong), WHY on earth do you want our Secretary of Defense to go on TV and announce "WE'RE DESPERATE AND WE TOTALLY NEED FRENCH TROOPS IN THERE".


Ain't exactly mastered the fine art of negotiation, have you? What kind of bargaining position does that put us in? I mean even if I buy the "foreign troops are necessary" theory, that doesn't mean it's a good idea to do it AT ALL COSTS and make WHATEVER CONCESSION THEY ASK. That is, if you actually *care* about US interests and goals and stuff. Of course, that may be where we differ.

Posted by: Name: at August 29, 2003 08:17 AM | PERMALINK


Yes, he is, indirectly. Other nations (e.g. France and India) have already signalled a willingness to send troops if there was a UN mandate.


You haven't exactly connected those dots (and how does Rumsfeld, acting as SecDef, bring about a "UN mandate") but of course I'll give you "indirectly". What the hell, Charles Krauthammer is "indirectly" responsible for whether French troops go in there, I s'pose (*rolls eyes*).


Anyway, as per my previous comment the most significant "indirect" way Rumsfeld could affect the French-troops-into-Iraq thing would be to go on TV begging for them to come. That seems to be what everyone wants, which is an odd sort of negotiating strategy to me. But then again, I actually care about the mission and our bargaining position to begin with.


If the administration were willing to make any concessions on the mission and command of such a force, the foreign troops would already be there.


That's the cartoon version anyway. "Bush is just stubborn! Won't may ANY concessions at all!" Yeah, I got that part. Of course, reality is usually more complicated than a cartoon. In this case, the most obvious explanation is: "Bush" (meaning, the U.S. administration) would be willing to make some concessions, just not whatever ones France etc are asking for, because those (in "Bush"'s view) would threaten the mission.


You can disagree with the latter but nobody's doing that. Instead they're saying "HE JUST WON'T GIVE IN!!!!!", which I'm sure is emotionally satisfying but as a description of a complex reality and international interplay it's something lacking and betrays a lack of seriousness.


So obviously this explanation (y'know, the straightforward one) can't be accepted because (a) it doesn't jibe with peoples' preconceived cartoon version of Bush as the Stubborn Cowboy, and (b) many people making this critique don't care about "the mission" at all to begin with. A position of "although we in the public have no idea what they are, WHATEVER concessions the French etc are asking for must be worth it" is functionally equivalent to saying "our mission is invalid and there can't possibly be any aspect of it worth preserving, and so it's absolutely impossible that those French concessions, whatever they are, would threaten the mission in any way anyone can validly care about".


If I believed that, I'd probably be whining about the lack of French troops as well. And oh yeah "Bush"'s stubbornness. He's just so damn stubborn!! Won't listen to anybody!!!!1


Posted by: Name: at August 29, 2003 08:30 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry but the thought that other nations are eager to send troops to Iraq once there is some kind of UN mandate is a pipe dream.

Most if not all countries would only send troops, if the mandate were such that it would be a deal between a democratically elected, independent Iraqi government and the UN, and even then it would be a hard sell - if there was any hint that the UN was just being used to bolster US troop strength most non-coalition countries would never send troops. The simple reason being that the governments of these countries wouldn't survive such a move politically.

One should remember that the majority of the people of almost every country apart from the US, Israel and Kuwait were vehemently opposed to the war. Opposition even in some "coalition" countries was very high too: 55% in Britain and around 90 % in Spain - this changed somewhat during the war but only because people didn't want to stab their soldiers in the back. Around 2/3 of the Indians are strongly opposed to American policies in general and 90 % were against the war in Iraq.

Now if the pro-war American population is already having a hard time swallowing the human and financial losses in post-war Iraq why on earth does everybody think sending troops over there would be such an easy sell for the governments of countries whose population has been opposed to the war in the first place? What would their justification be when the first body-bags arrive.

So until there is a legitimate Iraqi government the US and the British will basically be on their own - that's my guess at least.

Posted by: novakant at August 29, 2003 08:33 AM | PERMALINK

Which Middle Eastern countries could we convince to send troops that we could be sure were on our side? Other than Turkey there is no one, and are they even really a Middle Eastern country?

Please don't talk about a UN mandate as if it is just available for the asking. If you want to have a discussion about it you have to address A) what we will have to give up and B) whether there are enough troops available through UN channels to make it worthwhile. At the moment the answers seem to be A) Almost complete control by the end of the year and B) almost no useful number of troops. Why would negotiate for anything substantial for no significant amount of troops?

Posted by: Sebastian Holsclaw at August 29, 2003 09:33 AM | PERMALINK

Name,

Enough US troops, sure. There's one (1) part where only the word "troops" without the "US" modifier is used, but I notice that that's not a quote from Rumsfeld - it's the reporter. Should I get mad at Rumsfeld because his quotes get paraphrased by reporters in ways I have to "parse"?

First, I'm capable of identifying the word "one" with the numeral "1". No need to clarify there.

Second, I did in fact note that the reporter could have been mistaken in the paraphrase. [That was why I included the first option in the triad of possibilities above.] However, I dismissed it for the following reason: whether the omission of the crucial qualifier was an accurate quote or a poor paraphrase, I don't believe that a reporter for Reuters -- a very respectable news agency -- would have inaccurately summarized Rumsfeld's position as cited in the first two paragraphs above. As such, Rumsfeld's remarks are subject to the "more rigorous analysis" I provided in my second post.

The crucial point there -- which I notice you did not address -- is that if the United States has sufficient troops in Iraq to execute its mission, then necessarily there are enough troops in Iraq to execute the mission, in contradiction to General Abizaid's remarks. So I repeat: Rumsfeld's remarks can be parsed as technically correct, but they are highly misleading.

[See my second post for a more complete exposition of this point.]

Based on.. what? Of course you don't think the reporter's at fault if you start from the premise that Rummy must be at fault, I s'pose

True, but that's not the premise from which I started. See above.

Just for the sake of it can someone explain why it matters what Rumsfeld says about where he thinks non-US troops should and shouldn't go? I still can't figure that part out. Donald Rumsfeld is the US Secretary of Defense, not of The World. He can't send non-US troops somewhere even if he thought this was a good idea and wanted to.

For two reasons. First, because, as numerous people have noted, he's a player of major influence in Iraqi policy. In fact, he's arguably the second most powerful person re Iraq after President Bush (although Bremer might squeak him out). Rumsfeld's opinion will have a major impact on both diplomatic activities and troop deployments, and thus, for example, on troop casualties and the economic cost of the war. It's therefore vitally important for an understanding of Iraq to know where he sits on this issue, even if his word is not actually law.

[And if an American is put in charge of a UN Peacekeeping Force -- the scenario that's currently being floated -- he might very well be able to decide where to send non-US troops.]

Second, because he's an senior Administration official and as such he has a duty to report honestly to the American people. Not just truthfully -- honestly. This includes choosing one's language carefully so that the impression of the words corresponds to the literal meaning of the words. More poetically, the spirit of one's words should be fundamentally the same as the letter of one's words. If we have to parse every utterance from an SAO as if we were contract lawyers, we don't have a government of the people; we've got Politics And The American Government.

Further, if you're all so convinced (as you seem to be) that convincing France, etc. to send their young men into Iraq to die...

Whether I'm so convinced is immaterial; what's relevant is that General Abizaid is so convinced. See Kevin's quotes.

Ain't exactly mastered the fine art of negotiation, have you? {snip}

We've had a civil discussion thus far so I'm going to pretend that that last paragraph doesn't exist. May I ask that in future you refrain from ad hominems?

Posted by: Anarch at August 29, 2003 09:55 AM | PERMALINK

Rumsfeld is absolutely right about one thing: the best troops are Iraqis. Ultimatley, Iraqis will police Iraqi cities, and the Iraqi army will secure Iraq's borders.

We are training the Iraqi police and army. Eventually, probably in a year or two, there will be enough of them to provide security. Americans won't have to direct traffic or guard banks any more; Iraqis will do it.

The question is whether it is worth making major concessions in order to get more troops today, knowing that the Iraqis will be available tomorrow.

Posted by: Joe Schmoe at August 29, 2003 09:59 AM | PERMALINK

Time's up. The administration's first real estimate of the cost of the war to Congress was made on March 24, 2003. That's right, after the full-scale invasion had been underway for most of a week.

The war, of course, had actually been underway for some time, despite Bush's repeated insistence that he hadn't made a decision. By one measure, Gulf War I never ended. But even setting aside the sanctions and Desert Fox and the regular "no-fly" bombings, this war really got underway June 2002, when the U.S. and British planes "enforcing the no-fly zones" began a systematic campaign of destroying Iraqi targets. This campaign, and its importance in making the ground invasion possible without preliminary bombing, has been acknowledged by the officer in charge of the air campaign during the official war. (I'll dig up links if anyone's interested.)

Posted by: Nell Lancaster at August 29, 2003 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

Anarch:



I don't believe that a reporter for Reuters -- a very respectable news agency -- would have inaccurately summarized Rumsfeld's position


LOL. Ok. We understand each other then.



if the United States has sufficient [US] troops in Iraq to execute its mission, then necessarily there are enough troops in Iraq to execute the mission


Um, that doesn't follow at all. It can be true that "more US troops" won't help but "more non-US troops" will. (After all, that is effectively what Abizaid actually said.) So all I can say is that I completely reject your logic which leads you to believe (contrary to Abizaid's statements) otherwise.


Rumsfeld's remarks can be parsed as technically correct,


Yes, by reading them and using the straigthforward English definition of English terms. Apparently that's the kind of "parsing" that's really tough for some people around here.


[Rummy must be at fault]
but that's not the premise from which I started.


Actually, it effectively is. After all you started from a premise that since Reuters is such a "respectable" news agency, "they" (or at least whatever reporter wrote this) couldn't possibly be misrepresenting Rumsfeld's statements in a misleading/inaccurate way. So... voila... what other conclusion is there than RUMSFELD THE DIRTY LIAR


Rumsfeld's opinion will have a major impact on both diplomatic activities and troop deployments, and thus, for example, on troop casualties and the economic cost of the war. It's therefore vitally important for an understanding of Iraq to know where he sits on this issue, even if his word is not actually law.


It's vital for Bush to know where Rumsfeld sits on the issue, true. (And, are you honestly saying that you don't think Bush knows that foreign troops would be useful? cuz Rummy's hiding that fact from Bush? Do you really believe that?)


On the other hand, it's not vital for Rumsfeld to telegraph our Desperation For French Troops to the world. You seem to confuse the two things.


If you want these French Troops as much as you seem to, you shouldn't want Rumsfeld to beg for them on TV. The latter is not especially conducive to getting the former on any terms we are likely to be able to accept with minimal pain.



he has a duty to report honestly to the American people. Not just truthfully -- honestly. This includes choosing one's language carefully so that the impression of the words corresponds to the literal meaning of the words.


And thus he's responsible for all Reuters-written paraphrases of everything he says, to boot. Yeah, I got that part.



If we have to parse every utterance ..


Again with this "parsing" stuff. You really have such a hard time "parsing" the phrase "US troops"? Pity


[negotiation]
May I ask that in future you refrain from ad hominems?


Go right ahead. My point remains that you are bizarrely and inexplicably advocating that Rummy act in a way which would, if taken seriously, put us in a horrible bargaining position for getting something which you are at least claiming to horribly desire. There are several explanations for why you might do this but I can only speculate.

Posted by: Name: at August 29, 2003 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

I haven't seen anyone discuss the fact that we keep identifying Turkey, Pakistan and India as our preferred sources of multinational troops.

Doesn't it seem like a terrible idea to bring a division of Turkish troops into Iraq for peacekeeping? No doubt they are intended for the duties in the South but it seems likely they would drive through the North to get there. I can't imagine the kurds being very happy about the Turks driving through their zone and once sniping starts it seems likely the Turks would start peacekeeping their route through the north and suddenly the relative tranquility in that region would disappear.

Also, why would any Iraqis feel that a Turkish military presence in their country was a good thing?

Finally, we always mention Pakistan and India as though they would serve together. It seems like armed Pakistani and Indian forces would be at each others throats raaher quickly once the bombs start going off.

The multinational plans seem pretty short sighted to me. We just want to get any Muslim faces in the occupation force and think that alone will quell the anger behind the occupation.

I'd like to hear anyone else's thoughts on this.

Posted by: parsons at August 29, 2003 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

You haven't exactly connected those dots (and how does Rumsfeld, acting as SecDef, bring about a "UN mandate")

I'm sorry I haven't written a 100-page research report and posted it directly to this comment board. We're here to discuss these issues, and you're free to ask for a clarification if you want.

but of course I'll give you "indirectly". What the hell, Charles Krauthammer is "indirectly" responsible for whether French troops go in there, I s'pose (*rolls eyes*).

I have no idea what inane point you're trying to make here.

Anyway, as per my previous comment the most significant "indirect" way Rumsfeld could affect the French-troops-into-Iraq thing would be to go on TV begging for them to come. That seems to be what everyone wants, which is an odd sort of negotiating strategy to me.

No one on this comment board has even suggested such a thing. You're making that up. The most significant and positive thing Rumsfeld (or the administration he's a part of) could do is to agree to a UN force that was not under direct US command. (Or a NATO force, if we don't trust the UN.) We could still determine its purpose, but not have minute-to-minute tactical control.

In this case, the most obvious explanation is: "Bush" (meaning, the U.S. administration) would be willing to make some concessions, just not whatever ones France etc are asking for, because those (in "Bush"'s view) would threaten the mission.

The major concession is one which we've already made in Afghanistan - foreign soldiers there are under NATO command. It has not threatened our mission, such as it is.

There has been no public indication that France or India have any other conditions for sending troops. But let's say, for the sake of argument, that France wanted oil contracts or the like (supposedly one of their hangups about the war in the first place). What harm would there be in giving them some?

And given this administration's open disdain for international institutions, why should we simply assume that whatever reasons they have for going it alone in Iraq must be rational?

But then again, I actually care about the mission and our bargaining position to begin with.

Some people here are trying to have a discussion with you in good faith. Are you as well, or are you just in the mood for trolling today?

Posted by: Biff at August 29, 2003 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

"This is rather plainly stated, isn't it? We do need more troops, we ought to have a multinational force, and the military has no problem with this." -- Kevin

Uh, no.

Where exactly does Abazaid say that the other nations' troops would be IN ADDITION TO our troops? More likely they would REPLACE our troops, keeping the overall level of troops in country about the same, but with a different mix of nationalities.

Kevin apparently flunked logic 101.

Posted by: Al at August 29, 2003 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

I echo Sebastian Holsclaw's comment. The way some people talk in this melodrama cartoon they've invented starring Bush the Stubborn Cowboy, the "UN mandate" is just a piece of paper with the words "UN mandate" written on the top, and Bush is just too stubborn and proud to ask for it, which would be freely and openly given if he did. All he has to do is ASK! It's like something out of a preschooler's lesson on Asking Your Parents For Help. If people really believe this is an accurate picture of reality, they are the ones who need help. Fortunately, I don't believe most of you do; I believe you are smarter than that.


As Sebastian says, an intelligent discussion of the matter would have to include considering what the likely concessions are and how many troops this would get us (and, from where). More generally, to not sound like you've cartoonized the whole affair for whatever reason (e.g. because it's fun to want the opposite of what Bush seems to want, or whatever), you have to do something like the following:


(1) state what you think our mission is in Iraq, or at least what you think it ought to be [Hint: at this point lots of you are acting as if Zeroing Out US Troop Deaths By Replacing Them With Dying Foreigners is or ought to be the current mission, which will not necessarily garner any agreement from very many people - in fact it's not especially likely to help you get what you claim to want, is it? "Please send your boys to die so ours can live", that's your sales pitch?]


(2) explain which/how many troops we could feasibly add to our ground forces by diplomacy, and estimate the likely cost in doing so (in terms of concessions, promises, agreements, etc). [Hint: just saying "all they want is a UN mandate" is not enough detail. What would that UN mandate entail or be like? Again, UN mandates are more than just pieces of paper with "UN mandate" written on them. Were they not, India wouldn't care about getting one, would they? Do you think India so petty?]


(3) assess the likely effect of both those troops AND the concessions on the eventual success of our mission. [this is a biggie because all of you are basically saying in effect, "WHATEVER the concessions are they've gotta be worth it - it CAN'T POSSIBLY be worth it not to make those concessions", which is just plain dumb especially if you don't even know what the concessions are in any detail.]


(4) If the concessions have any negative effects with respect to the success of our mission, explain why the trade-off is worth it.


Life involves trade-offs. There is most certainly a trade-off involved in this decision (or rather, ongoing diplomatic effort) to convince other nations to send troops to Iraq. By focusing on the obvious positive (fewer US deaths) and completely IGNORING any potential negatives (or pretending that such negatives CAN'T POSSIBLY EXIST), all you do is demonstrate that you either (a) haven't thought it all through, (b) consider the success of the mission a trivial or spurious luxury, (c) have absolute faith that other countries wouldn't possibly want to do or inadvertently end up doing anything inimical to our interests, (d) have absolute faith that if Bush is reluctant to do something, it must be worth doing (cuz Bush is so dumb and stubborn as we all know), or (e) something else equally stupid.

Posted by: Name: at August 29, 2003 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

Name,

It can be true that "more US troops" won't help but "more non-US troops" will.

I completely agree -- as, it seems, does General Abizaid -- but that's not what the article says. To wit:

"Rumsfeld said that... the United States had enough troops in Iraq to execute its mission."

You claim my logic is erroneous here; I claim otherwise. I'm applying the "Rule for E-Introduction in the Succedent" [Ebbinghaus & Flum, p66], also known as existential generalization: if the US has enough troops in Iraq to execute its mission, then there are enough troops in Iraq to execute the mission. End of story.

Now, there are certainly ways to parse that sentence in such a way that it means what you've claimed it means above, but they involve some fairly ugly sophistry, e.g. letting the possessive alter the scope of the word "mission" from its usual contextual meaning, a variant of "shifting the goalposts".

After all you started from a premise that since Reuters is such a "respectable" news agency, "they" (or at least whatever reporter wrote this) couldn't possibly be misrepresenting Rumsfeld's statements in a misleading/inaccurate way. So... voila... what other conclusion is there than RUMSFELD THE DIRTY LIAR

You do know the difference between "premise" and "conclusion", right? My premise was that Reuters is a reputable news agency and that its reporters are generally competent, a premise I've never had reason to question. My conclusion, by the logic I explained above, was that Rumsfeld was being dishonest; which, incidentally, is different from being a liar, dirty or otherwise.

You're free to dispute that, of course -- that's why I asked for the actual text of the remarks, if anyone has a copy -- but please characterize my argument correctly.

On the other hand, it's not vital for Rumsfeld to telegraph our Desperation For French Troops to the world. You seem to confuse the two things.

First, allow me to torch the strawman that is "Desperation For French Troops". Ah. That's better. "Strawman, strawman, burning bright..."

Second, I believe that Rumsfeld has an obligation to be honest in his utterances to the American people. If he can't manage to be honest without compromising our diplomatic position, he should shut up. It's not like he was obligated to say anything to the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

I'd say more but, frankly, this exchange has ceased being productive. If you feel like addressing the points I made (as opposed to those you've "speculated" into existence), I'm all ears; until that happens, however, the floor is yours. Enjoy.

Posted by: Anarch at August 29, 2003 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

[how does Rumsfeld, acting as SecDef, bring about a "UN mandate"]

I'm sorry I haven't written a 100-page research report and posted it directly to this comment board. We're here to discuss these issues, and you're free to ask for a clarification if you want.


I thought I did - to wit, how exactly does Rumsfeld the US SecDef bring about a UN Mandate?


The most significant and positive thing Rumsfeld (or the administration he's a part of) could do is to agree to a UN force that was not under direct US command.


You could be on to something. But how would this affect the mission? I'm assuming you care about that, of course.



We could still determine its purpose, but not have minute-to-minute tactical control.


Hmm, are those the terms India is asking for?



The major concession is one which we've already made in Afghanistan - foreign soldiers there are under NATO command. It has not threatened our mission, such as it is.


It strikes me there's an outside possibility that our mission in Iraq differes from our mission in Afghanistan in some non-trivial ways. What do you think?


There has been no public indication that France or India have any other conditions for sending troops.


Well then, that proves it.


But let's say, for the sake of argument, that France wanted oil contracts or the like (supposedly one of their hangups about the war in the first place). What harm would there be in giving them some?


I don't want to discuss some hypothetical here. What concessions is France asking for in reality, and why are they so reasonable that the trade-off is worth it? Till you know and explain that, what are you complaining about? You're just saying "accept their terms WHATEVER THEY ARE. they can't possible jeopardize our mission WHATEVER IT IS in an unacceptable way." I mean, it just leaves me scratching my head - you as a layman internet poster can't possibly have enough information to know these things about this implicit trade-off, unless you're making some hidden simplifying assumption like "foreign troops are awesome" or "our mission is totally bogus" or "Bush not wanting it means there must be something to it" or something.



And given this administration's open disdain for international institutions, why should we simply assume that whatever reasons they have for going it alone in Iraq must be rational?


You're going the other way - you're assuming they're irrational. And, you've revealed why: you have made your conclusions "given" this administration's "disdain for" international institutions.


Now I think I'm starting to understand.
Obviously if "disdain for" international institutions is a "given", whatever Bush wants from them must be pretty darn unreasonable. Yeah, I get it now.

Posted by: Name: at August 29, 2003 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Anarch:



but that's not what the article says. To wit:

"Rumsfeld said that... the United States had enough troops in Iraq to execute its mission."


Again, you're putting quote-marks around something some unnamed Reuters reporter wrote for some reason. We've agreed that Rummy is guilty of the cardinal sin in politics of being misleadingly paraphrased by Reuters the respectable news organization.



if the US has enough troops in Iraq to execute its mission, then there are enough troops in Iraq to execute the mission. End of story.


Clever but the US, according to Rumsfeld's actual quote we have, has enough US troops in Iraq. You've applied your logic to the Reuters guy again. Take it up with him.



You're free to dispute that, of course -- that's why I asked for the actual text of the remarks, if anyone has a copy -- but please characterize my argument correctly.


Very well: your argument is that because Reuters is a respectable news agency it would not mischaracterize (or unintentionally erroneously paraphrase, as I think is most likely here BTW) any statements from Donald Rumsfeld. I understand how your conclusions about his remarks follows logically from this.


If he can't manage to be honest without compromising our diplomatic position, he should shut up.


He specifically addressed the issue (which, you have to admit, has been under discussion in the media from time to time) of whether more US troops should be sent to Iraq. He said no. There is no reason on the table to disbelieve him. As for the related but separate issue of whether diplomatic steps ought to be taken to get other nations to send troops there, he remained silent, as you suggest. (As far as any of us here know, he did not mention the issue, even if you wanted him to, and even if the Reuters paraphrase made it seem like he did.) So I don't even see what the problem is, unless there's some other bee in your bonnet you're not revealing here. Best,


Posted by: Name: at August 29, 2003 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

name, it would take you all of 3 minutes to google up the department of defense web site, go to the transcripts section, and read the actual transcript, but to save you the effort:

http://www.defenselink.mil/transcripts/2003/tr20030825-secdef0622.html

Here's what he actually said:

Rumsfeld: "My position is that we ought to have as many forces in the Middle East as is appropriate. And if we're going to make an error, we ought to have too many, rather than too few. And that is the position of the president. It's the position of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the vice chairman and the Joint Chiefs of Staff completely, all of them, and the combatant commander. John Abizaid's the combatant commander. He has indicated that he has the level of forces there, U.S. forces, that he believes is appropriate at the present time --

Q: (Off mike.)

Rumsfeld: -- for the tasks that he has.

He has also said that we need to increase the coalition forces. And we've been working to do that, and they're flowing in now, in larger numbers.

But most important, he and the Coalition Provisional Authority have been working very hard to increase the number of Iraqi forces. So the Iraqi forces in the police, the army, the militia, the border patrol have all been growing at very rapid clip. And I don't know the number at the moment -- it changes from time to time -- but the last time I looked, it was something in the neighborhood of 40 or 50 thousand Iraqis are now either trained or in training and on the job, armed, to contribute, to provide security in the country.

If you think about it, if you had a choice between foreign presence for security and Iraqi presence for security, with an Iraqi face on it, clearly the latter is preferable. It is, in the last analysis, the responsibility of the Iraqi people to take control of their country and to provide the kind of security and stabilities and an environment that's hospitable to economic recovery and political recovery.

The -- there are some recommending that more U.S. forces go in. I can tell you that if General Abizaid recommended it, it would happen in a minute. But he has not recommended it, and we are putting a full court press on trying to increase the number of Iraqis.

So I suppose it'll be a discussion that will take place. I should also say it certainly is something that needs to be reviewed fairly continuously, and we will do that. And if it becomes -- if we get the recommendation from the combatant commander that he thinks he needs more forces, he'll have them.

(snip)

Q: If you're not going to add troops to Iraq, will the troops that are there stay longer?

Rumsfeld: I didn't say we weren't going to add troops to Iraq. You said that, not me. And so I would strike your question and simply say what I said. We will put whatever number of U.S. forces in that country as the combatant commander and the Joint Chiefs of Staff decide is appropriate at any given time. And the facts change continuously on the ground, and we have to watch it continuously and we have to see that we have the right numbers. Is it likely that we would end up extending people past what was announced, namely, a target of not more than a year? No, I don't think that is likely. If we were to do that -- and I don't anticipate it, so -- but we'd have to recognize that the effects of it could be adverse, and we don't want that effect. So we have to manage that force in a way that's respectful of them."

So first, name, aren't you sorry that you wasted all this time speculating on whether Rumsfeld actually said "US forces...for the tasks that he has."

And second, Rumsfeld is playing games here. Notice his sentence construction - first he says forces, then he corrects himself and says "US" forces. Notice that he is being technically accurate - general abizaid doesn't want more US troops - and conceptually dishonest - general abizaid wants many more troops than the "coalition" is capable of providing.

Notice, in short, that Kevin was correct in the first place and i don't know what all your comments were supposed to be about.

Next time, use google first, then post - you'll save yourself time and embarassment.

Posted by: howard at August 29, 2003 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

I'd say more but, frankly, this exchange has ceased being productive.

Agreed.

Posted by: Biff at August 29, 2003 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

Thank you for posting the transcript, howard.


My reading of it is the opposite of yours, evidently, since to me it vindicates the two main points under dispute here, that (1) contrary to Reuters paraphrase, Rumsfeld is actually quite careful (choosing his words carefully - just as several posters say he should!) to say he doesn't need more US forces, even correcting a reporter when necessary, (2) Rumsfeld explicitly acknowledges the desirability of trying to get more non-US forces, specifically as per Abizaid's wishes. (Not only doesn't he hide the need for more non-US forces, he comes out and identifies such a need. I honestly don't know where you get this "playing games" stuff.)


In short, Rumsfeld said (in addition to emphasizing an approach focused on Iraqi forces), (1) we have enough US forces and (2) we need more non-US forces. This most certainly does not mean that "Kevin was correct in the first place". I don't know why you think it does and I do not see much possibility of coming to agreement on this. But you have performed a valuable service posting the remarks so that people may make up their minds for themselves, and I thank you for that. Best,

Posted by: Name: at August 29, 2003 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

p.s.


What Rumsfeld said: "He [Abizaid] has also said that we need to increase the coalition forces."


Reuters paraphrase which got everyone so angry cuz it proves "Rumsfeld"'s dishonesty: Rumsfeld said that... the United States had enough troops in Iraq to execute its mission.


Reuters lied. I can't believe a "respectable news organization" would do that. Surely you will all figure this into your calculations as you evaluate Reuters stories in the future. Right?


p.p.s.


Given the cartoonish Bush-is-just-too-stubborn-and-proud-to-ask-for-help template through which these events are apparently being viewed by so many, it seems appropriate to remind everyone of the "First Immutable Law of Dowd": All political phenomena can be reduced to caricatures of the personalities involved.

Posted by: Name: at August 29, 2003 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Name, let's try one more time - you're shaping your reading to fit your predetermined notion, the very claim that you project onto others.

Abizaid said, very clearly, that we need forces from Muslim countries. None of those forces is currently in the "coalition."

So he is saying, very clearly, that we need forces from a new source.

Rumsfeld, very clearly, says that if Abizaid wants more US troops, all he has to do is ask, and he hasn't, which, at risk of repetition, is technically accurate.

He then says that we are working to increase the coalition forces, which is completely non-responsive to abizaid's requests, which is why i say that he's playing games.

As for your P.S., pray enlighten us on the major disjunct you see between the phrase "for the tasks that he (abizaid) has" and the phrase "mission?"

Posted by: howard at August 29, 2003 05:09 PM | PERMALINK


Abizaid said, very clearly, that we need forces from Muslim countries. None of those forces is currently in the "coalition." [...] He then says that we are working to increase the coalition forces, which is completely non-responsive to abizaid's requests


Sigh. If we convince country X to add forces, then country X becomes part of "the coalition". In so doing, we've "increased coalition forces". Which is what Abizaid advocates doing, as Rumsfeld openly acknowledges.


You are right that Rumsfeld doesn't explicitly say "and let me make this clear, they need to be from countries which aren't already part of the coalition". It doesn't look like he was asked a question along those lines, and there's still the little matter of whether spontaneously and explicitly coming out and saying he needs something like that will help us get it, but whatever. Good point, Rumsfeld's playing games, Bush is a cowboy, etc. Brilliant fascinating analysis of international relations.


pray enlighten us on the major disjunct[ion?] you see between the phrase "for the tasks that he (abizaid) has" and the phrase "mission?"


Sorry, you lost me. Maybe I lost you first. Here's the simpler version: Rummy said (among lotsa other things) "yes we need to increase coalition forces". Filtered through Reuters-speak this became: 'Donald Rumsfeld says we have enough troops in Iraq'. Everyone here read the latter statement and got ticked off. But latter statement is untrue cuz Rummy didn't say that.


Which means the ire should be directed at Reuters, not Rummy. At least, if it's the dishonesty and not something else that is really what bugs people. I'm not convinced of that.

Posted by: Name: at August 29, 2003 05:39 PM | PERMALINK

Name, you obviously can't be living in a vacuum, yet you seem to be posting as though you are.

No Muslim country is going to contribute forces to the "coalition." they are only going to contribute forces if there is a UN mandate. Rumsfeld is one of the leading opponents in the backbone administration of going to the UN. By saying that we are trying to increase "coalition" forces instead of addressing the reality of the need for a UN cover if we're going to get Muslim countries involved, he is playing games.

You did lose me, so to stick with simplification: if we have enough forces to do the tasks, then we don't need more forces. It is not a lie to note that. that's the same logical issue that you've already gone round on earlier.

There is no ire to be directed at Reuters in any case because it's an irrelevance - in the internet age, it takes no time at all to see exactly what rumsfeld said, and that's where attention should be paid: on whether what rumsfeld is saying makes any sense.

Posted by: howard at August 29, 2003 05:50 PM | PERMALINK


No Muslim country is going to contribute forces to the "coalition." they are only going to contribute forces if there is a UN mandate.


Which is to say nothing more and nothing less than, they'll join the "coalition" if there's a UN mandate providing cover for doing so.


Evidently we use the word "coalition" differently. Here's how I use it in this context: "a temporary alliance of distinct parties, persons, or states for joint action". How 'bout you?



By saying that we are trying to increase "coalition" forces instead of addressing the reality of the need for a UN cover if we're going to get Muslim countries involved, he is playing games.


More precisely, it sounds like what he's saying (if you've characterized his position re:"UN cover" at all accurately) is that in his view it's not worth the trade-off to make whatever concessions are necessary for that "UN cover" in order to increase the coalition to include these "Muslim countries" you allude to which "UN cover" would bring.


Um, so, I guess you've got a problem with that, and stuff. You disagree with Rummy's take on the cost/benefit analysis of the "UN cover" route. As is your right! Disagree away.


This all has no bearing on whether Rumsfeld made "dishonest" statements which need to be "parsed". Abizaid has said: the coalition forces need to be increased. Rumsfeld has said: Abizaid has said the coalition forces need to be increased and we're tryin'.


What Rumsfeld didn't say: we're gonna do whatever it takes to get "Muslim countries" X, Y, and Z on board at all costs. He should have said that? Yeesh.


if we have enough forces to do the tasks, then we don't need more forces. It is not a lie to note that. that's the same logical issue that you've already gone round on earlier.


Sigh. And just like earlier, this logical critique is based on a phony dishonest switching of the definition of the word "forces" mid-sentence: first it means "US forces", then it just means "forces". You guys (following Reuters) are the ones doing that definition-switching, not Rumsfeld. Why you persist in doing so is beyond me. (??)



it takes no time at all to see exactly what rumsfeld said, and that's where attention should be paid: on whether what rumsfeld is saying makes any sense.


Agreed, and again you are to be congratulated for having done that leg-work for us :)

Posted by: Name: at August 29, 2003 06:04 PM | PERMALINK

Do we actually want to flood Iraq with Turkish and Pakistani troops? Well -- like reenabling Saddam's own secret police force -- SURELY it's better than letting that awful old UN in there. Yessir.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at August 29, 2003 07:45 PM | PERMALINK

...in the internet age, it takes no time at all to see exactly what rumsfeld said, and that's where attention should be paid: on whether what rumsfeld is saying makes any sense.

Posted by: howard at August 29, 2003 05:50 PM

Good point! Of course, this is what we see in the original post:

POSTSCRIPT: The more I think about Rumsfeld's recent comments, the more they piss me off. Here's what he said three days ago:

There are some recommending that more U.S. forces go in. I can tell you that if Gen. Abizaid recommended it, it would happen in a minute. But he has not recommended it.

Technically that's true: Abizaid doesn't want more U.S. forces. But he does want more forces.

Crikey. Can you trust a thing these guys say without parsing every single phoneme to within an inch of its life?

The link was to the Reuters story, not the DoD transcript, but never mind.

No need to trust, just verify. As the transcript makes clear, Rumsfeld volunteered the info that more coalition troops were needed, thus scrapping the original complaint about Rumsfeld's dishonesty.

And now we are on to headscratching notions about whther countries that send troops are part of "the coalition", a prospective expanded future coalition, or "the U.N.". And Rumsfeld is a shameless liar, because he failed to precisely specify which countries are being asked to provide troops, and under what circumstances.

Thanks for the guidance.

Posted by: Tom Maguire at August 29, 2003 07:52 PM | PERMALINK

Sheesh, I go away for a day and someone actually digs up a trancsript. What's the world coming to?

[And howard, if anyone's to be snarked at for not finding it, it should be me -- since I was the one who couldn't find it in the first place.]

On reading it... well I'll be damned. Looks like the Reuters article did, in fact, mischaracterize what Rumsfeld said. I therefore withdraw my remarks about Rumsfeld's dishonesty on this issue. And now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go write a nasty letter to Reuters.

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=======================
My name is Luke Dish
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Network
won his freedom in a bet on a podracer race. Dish
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"


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TV
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TV
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TV
? I should ask a random stranger on the street. I saw a smart looking gentleman,
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- Direct TV? He just stared at
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TV
? She immediately hit me with her purse and broke my nose. Can you believe
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Maybe she thought it was spelled Directv.
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. Either way, I need to get this looked at when I go to the doctor. Maybe
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TV
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TV
", but it was spelled both ways. "I give up!" I shouted. "Direct
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, Direct TV, Direct
TV
, Direct TV, Direct
TV
!" I am losing my mind, and I am bleeding profusely. Direct
TV
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to me. "Mister, it is spelled Directv, not
Direct TV. So will you please leave my
parents alone? They are going to get the restraining order right now. Direct
TV
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TV
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TV
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