Sunday, February 13, 2011

How Dare They

I 've been out of the country for a good part of the past two weeks and as a result didn't get to hear much of the sundry ABC News interviews with former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.  The occasion, of course, was the release of Rumsfeld's new memoir, Known and Unknown.  Apparently, ABC had purchased exclusive broadcast (not cable) TV interviewing rights.

As it happens, Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standard reported on the tone and substance of those interviews and just the title of his piece says it all:  "The Interrogation of Rumsfeld"

As Barnes sees it, this setup and question from George Stephanopoulos was fairly typical:
After a few obligatory questions about Egypt, Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos got to the point. “You concede in the book that the Iraq war came at a very high price. I want to show for our viewers some of that price,” he said. A graphic popped on the screen: “4,408 U.S. military deaths, 32,000 wounded, 115,000 Iraqi civilians killed, $700 billion (CBO estimate).”  “I’ve read the book. I’ve read the reviews. I watched your interview with Diane [Sawyer],” Stephanopoulos said, “and it seems like the one question that most people want answered is the one you most don’t want to address. What responsibility do you bear for those costs?”
I don't know about you, but when I read this, my blood began to boil.

As you know, this ain't Donald Rumsfeld's first rodeo, so he certainly doesn't need any help from me.  But, if I may, I'd like to suggest at least one way to respond to any and all such calumny in the future.  In the full righteously-indignant mode, it goes something like this:
"How dare you suggest that the ultimate sacrifice of 4,400 brave American soldiers, as well as the high price paid by the many thousands more who suffered wounds was anything but noble, and to do so just because you don't agree with the war in which those sacrifices were required.  Moreover, as a taxpayer myself, I bitterly resent the implication that I was somehow duped about the material costs of the war."

"We, the American people, that is, are not pathetic victims, and the men and women of our armed forces are most certainly not so.  The sacrifices they made and continue to make are part and parcel of the high calling they've heard and answered nevertheless.  Thank God for their willingness to serve."

"A brutal murderer and very real threat to us, our allies, and our common interests has been removed from power.  In the process, he was afforded more justice than he was ever willing to give even to his own countrymen.  That country and its neighbors are much the better for it.  A people who once knew no freedom at all, can now at least taste of it, and we earnestly pray that the appetite for it will spread throughout the region.  If it does, it will be better off still and so will the world."

"Now, if you have any honest disagreements about the wisdom of this war or the way in which it was prosecuted, then voice them clearly.  But before you do, know this:  I will not sit still for any criticism that is as laden with contempt as is yours.  Or, I should say, I will not sit still without returning it in kind first.  Next question."

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