For Shame

In his new L.A. Weekly column, David Corn examines the bungled mess the Bush administration is making of things, before they’ve even reached the inauguration for term two.
Recent events have once again proved the truism that it’s easy to run for office, it’s hard to govern — especially when you’re an arrogant fellow pursuing bad policies.
Ain’t that the truth.

I was, however, most struck by the following passage:
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld became the administration’s Bonehead Number One when he dismissed a soldier’s question about the lack of armor for the troops.
Since that incident, Senate Republicans have been trampling each other as they scramble for the news vans, nobody wanting to be the rotten egg. Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, Senator Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., Senator Norm Coleman, R-Minn., Senator Trent Lott, R-Miss., and Senator John McCain, R-Ariz. have all issued public criticisms of Rumsfeld within the last few days.

While the White House’s continued defense of Rumsfeld is both unfathomable and nauseating, the decision of these Senators to speak out only now is even more despicable. This was not the first contemptible story out of Iraq that aptly characterized this administration’s mishandling of the war. In fact, it was not even remotely the first story about “hillbilly armor.” Where were these righteous Senators three, six, twelve months ago?

There is no new information upon which these condemnations are based. What is new is only the political situation; the election is over. Take note, red state America—the men and women you elect on a Republican ticket, the ticket of virtues and real Americans—feel not a tingle of shame about letting your sons and daughters die, until pointing the finger at the man responsible becomes politically expedient.

They are compelled to criticize Rumsfeld now, not because of his disastrous leadership, which has always been patently apparent, but because they were made to look like fools by Army Spc. Thomas Wilson of the 278th Regimental Combat Team (and the reporter who coached him). Had Wilson never challenged Rumsfeld, the honor-seeking Senators who now pat themselves on the backs for their brave denouncements would still be wrapped in the silent complicity that has kept them warm for the past four years.

As David Corn correctly states, the shit started hitting the fan when Rumsfeld “dismissed a soldier’s question about the lack of armor for the troops,” not when he failed to provide it in the first place. This is the great sin of Donald Rumsfeld—he looked bad on TV, and made the administration look bad by extension. The soldiers without proper armor wasn't a problem, you see, until old Rummy took a hard question and came back with a poor sound byte.

So fuck you, Senators, for your empty disapprovals and contrived virtue. You don't care about soldiers. You don't care about anything except staving off embarrassment-by-association by reminding us that you can still affect convincing righteous indignation on TV. Well done. We'll see you after the next media debacle.

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