Wednesday, December 08, 2004

How soon

It strikes me that over the next months a whole bunch of reports and testimony are going to come out that the Bushies just were WRONG about Iraq, were unprepared to send this level of troop strength, have indeed left them ill-equipped, and that officials actually were involved in Abu Ghraib. All sorts of stuff we progressives hounded about in these last couple years are going to be proven right.

For instance, the soldiers who put Rumsfeld on the spot today told a truth about a Dept. of Defense neocon brass forcing the issue about preparedness when the army generals spoke otherwise. The exchange bears quoting:
He got this question from Spc. Thomas Wilson of the 278th Regimental Combat Team, a Tennessee Army National Guard unit:

"Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to up-armor our vehicles?"

Many in the audience of 2,300 soldiers cheered.

"We do not have proper armored vehicles to carry with us north," Wilson said after the defense secretary asked him to repeat the question.

Rumsfeld replied that the problem "isn't a matter of money, it isn't a matter on the part of the Army of desire. It's a matter of production and capability of doing it."

"As you know, you go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time. Since the Iraq conflict began, the Army has been pressing ahead to produce the armor necessary at a rate that they believe - it's a greatly expanded rate from what existed previously - but at a rate that they believe is the rate that is all that can be accomplished at this moment."

Yes, they've been digging through landfills to help make themselves safer, and all Rumsfeld can say is that one goes to war with the army one has. I'm stunned at his statement. It clearly indicates he didn't know the state of the army he had, or didn't care. Attacking Iraq was far more important than the soldiers of the army he runs.

That's not the only issue coming home to roost. Abu Ghraib will rear its ugly head more than a few times in the future. Just a couple days ago there was a scathing report on Gitmo, and now there's one concerning Abu Ghraib that indicates torturers and abusers no yet caught were threatening observors who were objecting to the abuse. This is days after the FBI leaked its own protests about the tactics used.

The big question is whether any of this will ever be solved with a giddy Republican party in charge thinking more about their inaugural duds than about doing the right thing. How do we force these issues to the fore?