The subject that time was the 1000 plus condolence letters that Rumsfeld did not personally sign. I had suspected that the letter of condolence regarding the death of my only child, Lt Ken Ballard that I received from the Secretary of Defense had not been personally signed. Despite many weeks of denying that he had a machine sign those letters to the first 1000 families of soldiers killed in Iraq, he finally admitted that a machine had signed them.
“At the earliest moment in the global war on terror, I determined that it is important that military families who have lost loved ones in hostile actions receive a letter from me directly.
“I wrote and approved the now more than 1000 letters sent to family members and next of kin of each of the servicemen and women killed in military action. While I have not individually signed each one, in the interest of ensuring expeditious contact with grieving family members, I have directed that in the future I sign each letter.
I can assure Rumsfeld that at that time, military families don't care about an expeditious anything except an expeditious return of their loved one's body. So, don't do us any favors, we can wait for your hollow words.
What Rumsfeld, Bush, every member of Congress and the Senate and every single government official who sends a condolence letter to a family who is suffering this loss, should do this. First write the letter and make it meaningful. Generally, the letter is a form letter, I think the Army must have about 5 different templates to choose from. The official should be forced to sit down and read the letter that they send to the family along with a photograph of that soldier. They should look into that face, and see the dreams that died, the future that died and the family that died when that soldier died. Did he or she have children? Were they in love? What was their favorite music? Those officials should understand who is dying in this war. They should see the faces of our countries most precious resource, our sons and daughters, our future. And mostly they should cry. Because then we will know they are being touched by this war. It's shameful that they don't.
The next time those legislators are sitting in their seat ready to cast a vote, they should remember those faces and think of the soldiers who are still in Iraq because of their continued support of the war. They should ask themselves why they are casting that vote and in who's best interest is it?
Retired Army Col. David Hackworth, an author and frequent critic of the Department of Defense, publicly criticized Rumsfeld in a syndicated column earlier this month for not reviewing each KIA letter personally.
He called the fake signatures “like having it signed by a monkey.”
We don't know if Rumsfeld is signing condolence letters now, but at the rate soldiers are being killed, he must have quite a stack. By the way, many families believe that Bush hasn't signed his condolence letters either. My sister asked me if I thought Bush was afraid he would be found out. I said 'I doubt it, he doesn't even know he's signing them"
We didn't know back in December 2004 how badly Rumsfeld would bungle the job in Iraq. We didn't know how many soldiers would still be dying. But we know that Rumsfeld doesn't listen to the military, he went in with inadequate forces and he still has no exit plan. And we know that 2378 soldiers have died in this illegal and immoral war.
The military and our country deserves better. Yes, it is time for Rumsfeld to resign.