"There certainly has been an upsurge in sectarian violence," Rumsfeld told reporters en route to Iraq from Kandahar, Afghanistan. "There's no question but that they're trying to incite a civil war, and they have been for a long time, and they've failed so far."At least he didn't say we were on the last throes of the insurgency. He did however, have another smartass response to a soldier who was brave enough to stand up to Rumsfeld and ask him about the aged state of equipment that his NAtional Guard unit is working with. The good people at ThinkProgress.org have the video, so let's take a look
Improvized Explosive Devices (IEDs) are responsible for nearly half the casualties of our troops in Iraq. Among the best defenses against IEDs is a massive heavily-armored vehicle called the Buffalo, which has become the favorite of U.S. Army combat engineer teams. Yesterday, during a surprise trip to Iraq, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld was confronted by a U.S. Army corporal who said the Buffalo he was using was one of oldest pieces of equipment in the country, and that just two weeks before, he'd seen a brand new Buffalo in New York City. Rumsfeld defended the Pentagon's anti-IED efforts and deflected the specific question with a joke.
Watch the video:
Full transcript below:
CORPORAL ARTHUR KING: Right now we have one of the oldest pieces of equipment in the country. It's called a Buffalo and ours is the oldest. And the other day, two weeks ago, we saw a brand-new one in downtown New York City and we've been waiting for three months for ours. We are just wondering why that was.
RUMSFELD: Well, I don't know about New York City. They obviously have a separate budget and they buy what they buy. We've got $3.6 billion that dwarfs anything that New York City does just for I.E.D. work and General Monty Miggs has been brought back and he is in the process he has been in the Army for two and a half, three years, he has been working their heads off as the nature of the I.E.D. problem has migrated and evolved they have put enormous effort on it. I can't answer why your particular unit ends up with one of the oldest pieces of equipment, but I'll bet you General Casey can.
OLBERMANN: To his credit, General Casey skipped the jokes and said he didn't know either but would find out and get back to him with an answer.
$3.6 Billion dollars is being spent on IED work and how many people in Iraq, both coalition and Iraqi lives have been devastated by this popular weapon? $3.6 billion and we can't get our soldiers the latest and greatest technology? Something is so wrong with this picture! But remember, the person who is responsible for our military just doesn't care because he's the one who said "As you know, you have to go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you want," back in December 2004 in response to another soldier asking about his units lack of armor.
Who invited him anyway? Rumsfeld usually ends up offshore when he is looking for high ground when something has gone wrong. He went to the Greenzone after the story of the abuse at Abu Graib prison broke back in 2004. I asked Ken about it and he told me he didn't care that Rumsfeld was in Iraq; he couldn't be bothered because he had a job to do and couldn't be distracted with that photo op..
Please Rummy, put us out of our misery and resign, quit, go sit on a ranch somewhere, but leave the job of Sectretary of Defense to someone who actually cares about the welfare of our military. This is not time to joke about equipment for our troops.
I'll ask again, who's supporting our troops?