Today Rumsfeld flew off to Iraq (more pleasant there for him nowadays than here) to "host a town hall" with the troops. I'm watching it live on CNN right now. My observations:
1. He thanked the troops for their efforts rebuilding schools, playgrounds, roads, bridges. My question: Why are our soldiers doing those tasks? Isn't that what we're paying Halliburton for?
2. Rummie quipped that he's stopped reading the papers back home. I understand why--but it's a dangerous notion.
3. Rummie appeared almost catatonic.
4. Joint Chiefs Chairman General Richard Meyers accompanied him. A complete stooge. Both he and Rummie kept using the phrase "the few" to describe the soldiers who are involved in the prisoner-abuse incidents. He had the gall to state the these soldiers were equal to "the greatest generation" of World War Two. Maybe the troops are. But the leadership? Not hardly.
5. A female soldier, I believe a "regular army" member, asked the first question: It was near-inaudible, but it wasn't a pleasant one for Rummie. Essentially, "when do we go home?" Rummie was obviously displeased and tap-danced around it. She also asked whether, since the prison-abusers were largely reservists, would fewer of them be deployed hereafter? Rummie said no.
6. Questions about equipment and armament arose. Meyers said they had the money, just couldn't produce the equipment fast enough. One soldier asked what the Pentagon policy was about arming US civilians who were placed "in harm's way" (such as that truck-driver who recently "escaped from captivity"). Remarkably, no one--Rummie, Meyers, even Sanchez, the Army commander--knew the answer. How could that be?
All in all, it was a nonevent although I imagine Faux news will make it a lead story.