Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Rumsfeld: I’m not knowledgeable today

At a Pentagon news conference today, Rumsfeld gave one of his typically wacky slash befuddled performances, which I don’t think too many people still mistake for folksy, suggesting that it’s Not a Coincidence that the cases of what he sees as exaggeration by the media about Iraq all “seem to be on one side... all seem to be of a nature to inflame the situation and to give heart to the terrorists and to discourage those who hope for success in Iraq”. Not that he’s, you know, accusing anybody, bu-hut, “we do know, of course, that al Qaeda has media committees. We do know that they teach people exactly how to try to manipulate the media. ... Now, I can’t take a string and tie it to a news report and then trace it back to an al Qaeda media committee meeting...”

Things that can be traced, well, as usual he just hasn’t read them, like Amb. Khalilzad’s interview in the LAT saying that Iraq could go to civil war: “He’s an expert, and he said what he said. I happen to not have read it”. Asked what “meaningful consequences” Cheney was threatening Iran with: “I have not read the full text of that.” Asked if he knew about the intel German intelligence is supposed to have given the US, which was purportedly used in planning the invasion: “I’m not aware. I wasn’t aware then. I’m not knowledgeable today.” He said it, not me.

Asked whether the delay in forming a government contributes to the danger of civil war, he gave his own lessons in how to present facts and draw conclusions from them: “I don’t know, but I don’t think so. I mean, I can’t give evidence as to why I say I don’t think so.”

Speaking of shit he said that he couldn’t give evidence for (not that the Pentagon reporters asked for any, because Pentagon reporters suck at their jobs, or have simply given up), he made the new claim that Iran is not just supporting insurgents in Iraq, but inserting its Revolutionary Guards into the country “to do things that are harmful to the future of Iraq.” Asked whether he was accusing the government of this: “The Revolutionary Guard doesn’t go milling around willy-nilly, one would think.” Yeah, they’re more the helter-skelter kind of millers-around than willy-nilly guys. Sometimes they’re harum-scarum, but usually only on pay day.

A reporter asked the question I’ve called for, what a civil war would look like. Rummy:
Why don’t you ask the other question: what would it look like if there’s not chaos and civil war? And that’s kind of -- kind of what people have been describing. If you have on the one hand the Iraqi security forces succeeding, that’s good. The back side of that would be they wouldn’t be. They would disappear, or they would fall apart, or they would engage in sectarian violence themselves, or they’d refuse to obey, or something like that. ... the political leaders and the government figures [would] do exactly the opposite of what they’re doing, and that is to stand up and say, “By golly, we’re not going to take this. They bombed one of our mosques; let’s go bomb their mosque.” And they said just the opposite.
What’s the Arabic for “by golly”?

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