Wednesday, March 29, 2006

There’s no penalty for having lied

Another episode of the Rummy ’n Pace Pentagon Briefing Comedy Hour today. Rummy again chided the press for focusing on the negative: “It’s far easier to report about a bomb that goes off than to note a bomb that doesn’t.” And he offered an example of good news that they should report: during the Shiite pilgrimage, only 12 Iraqis were killed, way down from 2005 and 2004. “So this year’s pilgrimage for the most part passed peacefully.” Yes, 12 dead = for the most part peaceful.

No briefing is complete without Rumsfeld admitting to having not read something he really should have read, in this case the report saying that Russia had passed intel to Saddam about American troop movements. But he doesn’t consider it that big a deal to get it right before publicly accusing another country of what is essentially an act of war: there are lots of captured documents, he says, they’re in Arabic, some of it will be rumor – hey, Pace interjects at this point, we don’t even know if the translation is accurate. Is Russia owed an explanation? Rummy: “I’m sure if anyone is owed anything, they will get it.” And what about the possibility that someone at CENTCOM gave that intel to the Russians, is that being looked into? “If it should be, it will.”

On the Mustafa Mosque Massacre: was the raid on a Shiite militia meant to announce a new policy? “that was not an announcement. It was an operation that they conducted.” Sometimes a cigar massacre is just a cigar massacre.

And they (almost) admit that the mosque was a mosque. The minaret, evidently, was the tip-off. Rummy did say that weapons including rocket-propelled grenades were found and “Those are not religious instruments.” Clearly, he’s never heard of the Holy Grenade of Antioch.

IRONY ALERT! IRONY ALERT! Rummy says that we’re not as “deft and clever and facile and quick” as the enemy at getting our message out, because they are “perfectly capable of lying, having it printed all over the world, and there’s no penalty for having lied.”

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