Thursday, October 26, 2006

Rumsfeld warns reality: just back off

The Nicaraguan national assembly has voted 52-0 to ban abortions in all cases, including when the mother’s life is in danger.

Rumsfeld has been doing lots of interviews on right-wing talk radio and elsewhere, while pretending that it has nothing to do with electoral politics. Here he is explaining to someone with the bestest right-wing talk radio name ever, Inga Barks, explaining that the negative perception of the situation in Iraq is due to high-tech news sources. Why, in the good old days, “the newspaper would get a story and people wouldn’t read it for a week, and then they’d see it once. Here, anything that’s on is on -- every 15 minutes it’s on, if something’s burning in Baghdad.” (Rummy flashback, the looting of the Iraqi National Museum, April 2003: “The images you are seeing on television, you are seeing over and over and over. It is the same picture of some person walking out of some building with a vase and you see it 20 times. And you think, my goodness, were there that many vases?”)

He continues, “I mean, I fly over Baghdad frequently, and it’s where -- within 30 miles of Baghdad is about 90 percent of the violence in the country. And you fly over it and there are people waiting at gas stations, there are people out eating and doing things. The place is not in flames.” He does paint a picture, doesn’t he? People out eating and doin’ things. And they all look like ants from up there. I love how he thinks flying over a place adds authenticity to his description of quotidian life there.

And in a briefing today, a reporter asked Rummy if “benchmarks” have any meaning without consequences for failure. Rummy told the reporter to “just back off”: “I mean, you’re trying to add a degree of formality and finality and punishment to something. My goodness. So you ought to just back off, take a look at it, relax, understand that it’s complicated, it’s difficult, that honorable people are working on these things together; there isn’t any daylight between them. They will be discussing this and discussing that”.

The key exchange of the briefing:
Q Are the people of Baghdad safer than they were six months ago?

(No audible response.)

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