Rummy's Sudden Memory Lapse

Monday, June 27, 2005

Rummy's Sudden Memory Lapse

Another excerpt from Tim Russert's interview of Defense Sec. Donald Rumsfeld on Sunday's "Meet the Press":
RUSSERT: But there are a lot of Americans and members of Congress who believe that fundamental misjudgments were made; that certainly weapons of mass destruction have not been found. The whole notion of how we would be received by the Iraqi people -- a few days before the war, I had Vice President Cheney on this program. And this is what I asked him and what his answer was. Let's watch and come back and talk about it.

(Russert airs the following video clip from the March 16, 2003 "Meet the Press"):

RUSSERT: Do you think the American people are prepared for a long, costly and bloody battle with significant American casualties?

DICK CHENEY: Well, I don't think it's likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe we will be greeted as liberators.

(End of videotape)

RUSSERT: Do you think that was a misjudgment?

RUMSFELD: Well, you never know what's going to happen. I presented the president a list of about 15 things that could go terribly, terribly wrong before the war started ...

RUSSERT: Was a robust insurgency on your list that you gave the president?

RUMSFELD: I don't remember whether that was on there, but certainly it was discussed the possibility that you could have dead-enders who would fight ...
In other words, no -- it wasn't on his list.

Something tells me that had a "robust insurgency" been among the 15 items on this list, Rumsfeld's reply to Russert would have been something like this: "This insurgency was no surprise to us. In fact, it was one of the 15 potential problems I warned the president about in a pre-war memo. We knew all along that we'd face determined resistance, but we can't let that resistance stop us from standing strong and staying the course as we work to help the Iraqi people build a democracy."

Yuck. That fictional soundbite was incredibly easy to write. I think I've been in Washington too long.

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