Wapo Defends Rumsfeld, Scolds McGovern For Being ‘Mean’
In the end, my respect for the Secretary went up when he said [that] accusations of lying are "so wrong, so unfair and so destructive."Goebbals would be proud.--William Arkin, Washington Post, May 5, 2006
Instead of offering a rational analysis of the exchange that took place yesterday between Rumsfeld and McGovern, Wapo gives McGovern and the rest of America a lesson in common courtesy.
I'm beginning to see a pattern here. It's a political pecking order in which Bush tells the Media what to say, and they in turn tell us what to say.
Anyone who has ever been in a relationship or taken Psych 101 knows that accusing someone of lying is unlikely to unleash truth-telling. And more important, it exposes the hand, and the conclusion, of the questioner.Thank you for stating the obvious.
Yesterday, protestors repeatedly interrupted the Defense Secretary during a speech at the Southern Center for International Studies, accusing Rumsfeld of "lying" to the American people.If only the rest of us heathens could be as gracious about our sons and daughters getting maimed and killed in an unjust war.
No doubt used to traveling in a limousine with bodyguards, going to the right parties, filling his time with official functions and hanging out with the troops, did Donald Rumsfeld leave the lecture hall in Atlanta yesterday and say to his aide "don't ever f***n let that happen again" or did he chuckle and say "God Bless America.?"
The incidents culminated with an exchange between the Secretary of Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst -- Rumsfeld to his credit, told the organizers to let McGovern speak -- in which McGovern managed to successfully quote the Secretary back to himself saying things he wished he never said.Of course you don't! You helped him do it!
But did the Secretary lie? Did he know some truth and intentionally tell the American people the opposite to manipulate them? I don't think so.
I don't want anyone to accuse me of cherry picking the transcript of yesterday's confrontation. Here is Editor and Publisher's version, Voice of America, and NewsBusters transcript, as well as the transcript of the three network's evening news shows last night.
To this AMAZING excoriation of Rumsfeld by McGovern, Arkin remarks:"Why did you lie to get us into a war?" Ray McGovern asked.
"Well, first of all, I haven't lied. I did not lie then," Rumsfeld answered.
McGovern pressed about pre-war statements regarding weapons of mass destruction. Rumsfeld denied lying, saying that the intelligence analysts "gave the world their honest opinion."
McGovern: "You said you knew where they were."
Rumsfeld: "I did not. I said I knew where suspect sites were."
McGovern: "You said you knew where they were, near Tikrit, near Baghdad and north, east, south and west of there. Those are your words."
(Indeed they were: Appearing on ABC on March 30, 2003, Rumsfeld said about WMD: "We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.")
McGovern: "I'm talking about lies and your allegation that there was bulletproof evidence of ties between al Qaeda and Iraq. Was that a lie, or were you misled?"
Rumsfeld: "Zarqawi was in Baghdad during the pre-war period. That is a fact."
McGovern: "Zarqawi? He was in the north of Iraq in a place where Saddam Hussein had no rule, that's where he was."
Rumsfeld: "He was also in Baghdad."
McGovern: "Yeah, when he had to go to the hospital."
If the issue here is Saddam Hussein's connection to al Qaeda and his involvement in 9/11, to the "bulletproof" evidence the administration claimed, and more important for America, to the likelihood that Saddam would have ever shared any WMD with terrorists -- the true strategic assumption behind the Iraq war and the justification for our entire WMD obsessed foreign policy today -- McGovern scored.How's that for fair and balanced analysis? Nothing but the best from our mainstream media.
But if the issue is Zarqawi, and a spooked and reeling Bush administration worrying that they just don't really know what's going on in places like Iraq, that they can't rely on the great CIA, and that they can't predict what will happen, Rumsfeld scored.
But pay close attention, because this is the zinger:
Yesterday the Secretary of Defense was able to say without equivocation and hesitation that "it appears there were not weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq, BUT THAT IS NOT THE HEADLINE [he says!!!]'That's what we do here in media world - perform for the masses. How could you be so uncooth as to ruin the show?'
Certainly we remember not too long ago administration officials saying that WMD were still to be found, that it's not over 'til it's over.
IN THE END IT COMES DOWN TO McGovern's QUESTION: Why did you lie, not did you.
A BETTER QUESTION for McGovern, once he was given a chance to talk, once he was standing their on television, once he had Rumsfeld captive, would have been:
'Mr. Secretary, do you now see that you or the administration were wrong about Iraq's WMD or the characterization of Iraq as imminent threat?'
I know that Rumsfeld could have slipped away with some political answer. It is still a better question.
I imagine McGovern's goal yesterday was to get on the evening news. It was a spectacle, and McGovern wasn't really seeking an answer to any question: he already had the answers; he was just seeking to expose.'But we don't do that in front of the public. We only threaten to do it as blackmail to get what we want from the rulers.'
And when all rational discussion fails, Arkin brings out the violins.
The protestors screeching impeachment and "lying" yesterday, as well as McGovern, can't accept that there is a difference between being wrong and deceiving. They are so stuck in a mode of accusation and certainty they don't really think there is any point in political dialogue with the administration. Bush is Hitler, and with that he, nor Rumsfeld, deserves human courtesy.Millions have died it its name, yet in one fell swoop Arkin dismantles our democracy and puts in its place an aristocracy where we can no longer 'pull the lever every four years,' but must pander to their pathetic emotions to get them to do what is JUST and what is FAIR.
Human courtesy would mean understanding fallibility, fear, pride, the drive of false certainty in office. I'm not asking anyone to accept the war or the dominant national security orthodoxy, which I abhor. I just don't want the only answer to be pulling a lever every four years; there are alternatives, even politicians and the administration learns. We are here as citizens to teach and guide them.
I have news for you - a**hole. This is America - not some f*cking media fiefdom. You and the government work for us - not the other way around and no amount of weeping and whining is going to change that COLD HARD FACT. Get used to it.