Here’s another classic example of the two-faced approach Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld takes towards the military: enlistee asks for better vehicle armor, Rummie responds by playing tiny violin.
The Associated Press has the lowdown on the exchange that took place during an open forum — Rumsfeld: Airing concerns was healthy:
Army Spc. Thomas Wilson had asked Rumsfeld, ?Ã„ÃºWhy do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to up-armor our vehicles??Ã„Ã¹ Shouts of approval and applause arose from other soldiers who had assembled in an aircraft hangar to see Rumsfeld.
Rumsfeld hesitated and asked Wilson to repeat his question.
?Ã„ÃºWe do not have proper armored vehicles to carry with us north,?Ã„Ã¹ Wilson, 31, of Nashville, Tenn., concluded after asking again.
?Ã„ÃºYou go to war with the Army you have,?Ã„Ã¹ Rumsfeld replied, ?Ã„Ãºnot the Army you might want or wish to have.?Ã„Ã¹
I was going to launch into why exactly this is so completely moronic, but Slate beat me to it with their editorial in Rumsfeld vs. the American Soldier:
[H]is answer was wrong. If you’re attacked by surprise, you go to war with the army you have. But if you’ve planned the war a year in advance and you initiate the attack, you have the opportunity–and obligation–to equip your soldiers with what they’ll need. Yes, some soldiers will get killed no matter the precautions, but the idea is to heighten their odds–or at least not diminish them–as they’re thrust into battle.
So here stands the secretary of defense, long and widely despised by officers for rejecting their advice before the war and now openly criticized by the grunts for failing to give them proper cover as the war rages on all around them.