Dec. 11, 2004 #01:  Political Satire/Commentary where satire is always commentary but commentary isn't always satire(but we're confident you'll know the difference)  Search PoliSat.Com Home  Tell a friend about PoliSat.Com    Subscribe   Permanent link to this installment in PoliSat.Com's Archives    Google-News list of recent updates    About author, Jim Wrenn.

Ted Kennedy blasts Donald Rumsfeld for delays in replacing or upgrading unarmored HumVees-- Gold-Plated Rhetoric, Gold-Plated Equipment, Gold-Plated Courage, Gold-Plated Leadership.

            In all armies in all wars, troops at the bottom of the chain of command experience the frustration of an inherent flaw in every chain of command-- complaints don't go up the chain with the same efficiency as orders go down it.  By scheduling a "town hall" meeting in Kuwait with troops at the bottom of the chain without imposing chain-of-command restrictions on questions, Rumsfeld afforded a real-- and public-- opportunity for complaints to reach the top even more efficiently than orders normally reach the bottom from the top.  He deserves commendation for doing so.

            So what if the soldier who asked the question expressing discontent over the rate at which the Department of Defense is adapting HumVee's (and other transport vehicles) to meet the unexpected scope of the need for lightly armored versions of such vehicles in Iraq?  That Rumsfeld was willing to entertain such question without reprisal against the one propounding it boosts rather than lowers the morale of our troops, who respect a leader willing to confront unpleasant, as well as pleasant, realities. 

            While the media focus almost exclusively on two aspects of Rumsfeld's answer (that "[y]ou go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you might want, or wish to have, at a later time" and that the Defense Department is procuring armored replacements and/or armor-upgrade kits for unarmored HumVees (and other transport vehicles) at the maximum practicable rate), the troops heard and understood the rest of his answer:  That with rare exceptions troops assigned to units with unarmored HumVees will be transported to their duty location in other vehicles, their unarmored HumVees will be transported to such locations on other vehicles, and that at duty locations, unarmored HumVees will be used to transport troops within areas less vulnerable to roadside bombs and small-arms attack.  [See additional sources in Footnote 01.] In one of those rare exceptions, members of a unit refused to transport needed supplies to other units via unarmored transport vehicles.  

            Did Rumsfeld's answer define such arrangements as "satisfactory"?  Of course not.  Instead, his answer describes such arrangements as the best that can be done until replacement and/or upgrading of unarmored vehicles is complete.  It's likely the overwhelming majority of troops understand the latter despite being understandably frustrated by amount of time likely to be required for completion of the task.

            Has further inquiry cast doubt on the accuracy of Rumsfeld's assertion that the replacement/reconfiguration process is proceeding as fast as possible?  Of course.  Some private companies have asserted that they could produce more replacements and/or armor-upgrade kits at a significantly (but not dramatically) higher rate.  Is it likely that this incident will produce some improvement in the process?  Of course.  The question that obviously arises, therefore, is whether this incident is a manifestation of Rumsfeld's lack of, or exercise of, leadership skills?  It's equally obvious that the answer is the latter rather than the former.  Most troops appreciate and respect a leader at or near the top of the chain of command affording them an opportunity to bring bottom-of-the-chain-of-command perceptions of serious problems directly to the top of the chain of command.  This is one of the factors that distinguishes the best leaders from good leaders.

            What about the sanctimonious finger-pointing by those critics of Rumsfeld who during peacetime would have characterized Pentagon specifications for a vehicle designed to replace the World War II jeep to be a vastly more costly armored vehicle rather than merely a vastly superior jeep?  Of course, the Pentagon did not propose an armored HumVee because they did not perceive it's primary use to be in military contexts presenting risks equivalent to those of urban combat.  Does anyone seriously doubt that if the Pentagon were to have proposed (years ago) that all military transport vehicles be armored, most, if not all, the same critics would have characterized such proposal as an example of the Pentagon's desire for "gold-plated" equipment?  Long before the current conflict, opponents of continual modernization and strengthening of the military made such "gold-plated" phrase their political battle cry.  My ears are deaf to their current Gold-Plated Rhetoric.  

            Although those now serving with Gold-Plated Valor may welcome the belated support of such critics, I doubt they feel resonance with the Gold-Plated Sanctimony with which such Gold-Plate Rhetoric is expressed by the likes of Sen. Ted Kennedy, who described the circumstances as "cruel and callous,"--  the same Ted Kennedy who viciously equated the harsh treatment of prisoners by U.S. guards at Abu Ghraib prison with the barbaric treatment of political prisoners at Abu Ghraib under Saddam Hussein.

--Jim Wrenn, Editor at PoliSat.Com

º¹.Additional sources:  DOD-Dec. 8, 2004; DOD-Dec. 8, 2004 (more); DOD-Dec. 9, 2004.




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Questions for Americans:

Shouldn't we be at least as generous in supporting the families of our troops killed or injured while serving our country in Afghanistan, Iraq, in America and throughout the rest of the world as we were for the families of the victims of 9-11?  Here are some suggestions:

*Salute American Heroes*  *Support Fallen Heroes Fund*

Shouldn't we recognize that many, if not most, instances of foreign anti-Americanism in the late 20th Century (like most of the foreign anti-Americanism today) focused reactionary rage against maintenance of, and willingness to use, human-rights-respecting power against forces that oppose liberty and favor the "stability" of the status quo?   See a retrospective on Ronald Reagan.   Shouldn't we recognize that despite arguments to the contrary by devotees of the United Nations that the world remains a yet-to-be-civilized place in which the wise exercise of human-rights-respecting power more than intellectual sophistry can best assure the survival of liberty?

Shouldn't we recognize that "property rights" are among the most fundamental of "human rights" and are therefore vital to the survival of liberty?  See "'Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness' versus 'Life, Liberty [and] Property.'"

Questions for secular thinkers:

Shouldn't secular thinkers be at least as respectful towards ordinary people of faith as George Bush is towards ordinary secular thinkers, and shouldn't ordinary secular thinkers repudiate fanatical secular fundamentalists at least as firmly as Bush repudiates fanatical religious fundamentalists?  Shouldn't secular fundamentalists learn to recognize the unscientific nature of their own leaps of faith before throwing stones at unscientific leaps of faith by ordinary people of faith?  See satire/commentary about Secular Fundamentalists and Religious Fanatics.

Shouldn't people professing to be secular thinkers learn to understand the difference between science and political science (i.e., politicized science)?  Shouldn't radical environmentalists learn to understand that their views are little more than modern forms of pantheism?  See Satire/Commentary about Pantheopians.  Shouldn't they learn to objectively and scientifically scrutinize theories such as Global Warming at least as rigorously as they scrutinize "creationism"?  See "Global Warming or Scientific Flatulence?"  See also the commentary on proposed "climate stewardship" legislation and the animated illustration, "Goblins of Globalized 'Warming.'" 

Shouldn't people professing to be secular thinkers learn to understand that what science reveals about human evolution supports, rather than undermines, the sensibility of a rebuttable presumption that monogamous, heterosexual marriage best serves the interests of children notwithstanding the sensibility of recognizing civil unions to accord comparable (but not identical) privileges to mutual-support partnerships?   See  commentary "Evolution versus Revolution" and the animated illustration, "Devolution versus Evolution."

Questions for people of faith:

Shouldn't people with faith that a Deity created free will recognize that compulsory piety would be offensive to such Deity?

Shouldn't people with faith that a Deity created free will recognize that political compromises limiting the power of government to compel conformity with theocratic doctrines over which other people of faith, as well as secular thinkers, can reasonably disagree would not be offensive to such Deity?  See commentary about our Founding Documents, the Constitution and the Creator.

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